Monday, August 15, 2016

Sunday at an Orthodox Church

I had never been to an Orthodox service until yesterday. Dana and Brandi do not affiliate their work with any one church. They run an ecumenical organization with ties to many churches and non profits. But they are working in a country where the predominant religion is Orthodox. They have found much in common with Orthodox priests and have associated with Father Hammer's Church. So that is the church we visited on Sunday morning before heading up to Straja to begin the week of camp. 
This church was definitely not handicapped accessible. To reach the entrance you climbed a steep hill through the church graveyard.
The worshippers are reminded at every step that, "You are dust and unto dust you shall return," from the liturgy for Ash Wednesday. Brandi pointed out a recent grave, covered with pine boughs and ribbons. 

Brandi explained that although the service goes from 8 to noon, many people dip in and out. We entered and climbed to the balcony where the choir sits. It gave us a good view and an easy exit. We stayed for about an hour and slipped out at the beginning of the sermon. 

The room was alive with color.  Icons covered every wall. The music was rich and resonant as the responses were sung with full participation. They even gave us a song sheet which allowed us to follow some responses. The experience was warm and full of a sense of community. We were very glad to have gone.
Today I made a new Romanian friend. Her name is Magda, and she is a math teacher in a town south of Bucharest. We connected because we've been speaking French. Today is her name day, and because it is Mary Magdalene Day it is a holiday. Brandi encouraged me to visit the chapel here in Straja because they have a traditional icon calendar. 

After lunch we set out for a hike and started with The Tunnel. We turned right off the road and entered a painted tunnel with a different icon for each day of the year.

The calendar started on the left with September, and sure enough when we got to August a candle hung in front of today's icon before Mary Magdalene.

We exited the tunnel to find ourselves beside the chapel we could see from our building.
There was a plaque commemorating veterans who died in WWI. The view was spectacular and only got better as we climbed. That's a story for another day. My pedometer clocked 33 floors and over 4 miles today. No wonder I'm tired. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, dear Allegra, for another beautiful and interesting post. We're thoroughly thriving on living vicariously with your faithful, interesting, and informative commentary and the accompanying gorgeous photos you are sharing with us. The CTR Romanian STMT is more amazing than I prayed and hoped it would be. So eager to see more photos and hear more tales when you arrive home. Practicing patience and so very thankful for all the joy in work and play and immense beauty That is yours to enjoy and experience. Thanks be to God! Love, love, and thank you a hundred times over for your wise and wonderful leadership...and Peter's and Father Tim's too!