Time: 3:00 Grand total: 17:15
Congregation: lots at the procession (we saw the tail-end through the street from the next corner), dwindled to about 40 at Liturgy
Crew: Altar: Fr T, one hypodiakon directing inexperienced adult acolyte (his second time to serve) and ditto 7-year-old acolyte Choir: SSSAAATB at Matins, one soprano and one alto went home (they travel together and one of them had serious surgery earlier this year) but we acquired Auxiliary Tenor and it all went like a breeze.
Tertia, cross-bearer again, set a slightly too fast pace and the people-carrying-things and the choir were so absorbed that we didn’t notice Fr T and the rest of the procession falling behind, but Spouse sent someone to rein her in. We also started with what looked like a police escort, but that turned out to be a random patrol car that couldn’t pass into the next street because there was a procession in the way. Someone went to tell them what was going on and they backed up.
The service was significantly shorter than last year, though it felt relaxed and unhurried! The Cherubinic Hymn was just right — light and tripping which this tune seems to want (on ordinary Sundays we sing it too slowly for my taste), but not uncomfortably fast. Perhaps the shortness was because there weren’t so many people for Communion, and there was no letter from the bishop (Me: Didn’t the bishop write a letter? Fr T: No.) No letter from the patriarch either, not even on the official site of the patriarchate, but I did find one and linked it on the church webpage. Powerful language! Hard to quote only one bit — go and read it all — but this is representative, I think:
What prevails is the “we”, the community of life, co-participation and co-existence, as well as the sanctifying identification of freedom in Christ through sacrificial and doxological love. Such is the awe-inspiring message of the radiant icon of the Resurrection in the Descent of Christ into Hades.
(The bishop, on exarchat.eu, only gave his Easter greetings, so Fr T was right about that. I did get the link to the patriarch’s letter from the exarchate site.)
Now I’m in that strange Easter Sunday state, somewhat earlier than usual: it’s nearly 11 o’clock and we’ve already had breakfast and coffee. The adult acolyte stayed the night but left before we were even awake because he has urgent family obligations, so it’s the three of us reading, messing around on the computer and listening to Easter music until the rest of the offspring arrives mid-afternoon.