Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to go to the Divine Liturgy in Paris and I went instead to the Small Compline..
Monday, November 30, 2015
I enjoyed this Service a lot! We were few but it was so vibrant and powerful. ( I prefer the church being with less people that actually want to be there and participate, rather than a church being full of people that are physically there but in essence they are everywhere but the church). I very much enjoyed as well a coffee we had after the church with the kind priest and the rest of the faithful.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
This Sunday I didn’t know what time the Service begins at and I had slept only for a couple of hours the previous night and I got lost several times until I find the church. Result? I got into the church right at the end.. The 2 minutes of chanting that I could listen made me really sad as I realised how beautiful that Service was…
Sunday, November 15, 2015
The thing with going to Church while you are abroad is that you can’t always know if there is a Service taking place or at what time it starts. So, I was at the church at 8 o’clock but the service begun at 10!
Something intriguing is that one of the priests, at some point, came out of the sanctuary and stood at the one side of the church. He was standing still one meter in front of me. “Why is this happening?” I said to myself when I received a tap in the back and an old man made a sign to me to move forward. I just made a step on the side and he went to confess for something like 30 seconds. There were more than 20 people that confessed like this and then received the holy communion.
Something else that captured my attention was that there were no chairs at the central part of the church. Only at the walls but few people were sitting. The vast majority stood still for the whole Divine Liturgy!
Sunday, November 8, 2015
At this beautiful and very special church I was very happy to celebrate my name-day. The temple was pretty big and imposing. It was full of people, and among the faithful you could see a lot of young people. Something intriguing was the fact that there were a lot of people that received the Holy Communion. The whole Service was in Albanian.
What captured my attention the most was that I could see Eastern and Western traditions coming together. On one side of the church there was a byzantine choir while at the other one a more western-like choir chanting one after the other. It was interesting but can’t say that it really fits my taste.
A very beautiful and old monastery built by Byzantine Emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos in 1282 (!) At the moment there are 2 monks residing there.
I am grateful to these monks as they hosted me for one night, they prepared dinner for me and show me around despite that the monastery normally doesn’t host and also not knowing I was coming..
This Church Boarding House & School is run by the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Gjirokastër. At the moment there are 23 high school boys. I was hosted there for 5 days and I really enjoyed children’s company and the daily schedule that was very rich.
Every night, right after dinner, there is a Compline Service that you can listen to below:
A note here: If someone is interested in providing financial support to the House & School which is very much in need, he/she can communicate with the principal, Fr. Eleutherios Balakos at email@example.com
Sunday, November 1, 2015
This was my first Divine Liturgy for the whole trip. It was emotionally intense and very much enjoyed. The priest was one of those priests that really feel what they do and say during the Service, and this was touching. The Service was beautiful and quiet. You can find an audio file of the last 26 minutes of the Service (sermon included).