St. Spyridon By The Numbers

This annual post is one of the most popular here on the blog with Cathedral people.  It is the yearly count of sacraments.  It is one – just one – measure of where we are, but like any statistic should be taken with a grain or shakerful of salt.  Two years ago, for example, we only had two weddings, but it was not the end of the world.  Here we go:

Funerals: 31.  This is about what we normally do but obviously this number can get wildly skewed – we have had 50 some years.

Baptisms: 33.  This is a bit on the low side – it is usually 40-50.  No need to panic – our baby boom continues, so I anticipate a lot of baptisms this year.  I should also point out that we usually do between 5-10 adult baptisms a year as well – we have several coming up.

Weddings: 13.  This was a big jump from the two in 2009.  Many factors come into play here – people get married in Greece or at out-of-town churches, people wait to get married because of the economy, whatever.

So there you have it.  Today is a snow day – tons of snow outside – and I am off to snowshoe.

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January 12th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Christmas Weekend

Christmas weekend at the Cathedral has ended.  I celebrated with a monster nap Sunday afternoon as the snow began to come down hard.   We are getting one of those huge New England blizzards – our clergy family retreat at the camp has already been cancelled – and I am looking forward to going snowshoeing tomorrow at some point after digging out.  Here is how the weekend unfolded:

Friday evening we had the vesperal liturgy of St. Basil followed by the Christmas pageant on the soleas of the church.  Several people asked me “is there communion tonight”?  so I figure an explanation is needed of how the Christmas services work.  We normally have two Christmas liturgies – one the night before (the liturgical day starts at sundown the night before) and one the morning of.  This tradition came about to make it easier for people to attend a service.  If Christmas falls on a Sunday or Monday then there is supposed to be only one service – the usual Sunday service if a Sunday, and since people are unlikely to go to church twice in one day if Christmas eve is a Sunday then just the Monday service.  The service this year on Friday evening was vespers, the evening service, into the liturgy of St. Basil with orthros and the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom on Christmas morning.  The liturgy of St. Basil is almost identical to the usual liturgy except the priest’s prayers after a certain point are much longer – for this reason it is thought to be an older service, with Chrysostom’s liturgy containing shortened prayers (unusual for something in the Orthodox world to get shorter rather than longer:)

So…Christmas Eve was great, with the customary huge crowds.  The pageant was beautifully done – a mixture of students reading the narratives and the choir quietly singing in the background and during processions in.  Vaia participated this year as a sheep – the sheep wear special coats and earmuffs of fuzzy material – I guess wool – and they are very cute.  Here is a picture of the gathering after the Wise Men (actually 1 boy and 2 girls this year) presented their gifts:

Saturday morning we had a nice orthros and liturgy, and it was a joy to have Fr. Emmanuel participating as he celebrated his name day.  We had maybe 150-200 people, so it was much calmer than the night before.  I prepared two chalices but only consecrated one – thinking that many of the people there had been the night before and would probably not receive again. Big mistake.  I ended up going out alone and communed about half the people there, seemingly, so it took a while.  Fr. Emmanuel gave out the antidoro solo so that everyone could wish him chronia polla.

Today we had another nice service but the combination of Christmas fatigue – two services plus family events – and the impending giant storm kept people home.  We had a small crowd similar to Grecian Festival Sunday.  Fr. Dean left early to make an emergency hospital visit, which just goes to show you that even on a holiday weekend with a blizzard about to swoop down on us you never know what is going to happen.

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December 26th, 2010 by Fr. Greg

Mission Focus

Last week, on one of those super hot summer days here in Worcester, I had a crazy and unpleasant adventure.  It was one of those days where I was zipping around to the different hospitals to visit parishioners.  On the way back from Memorial Hospital my coolant light dinged and lit.  I was near Elm Street and thus not too far from the Cathedral, as well as not too far from Takis & Sons, my go-to foreign auto mechanics.  I looked at the temperature gauge and it rocketed to the red zone.  Oh no!  My mission focus kicked in, and I drove straight to the church, since I had some stuff to take care of there.  I parked in a shady spot (like that would help), turned off the engine, and opened the hood.  I called Takis and he told me let the engine cool off for 20 minutes or so, turn it back on and see where the guage was.  If it was not in the red zone, drive it (the 3/4 of a mile/mile) to his shop.  If it hit the red zone en route, pull over and wait again.  So I had a nerve-wracking, knuckle-clenched, hunched-over-the-steering-wheel ride to Takis’s place, but the needle stayed midway and never reached the red zone.  The weird engine sounds which had begun on Elm Street, before I reached the church, kicked in and got louder.  But thankfully I reached his shop without the engine blowing up or anything else I feared might happen.  The damage from what was probably a busted thermostat on such a hot day?  The water pump, serpentine belt and belt tensioner all were toast, and the antifreeze tank was blown to smithereens.  Thankfully Takis took care of things that evening and the Jetta (and I) were back on the road the next morning.

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July 13th, 2010 by Fr. Greg

Robin And Batman at the Greek Independence Day Parade

Today was the annual Greek Independence Day parade in Boston, and it turned out to be fabulous.  We were all expecting rain (I, who has no umbrella, was particularly dreading walking and getting soaked).  And we ended up having a fairly sunny day and pleasant, not-too-warm-or cold weather.  It is funny because today was the feast of St. Mark, and the Liturgy of St. Mark includes prayers for rainfall (it is a liturgy from Egypt, so it has these prayers and prayers for the rising of the Nile) and yet most people were saying “please pray for _no_ rain!”.  The Greek School children marched with vigor, and the float was in tip-top shape.   Many thanks to the Marine USA, who graciously wrap and store our float each year, as well as the Greek School teachers and PTA.  Here is a picture that Eva P. took of Robin (me) and Batman (Fr. Dean).  A cropped version of this is my new profile picture on Facebook.  I imagine the Greek Boston site will have pictures up soon, and I will link to it when that happens.

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April 25th, 2010 by Fr. Greg

Composting In Worcester

The sun came out for a moment today – unbelievable after all this rain! – and I took advantage of the brief window to visit our composting barrel outside the house.  There was no way I was going out in the yard during the downpours so I could empty our kitchen scraps container.  So, mission accomplished.  If you are a Worcester resident you can buy a composter from the Dept. of Public Works for $35.   The idea is that, by composting, you cut down on trash output and garbage disposal usage and, eventually, you have some nice soil after the conqueror worm and the bugs have a chance to do their thing.  Here is a picture:

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March 31st, 2010 by Fr. Greg

Middle Atlantic Snow

John Miller has some spectacular photos on his blog of the snow that has hit the Middle Atlantic region.   Of special note is the collapsed roof of the ice rink where his children play hockey.  As a transplant from New England living in Virginia I was always shocked when we would have a snow storm looming and school would be cancelled for a week, premptively.  I soon realized that people who lived out in the country would not get plowed out for days – it is a very different universe there.  We up here have so far been spared snow from this storm but it looks like Wednesday that may change…

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February 8th, 2010 by Fr. Greg