Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The blog on the move again!

Easter Monday morning at 8am saw the blog on the move again, but this time only as far as the beautiful north east Romanian city of Iasi.

One of the highlights of the city is the Orthodox Cathedral that is dedicated to Saint Paraschiva and whose annual festival of remembrance draws literally thousands of Romanians to Iasi each September. These photos show a glimpse of the inside and outside of the Cathedral. It is currently under renovation but thankfully it was still pssible to see inside and to marvel at its majesty.
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Laffy and Noldy-one year on!

Last Easter Sunday our faithful members from Indonesia won this blogger's prize as the smartest congregants! If you missed last years photos then trawl down and you can see just how much Laffy has grown in one year! This year, they won again (and hands down!) Here they are, Laffy and Noldy, looking superb in their new Easter suits.

This is their final year with us, God willing-Noldy will complete his Ph.D. studies and return to their family. Our loss will be their gain!
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Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday dawned bright and beautiful in Bucharest and even by the beginning of the service we had run out of orders of service for Easter Day! The church was totally full and we counted 99 people in church at one point in the service, from our memories a record, at least in recent memory, for a major church festival.

It was a beautiful service, and included the usual surprises that are part and parcel of our witness in Bucharest. We received as a gift a beautifully painted image of Christ on the cross from one of our long standing church members. We will display it with pride in church.

At the end of the service most people stayed for coffee and cakes, and a little bit like the loaves and the fishes, what we had available proved to be sufficient even for the bumper congregation!

Happy Easter from Bucharest-Hristos a inviat!

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thank you-unsung heroes!

The Easter Eve service demonstrated clearly the number of people who work tirelessly and anonymously to ensure that our worship in the Church of the Resurrection can be both comfortable and meaningful.

As these photographs confirm, at the close of the service we were able to continue the Romanian tradition of jarping coloured boiled eggs, whilst the preceding service was enriched by the spring floral arrangements and the inspired performance of our long serving organist Florin,

To Florin, and to all the unsung heroes (actually mainly if not exclusively heroines) who provided the flowers and the refreshments that we enjoyed so much at the conclusion of the service, an enormous and heartful THANK YOU.
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Easter Eve at the Church of the Resurrection

Our Easter services began with the Maundy Service liturgy and continued through Good Friday culminating with our service of light and renewal on Easter Eve. We followed the traditional style, sharing the light and renewing our baptismal vows.

The Church of the Resurrection looked even more beautiful than usual, warm, welcoming and prayerful in the semi light of candles and subdued electricity.

Hristos a inviat!
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a Palm Sunday apology!

When we read the Palm Sunday narrative, one of our key readers was one of our Church Wardens, Nick Hammond. How I forgot to include this long serving servant of the Church of the Resurrectionin the earlier blog I will never know-and this blogger is truly apologetic.
This photo shows Nick at our Easter Eve service, sharing the light with his beautiful wife Stephi.

Nick-mea culpa!
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Friday, March 21, 2008

And now............ Palm Sunday in Sofia

On Sunday this blogger "held the fort" in Bucharest while our Chaplain paid one of his regular visits to Sofia. I'd always understood that this was a difficult and hard pilgrimage-but now this myth is well and truly exploded!

Seriously, I have received these wonderful photographs from our dear friends in Sofia, and it is a real pleasure to add them to the blog. Jonathan, one of our stalwart members in Sofia has sent the following description of each picture:

1 - Martin getting to know a younger member of the community in Sofia, baby Gabriel (or is that the other way round?)

2 - a trip to one of the new metro tunnels being dug in Sofia, led by master engineer Lionel (L to R: Lionel, Gino, Martin, Mira and Pat)

3 - after church, a visit to Dragalevtsi Monastery, a very popular destination in Sofia on August 15, the Feast of Our Lady (L to R: Gino, Mira, Martin, Pat, Lionel and Jonathan)

4 - followed by a relaxed lunch at Vodenitsa, a traditional Bulgarian restaurant on the skirts of Mt Vitosha (L to R: Jonathan, Lionel, Pat, Sofia's "radical priest", newly weds Gino and Mira)

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back Home at last! Palm Sunday in Bucharest

Back home again (Thank God!). On Palm Sunday we celebrated our Eucharist in truly traditional style, starting with our Sunday School children waving their (not quite) palm branches in the air while we sang our first hymn. Then we blessed and distributed the palm crosses (thank you Lillah, Victoria, and John for your really hard work in creating the crosses!). The crosses were wonderful.

The Ministry of the Word focused on the Passion Narative as described by Matthew, superbly re-created by Philip, Alison, and Lelda-thanks to them all for their presentation!

Now we move into Holy Week, watch this space to see how we celebrate this in Bucharest!
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The blogger as a true tourist.................

And finally, before we leave the USA, here are some typical tourist photographs from Washington. First there is Capitol Hill, where the blogger was privileged to meet a Congressman and be there when a member of our congregation, Irvin Dyer, received a Congressional Commendation!

Next is the White House, now sadly out of bounds to tourists following 9/11, and finally a glimpse of Watergate, where Richard Nixon's downfall began all those years ago!
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And now the blog goes to America

These last weeks have seen the blog travelling far and wide! Latest stop was America (although my dearly beloved Church of the Resurrectiuon was never out of my mind for more than one second!). As a typical Brit my preconceptions of America were , without exception, misconceptions!

In reality, our cousins across the water have created a wonderful homeland. The blog was based close to Washington and quickly realised that this is an area where the Anglican Communion is more than alive-in fact it is flourishing!

A highlight from the visit was to see Washington Cathedral (actually it closely reminicent of Durham Cathefral!). The first two photographs show the cathedral, whilst the third, in total contrast, shows a typical parish church, this one is even an Anglican Church, that you can find, as in Romania, on almost every street corner.

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A last look at Italy.....................

In the north of the country (like everywhere else in Italy) there are beautiful churches almost on every street corner. Here is a small selection, from near Lake Como and in Parma.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mothering Sunday in Parma

On Mothering Sunday we were in Parma and visited a wonderful church in a cobbled part of the old city centre. The sung responses were led beautifully by an unobtrusively placed choir, and the large congregation were totally involved in the service.

For a while I was confused by the lack of references to mothers and their central place in our lives-until I understood that in Europe this Sunday is simply the fourth in Lent................. Mothering Sunday will be later in the year!

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The blogger on the move

This last weekend saw this blogger in Italy, enjoying the break and savouring visits to new places. On Saturday we visited Lake Como and apart from having a delicious lunch in a lake side restaurant (delicious fish!), and the obligatory cruise on the lake (spectacular!) we also discovered in a maze of narrow lanes a wonderful church, complete with its own micro version of Lourdes.

When we were there there was no sign of either pilgrims or miracles but it was still very beautiful and peaceful, as well as in a very pleasant shade.

Next stop Parma, and Mothering Sunday service in a Roman Catholic church and in Italian......................................

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