It’s hard traveling with kids and even harder when there’s a schedule to follow. It was tough having to wake them early this morning but we had a full day ahead of us. The church here in Greensboro, NC (actually Kernersville, to be exact) was consecrated this morning. The parish priest, a very good friend and a very good priest, was elevated to the rank of Protopresbyter during the liturgy, something he more than deserves for his sacrificial work here. It’s not a large community and this consecration weekend was quite a feat for this small parish. They did an excellent job in my humble opinion. Below are a few of the photos.
**The first picture is actually from the Vigil service last night and you’ll notice in the frescoes, in the top right hand side, Patriarch Pavle of blessed repose.
We hoped to arrive at the monastery yesterday by noon so we left early, real early. We left at four in the morning and even though we made only one stop, with all the road work we encountered (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in W. Virginia mostly) and the fear of being pulled over, we made it by a quarter to one. Close. Later that evening at the hotel, following a little pool time I was ready to go to sleep when the local priest called to tell me that the bishops had arrived (Bishop Mitrophan of the East and Bishop Vasilije of Srem) and a few priests were at a nearby restaurant and I should join them. I didn’t know where it was and there was a terrible storm outside but I still put my faith in the GPS and ventured out.
Needless to say, I slept in this morning. We relaxed a little today. This evening, however, the festivities began. Vigil began at 5pm at the church which is to be consecrated tomorrow. I didn’t serve but instead was sent with a parishioner to go pick up two more hierarchs that were arriving at around that time (Metropolitan Christopher of Libertyville-Chicago and Bishop Maxim of Western America). By the time we came back the service was half over. A Russian choir sang the responses. They sounded very nice. Afterward we went to the nearby Greek church where a banquet was prepared in their hall. Besides the air conditioning not working and it being extremely hot, it went very well.
Tomorrow is another busy day with the consecration. A lunch and program will be held at the church pavilion so if it gets hot, which it is bound to do, I will not be able to blame it on the air conditioning.
While on the road today we made a special, slightly out of the way stop at the Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Panagia Prousiotissa in Troy, North Carolina. Below are a few pictures. The abbess has one rule concerning photographs: the sisters can’t be in them. So although it might seem we were lonely we were, on the contrary, received very warmly, given to eat, chatted with one of the sisters and had a brief meeting with the abbess. It was a very nice visit.
Doing a little traveling this week. Got the oil changed this afternoon and everything else checked out okay. Regardless, we still start the trip, as always, with a prayer. Granted, the prayer’s function is for more than just the engine. Its for the kids! My kid’s idea of packing is haphazardly throwing clothes in the suitcase while all seriousness is put in gathering all their notebooks (the girls), i-pods, video games, and whatever else to help beat the boredom of sitting in the car all those hours. Yes, it is our prayer during this trip that the good Lord help them “see the beauty of creation” which, if they would put their gizmos and gadgets down, they would notice is right out their window.
Lord Jesus Christ my God, be my Companion, guide and protector during my journey. Keep me from all danger, misfortune and temptation. By Your divine power grant me a peaceful and successful journey and safe arrival. In You I place my hope and trust and You I praise, honor and glorify, together with Your Father and Holy Spirit now and forever and ever. Amen. Lord Jesus, You traveled with the two disciples after the resurrection and set their hearts on fire with Your grace. Travel also with me and gladden my heart with Your presence. I know, Lord, that I am a pilgrim on this earth, seeking the citizenship which is in heaven. During my journey surround me with Your holy angels and keep me safe from seen and unseen dangers. Grant that I may carry out my plans and fulfill my expectations according to Your will. Help me to see the beauty of creation and to comprehend the wonder of Your truth in all things. For You are the way, the truth and the life, and to You I give thanks, praise and glory now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The above photo is courtesy of the Antiochian Diocese of Los Angeles and the West (see more photos here). Don’t know how many hierarchs are present. Last I heard I believe they were expecting fifty. Fifty bishops on the week of Pentecost. Ironic.
Archbishop Demetrios’, in his opening statement to these the “Bishops of the Diaspora”, clarified this seemingly touchy phrase:
“…The word “Diaspora” is not being used in any pejorative sense; rather it is merely a description of places where no single Autonomous or Autocephalous Church governs all the Orthodox who live therein. In fact, the Message of the Primates, included in your folders, uses the expression, “so-called Diaspora.” I am aware that some of us take offense at the word, but I ask that you apply your understanding to the bigger picture, and that we try to find a word better than the “so-called Diaspora” to describe our situation….”
Read the Archbishop’s address here
“Not feasible”, says Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese in a recent interview. The reason is rather simple: who would ever recognize it? He states: “The so-called Mother Churches opposes that. Patriarch Bartholomew opposes that. He cannot stand the word Orthodox Unity, for example.” Instead of autocephaly the metropolitan suggests some “creative thinking”:
“…we could have a Synod of Bishops. We have a new situation here in North America and we need some creative thinking. We need some innovation to have a Synod of canonical Bishops.”
Technically speaking, we already have this with SCOBA. In other words, the metropolitan is saying to the Europe bishops who met in Chambesy – Leave us alone. Or, as he says about them:
“They do not know anything about America, all those representatives, nothing.”
Read the interview here.
Well, he was in Moscow at least and everything is always first class, red-carpet in Orthodox Moscow. Take a look at some of these beautiful pictures here.
Was this visit for business or pleasure? According to some, the two church leaders are working on making the pan-Orthodox Council happen. Soon. According to Archbishop Michael (Staikos) of Central Europe, for instance, he states with confidence that it will happen in either 2012 or 2013 (see here).
You can also read the opinion of fellow blogger Vara here (scroll to bottom).