May 5-6, 2016
A parish’s patronal feast day is often called a second Pascha. When that feast day falls in Bright Week, as it did this year for St. George Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, then it can be called Pascha squared! Indeed, the joy of commemorating the Great Martyr George amidst the overflowing Grace of Bright Week, created a joyous celebration for the parish.
Bright Thursday evening started with festal Vespers and the majestic, full Paschal beginning, as specified in the Typicon. The Holy, Great-Martyr and Trophy-Bearer George was fittingly magnified during Great Matins: first by the gathered clergy – priest Daniel Marshall, rector, priest Pavel Akmolin, visiting priest Gabriel Monforte and deacon Alexander Petrovsky – and then by the talented parish choir, under the direction of Dr. Kurt Sander.
Bright Friday commenced with the Blessing of Water, followed by the greeting of Bishop Peter, who had arrived by plane late the previous night. Though it was a weekday and though many had just taken off work for Holy Friday services the week before, a sizable group of parishioners attended. Bishop Peter’s subdeacons for the day were subdeacon Andrei Anishenko, who was visiting from Canada, and Gabriel Sander. Many of the faithful communed.
The Hierarchical Liturgy concluded with a Paschal procession with Cross, Gospel, icons, banners, Artos and Holy Water. After the spiritual feast, the warmth of the services transferred to the parish hall, where the sisterhood offered a festal banquet and parishioners lingered, soaking in the joy of the day. As usual, Head Sister Helen Kaminsky, had organized a tasty, filling meal.
With the Paschal greeting – Christ is Risen! – echoing in their ears and gratitude to St. George in their hearts, the gathered faithful departed in peace.
-- A participant