Monday, April 28, 2014

Another Point of View

I had the interesting experience of reading about our Holy Thursday service (Matins with the 12 Passion Gospels) from the point of view of a visitor. One of our catechumens brought a few friends to services during Holy Week and Pascha. Here's an excerpt:
Lent had already begun when I started learning about it; therefore, I was not able to participate this year. However, my Orthodox friend invited me to attend the Thursday night service, Matins with the Twelve Passion Gospels. I learned how to cross myself and the appropriate times and places to do so. Of course, I failed miserably at the beginning of the service, but the people never judged me for my effort. The only way I know how to describe the atmosphere of the church is solemn reverence. We all knew that we were in the presence of God for the purpose of worshiping our Lord and Creator. For this special service, a cross with an image of Jesus is placed in the center of the room. Everyone prayed at the icons and the cross but me. I was praying, but for some reason I decided not to try the repeated kneeling and crossing in public. I regret not giving it everything I’ve got. The service began with the priest going around to each icon and person with incense. We bowed our heads when he passed by. Then, he began with the first Gospel reading. We lit candles and listened to the chanting. They do not just read the Scripture, they sing it. It was very refreshing to not need to be able to carry a tune to worship. No one made a show of themselves on a stage. Jesus Christ was the center of attention as He should be. At the end of each Gospel reading, we blew out our candles, kneeled to pray, and sang the hymns. Let me just say that kneeling with your face to the ground is very difficult while holding a candle and a book in your hands. The imminent threat of setting myself on fire kept me alert throughout the service. At the end, everyone prayed at the icons again and crossed themselves as they left the church.

I met the priest and subdeacon after the service. I have always expected priests to be impersonal and reserved. This priest was very friendly and welcoming. He knew I would be there, overlooked my obvious Protestantness, and welcomed me to come back. The subdeacon gave me a big hug and kissed my forehead with his huge beard all over my face. He answered my unasked question of why there was a face on the rock under the cross. It was representative of the skull of Adam. I was not going to ask until I was gone. I guess he just knew it was something I would find odd. Throughout the service, the people were helpful and directed me in the right direction.  It was nice to be so different, but so welcome by a group of people that did not know me at all.  [emphasis mine]

Read the rest.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Striped Seed Stitch Baby Blanket

 I finally finished this blanket today for a baby born to a member of our church recently. The colors are so cool and summery, especially out on the porch this afternoon!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bright Week

Lent and then Holy Week and Pascha were so busy that I feel rather at loose ends! We had Liturgy on Bright Monday and then Tuesday we had a general all-day house cleaning (the house gets pretty bad when we spend most of our time at church). Yesterday we got back to homeschooling (to everyone's dismay) and had Vespers. Today I had that lost sort of feeling of trying to get back to normal.

Apart from homeschool we did some more pysanky, this time just etched eggs. You take blown eggs, cover the holes with wax, make whatever design you wish in wax, then submerge the eggs in vinegar (5% - standard in the U.S.). The acid in the vinegar reacts with the calcium in the eggshell and dissolves it. If you leave it in for about 15 minutes or so, the outer layer is dissolved (I use a q-tip to help remove whatever is still clinging to the rest), and you can rinse, dry and then remove the wax. If you start with brown (or dyed) eggs, you get quite a nice pattern. Alternately, you can dye the eggs after etching before you take the wax off. I did one of these, but frankly, the effect isn't much different from simply waxing and dying, so I don't know that it's worth it. I also put a second coat of varnish on all the eggs that we had already finished.

etched, then lightly dyed, one coat of varnish applied

brown egg etched, one coat of varnish applied

Most of these got their second coat of varnish this afternoon.

Miss Moppet has learned a few new things. She's learning how to blow raspberries (very messy, wet ones), and has started holding her arms out for me to take her. She is creeping a bit, but mostly in an inchworm fashion. Very amusing to watch. She is completely enamored of the icons in church, primarily the one of St. John Kochurov which is hanging right behind where we stand. She just smiles and smiles at him. :) No attempts to kiss icons yet though. She just wants to grab them.

I need to get back to my knitting/crocheting. I have a baby blanket I should have finished LONG ago. I haven't bothered to put anything up for the Wednesday Yarn-Alongs for that reason.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bright Monday

Yesterday we started with Liturgy (for which I did not take pictures). Christ is Risen!!

We then went out to the cemetery to sing Christ is risen to the boys and leave flowers.



Later in the afternoon the girls tried to teach Miss Moppet to sit up. They ringed her with pillows to catch the tumbles.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Agape Vespers and egg hunt

 Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Great and Holy Pascha

Christ is Risen!! Indeed He is Risen!!

(On the left is a cup/candle holder going up in flames. I had no idea I captured this)