The church is located at the “Casa de Moscu” (The House of Moscow), at the very heart of the Ecuadorian capital. The building is not used as a whole, but the church at the top floor hosts a lively community of Russians. There are some locals too, but Russians are the vast majority.
Something that I noticed was that before receiving the Holy Communion there was something like a pause for confession. This is something that I had seen again in the past once, in a Russian church in Europe. Four or five people went for a quick confession and blessing (10-15 minutes) and then the service started again.
I was very lucky as the Metropolitan visited the Parish in one of the three Sundays that I attended the Holy Liturgy and thus had the chance to take his blessing. The greater part of the Liturgy was in Russian, but there were also some bits in Spanish, as the priest (who is from Russia) knew Spanish pretty well.
In Cali I was hosted by an Orthodox family, as father Chrisostomo from Pereira had made all the arrangements in order to feel like home in Cali too. As for the Divine Liturgy… I was very touched as it was more like early Christians did it. One simple room served as the temple and one simple table as the altar. How lucky we are, the majority of modern-day Christians, with our big, bright churches and choirs… People there were very welcoming, making questions about my trip and taking photos all together after the Liturgy, as we were enjoying some refreshments and sweets. The Service was beautiful in its simplicity and it was all held in Spanish. You can hear a part of it, below.
I was very fortunate and blessed indeed not only to attend a part of the Holy Week in Pereira, but also to be hosted by Father Chrisostomos at his place. A small church with plastic walls situated at the patio of the Father´s house. This was all that the locals and myself needed for celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. While the majority of the Easter celebrations in my life so far had been in overcrowded churches, this time it was very different. We were 10-12 people. Lots of them were family of Father Chrisostomo, some locals, and a Colombian monk that went to visit Mount Athos in Greece as laity and became a monk! The chants were mainly in Spanish but there were also some Greek, as the monk was very fluent in Greek.
Overall, it was a very nice experience. The whole simplicity, the participatory atmosphere, the calm environment and the fact that we were not so many made easier (at least for me) to concentrate on the most important celebration of our faith.
I don´t know how, but somehow I lost the recordings of those days 😦
However, incredibly, I found online a blogpost on the celebration of the Orthodox Easter in Pereira from last year! Amazing…!
This year too everything looked exactly the same with this.
Honestly I didn´t expext to find a church looking like this in Latin America. I attended the service for three consecutive Sundays there. The first time I arrived during the Matins service, and father Mijail came out of the altar in order to greet me and welcome me. He also gave me a leaflet with the readings of the day (Gospel, Apostle etc.). Despite the church being built by the Arvanitis family from Greece, there was no Greeks in the church, but there were some Russians and some locals. The bigger part of the Liturgy was held in Spanish, with bits of Russian and Greek. You can hear part of it, below.