Monday, September 26, 2011

What came next.

Last week we picked apples and made some of them into 155 gallons of delicious cider. That gives the best pretext opportunity to share our produce with the outside world!

Yesterday, the Albany parish celebrated its parish feast, the Nativity of the Mother of God. The last time I visited was for the church consecration about a year ago. This time I went with a couple classmates of mine, supplied with 25 gallons of cider and about as many jars of honey. One of our hieromonks came as well to serve with the other clergy. Bishop Jerome of Manhattan was the main celebrant.

At 9:30, the parish greeted Bishop Jerome at the church with bread and salt.

Then the bishop was vested in the church.

The bishop’s particular vestments, especially the sakkos (dalmatic), is taken from Byzantine court ceremony. In fact, a hierarchical liturgy is probably the closest we get to being back in the time of the Palaiologos. What was once a symbol of secular pomp is now transformed into an icon of heavenly glory.

Vladyka blessing with the dikiri and trikiri.

The liturgy was wonderful. At the end, we had a cross procession around the church; I was in charge of the lantern at the head of the procession. One of the standard-bearers said to me jokingly, “If we mess up, it’s all your fault!” Thankfully, that was not the case. After everything finished, I looked at the time and was surprised; time really did fly by!

We set up the cider and honey table in the parish hall, where lunch was under way. Working the table did not prevent us from enjoying other refreshments, as you can see above. There was also the most delicious cheesecake ever:

The rector of the parish, Fr. Vsevolod Drobot, celebrated fifty years in the priesthood, so of course we sang many, many renditions of Mnogaya Leta.

Fr. Vsevolod pointed out that he served his first year in Schenectady, with the remaining forty-nine in Albany.

“So we can celebrate again next year!” someone said.

I hope we can! Not only did I have a good time, I also made some new friends and reconnected with old ones as well. I’m very thankful to the parishioners at Albany, and especially to Fr. Vsevolod for blessing us to come sell our cider.

S prazdnikom!

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