Friday, April 29, 2005

Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord...

From yesterday's high, crashing back into reality. I will not be able to attend any more services until the Agape Vespers on Sunday -- and even after that, I won't be able to stay as long as I'd like.

I drove back, that whole 40 miles, this morning, just so I could be at the Royal Hours. That was good till about 11:00 a.m., and then I had to come back home, in theory, so I could bake kulich (but I didn't. I did some laundry, then spent a lot of time on a prayerbook I'm making for myself). And I've spent the afternoon kicking myself for not having hung around for the Vespers of the Unnailing, which took place at 3:00. The Greeks do something very beautiful -- my former ROCOR parish didn't do this, so I don't know if Russians have this custom -- the Greeks have a structure that represents the Tomb of Christ, and right after the Royal Hours, they decorate this Tomb with flowers and set it on the solea in front of the Royal Doors. At the Vespers of the Unnailing, they take the icon of the Body of Christ down off the cross, process around the church with it, and place it in the Tomb. Then, at night, everybody goes up to venerate the shrouded Body, and during the Lamentations the Tomb is taken off its stand and paraded out into the street, while the entire church follows it holding candles and singing, "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us." The Tomb is processed around the church, then held high above the door so that everybody can pass under it. At the end of the service, everyone gets a flower off the Tomb.

I could have stayed and helped decorate the Tomb. I could have had Orthodox fellowship with people I really enjoy. Instead, I was Conscientious and came home, and have been wallowing in isolation ever since. This Lone Orthodox business is FOR THE BIRDS. I want my Pascha! I want fellowship! I want to be with other people who know how beautiful an Orthodox life is!


Mimi said...

Oh Meg, I'm so sorry you won't be able to be at any of the services until Agape Vespers. That feels so far away!

Lone Orthodoxy is indeed for the birds.

(As an aside, my OCA parish with Russian roots DOES what you mentioned. I assumed it was pan-Orthodox, but I've been surprised by the differences in our "t" traditions!)

Philippa said...

Hugs to you Meg!!! I've participated in what you describe when I went to my Greek parish in NC. We did the procession this evening at Holy Trinity, but people did not pass underneath it that I am aware of. The choir processed before the bier so we didn't see what happened because we headed up to the choir loft.

Mimi said...

Trudy - Had you never been to the Twelve Gospels before this week, but had been to the Lamentations service? If so, then I apologize, I sent you the info on the wrong service.

Meg - thanks for your comments about the Bier you sent me. It was truly a beautiful service last night, I forget just how incredibly moving it is each year.

Catrin said...

My parish is Romanian and we do/did all of the above. The 12 Gospels are truely heart-rending, then the three Friday services... we actually decorate the tomb between the Royal Hours on Friday morning to have it ready for the Un-Nailing Vespers at 4... (and the Lamentations come later that evening).

We don't pass the flowers out though. The tomb remains in the church until Ascension - and obviously the flowers are long past their prime at this point. It is an empty tomb now though - along with an icon of the Angel showing the empty tomb and discarded wrappings to the women. Very powerful indeed.

erudit said...

Hi Meg! I'm new to your blog via the Nees'.

>>This Lone Orthodox business is FOR THE BIRDS.<<

Amen and amen! I'm trying to get myself out of Lone Orthodoxy at the moment, moving across the country to California.

Blessings on you and your particular beautiful Orthodox life!