Long Day/Yup, He’s Orthodox Part II

Today has been a long day – we had service in the morning with the traditional procession of icons for the Sunday of Orthodoxy – check out photos here – as well as our March 25 Greek School program during coffee hour.  This evening I joined all of the local Orthodox priests for a vespers service.  Among all of this, today was the feast of St. Cuthbert the Wonderworker – read his story here.

Cuthbert – the “bert” part of his name is cognate with “bright” – is, let’s just say, not a common Orthodox name, although it is well represented as an English last name – think of the popular Canadian actress Elisha Cuthbert.  The saint’s commemoration today, though, reminds us that there are tons of saints that we don’t think of as part of our Orthodox tradition because they aren’t from the eastern Mediterranean or Russia.  There is much value in exploring the lives of saints such as Patrick, Brigid, Kenneth, and Cuthbert.

Onto tomorrow!  We will be having Bible Boot Camp at 19:00 hours.  Dismissed!

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March 20th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Look For The Lion

I have a new “Our Faith” article up on the church’s website.  Below is the first paragraph:

If you look at the iconography and artwork in Orthodox churches you will see a veritable menagerie of animals. Those depicted include both real and imaginary creatures – peacocks, dragons, horses, two-headed eagles, and many more. Often, if you look carefully enough, there is also, amidst all of this fauna, a lion.

Read the rest of it here.

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January 25th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

St. Nicholas & The Sea

Today’s assignment in the 40 days of blogging exercise includes a very cool gallery of icons at Fr. Peck’s site.  The association of St. Nicholas with the sea or sailors is at first a little confusing – kind of like how Poseidon is the god of the sea and also of horses  in Greek mythology – the two just don’t seem to go together.  I certainly don’t think of mariners when I think of Nicholas, but there are several legends attached to him where he rescued or took care of sailors and ships.  Nicholas in a way represents the redemption of Jonah.  The term Jonah in sailing is used for someone who is seen to have brought bad luck to a ship (there is a nice passage in Dracula where the captain of a ship thinks there may be a Jonah on board causing problems.  Dracula indeed made a pretty effective Jonah).  St. Nicholas is a nice counterpoint to the Jonah factor.

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December 9th, 2014 by Fr. Greg

John Chrysostom, Warhol And Beards

Today was the feast of St. John Chrysostom, who is remembered for many things, not the least which is the liturgy which bears his name and is the one we celebrate most Sundays of the year (outside of Lent).  Chrysostom actually passed away on Sept. 14 – the Feast of the Holy Cross – so both the Western and Eastern churches gave him a different feast day than the day he reposed.  The West celebrates him on the day before he fell asleep, while in the East we celebrate his feast on Nov. 13, which is a day that a church in his honor was dedicated.

I mentioned the Western – Catholic – church above, which may surprise some people.  Chrysostom is like St. Patrick and many other saints who are strongly identified with one tradition but, since they did their work before the schism, are celebrated in both the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.  Andy Warhol – a lifelong practicing Byzantine Catholic – grew up attending St. John Chrysostom Byzantine Catholic church in Pittsburgh (more here).

Where am I going with this?  In Orthodox icons Chrysostom is depicted with a trim beard and is very slender – a result of his ascetic practices.  Below is a typical example.  When I was in the seminary – this would have been about ten years ago – a group of us visited St. John’s Seminary in Brighton to meet some of our Catholic colleagues and tour the campus.  We were taken through a residence hall and I saw a portrait of Chrysostom that featured him with a long, flowing beard.  It struck me as strange because I was used to seeing his trim beard in Orthodox icons.  So the two traditions show him differently.  This being ten years ago, I did not have a phone on my little flip cell phone.  Today I would have snapped (does that term apply to smartphone cameras?) a picture and immediately uploaded it to Twitter or Facebook.  Oh well!


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November 13th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

A Reminder Of The Fire

If you have never been to Sts. Anargyroi in Marlborough before, you probably would have no idea that the community endured a devastating fire in February of 2001.  We have a beautiful hall that is less than two years old, and our church itself is bright and clean and looks much like the pre-fire church did (although it is seven pews longer than the original building).  Most of the original iconography was salvaged.  The iconostasis dates back to the ’50s, and most of the small individual icons that I have in the altar are fine.  There are icons and mosaics in the narthex with dates predating the fire, so they too survived just fine.  Today, though, on the feast of the Holy Cross, I brought out one of a handful of icons that were damaged and beyond restoration.  It is currently on the orthros gospel stand, and I will have it on the children’s stand for Sunday – make sure to check it out.  It is the classic icon of the Elevation of the Holy Cross:



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September 14th, 2012 by Fr. Greg

Icon Stand For Children Now Up

We have a very cool new thing at our church – an icon stand in the narthex that is the perfect height for young children to kiss and venerate an icon.  A month or so ago I was talking with Nick Kofos about us acquiring such an object.  Nick is in his own right a talented woodworker but he suggested I contact Steve Caragian to execute the project.  Steve readily agreed to take this on, and after taking measurements in the vestibule of our church he created the masterpiece you see below.  We have an enormous amount of young children at our church, and this stand is at the perfect height for them.  Its finish and size also blend in well with the surrounding icon and candle stands, and we managed to place it so that it doesn’t block access to the other icons.  Many thanks to Steve, who humbly suggested we dedicate it to his mother Eleni, which we will indeed do.  The “soft opening” will be this Saturday, and the “hard opening” will be Sunday when we announce the presence and background of this new stand.  Thanks also to Amy Polymeros, who has volunteered to donate an icon of Christ With The Children for the stand, as well as to Nick K. who helped come up with the concept and made this happen.

To my fellow clergy who may chance upon this post – please consider identifying a parishioner who can take such a project on.  I know many churches have an icon on the wall in the narthex for children to venerate, which is great, but it is important for them to have their own special stand like the adults have.  We always talk about children being the “future” of the church but in truth they are the present, and they deserve this amenity.

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April 2nd, 2012 by Fr. Greg

Melina To The Rescue

Fr. Dean and I recently noticed that the corpus from the big cross behind the altar had more than its share of nicks, dings and lipstick stains from people reverencing it, so we contacted the talented Melina Barber, who graciously agreed to do some restoration work on it.  Melina is a gifted artist and decorator (if you have visited the Flying Rhino you will know what I mean) and she can add icon restoration to her list of skills.  This is a picture of Melina doing some restoration on the corpus while it remains down from the cross until we put it back the day before the Ascension.  She will also at some point in the near future take care of the many lipstick stains on the iconostasis.  Vexingly, the chemical content of many kinds of lipstick means that these stains are very difficult to safely remove.  We are blessed to have people like Melina and the many others who selflessly give their time and skills to the Cathedral.

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April 28th, 2010 by Fr. Greg