Christ is risen!

by , under church, services

Service: 8 of 9  Time: 3:30  Total: 3:30  Grand total: 16:52

Crew: Altar: Fr T, Hypodiakon and five acolytes (two young men, an older man, two boys aged about 12).  Choir: SSSSAATB (Baritone had volunteered to help out the Serbians in his hometown who appeared to otherwise have no singers at all, but we had Very Young Soprano, T’s daughter, who is a real asset and I negotiated with her mother about rehearsals so we can keep her). Other Ukrainian Soprano, who hadn’t been to any rehearsals and frankly not in church a lot lately, clearly expected to sing and I didn’t want to antagonize her so I hedged a bit, but I think (Regular) Ukrainian Soprano persuaded her to stay away.

Congregation: Didn’t manage to count; somewhat fewer than last year at the procession (couldn’t see the tail-end from the next corner) but more staying for the Liturgy. The little devil on my shoulder says this might be because Fr T had promised to bless people’s Easter baskets after the Liturgy; the little angel on my other shoulder pokes it with a stick. Made for lengthy Communion. I had to tell Young Soprano to jump the queue as I had done, because I saw her waiting with a frustrated expression while people pushed past her.

Oops! When we sang the Romanian Easter troparion in the Canon (instead of the usual Dutch-Slavonic-Dutch), I thought during the litany following it “oops, the troparion should be after the litany” (which is not the case) and did the Greek troparion after the litany. I think hardly anyone noticed and many people were pleased. The Romanian woman at our table at the feast complimented us, and several of the Greeks sang along.

Fr T started St John Chrysostom’s catechetical sermon right after the Easter stichera instead of the free-for-all greeting, and I thought “wise of him!” but then people started greeting each other anyway and it turned out he’d done it by mistake, probably because his wife (who is usually the first person he greets) was home sick. I was cautious and greeted only choirmates and a few favourite people rather than any and all random strangers like before 2020, but I’ll do a covid test in a couple of days just in case.

For Future Me: I realised when making up the book, on Saturday afternoon, that I didn’t know the exact ending of the Liturgy and it wasn’t written anywhere either (not in the overview Emerita Choirmistress made decades ago, not in the calendar, not in the Pascha book which referred to the Liturgikon, not in the Liturgikon; I have no other resources handy) so I made something up and thought it would fall into place by itself. It almost did, too.

Some pages are still usable but need new versions (story of this week). Nice little chore for Monday and/or Tuesday.

We had St. John’s Gospel in Dutch, Romanian, Ge’ez, and four Slavic languages (Russian, Macedonian, Ukrainian and Belarusian) and the Slavic languages were all so different! But still recognizably kin.

The Ukrainian women who sing at the monthly old-calendar Slavonic services sang during the clergy Communion. Someone had told me that they’d expected to get to sing part of the actual service (but that would have been logistically very difficult and broken the flow, so I’d vetoed that) and would go to Amsterdam instead (whether as a consequence of my veto the person didn’t say, perhaps didn’t know) but they were here after all. Ukrainian Soprano, who directs that choir, asked me whether they should sing and of course I said “yes! please! that makes me so happy!” It was beautiful and touching and I cried during their version of the Exapostilarion. I did get twinges of “goodness they’re so much better than us” but later someone said we’d been just as good, which of course I hadn’t been able to hear. (It was T’s wife, which makes it even more plausible that she was not just humoring me because T sings in both choirs.) Some of them are professional musicians, and they have an alto with a voice that makes me green with envy.

In the community room after the Liturgy, Fr T blessed the Easter baskets and the buffet table in one go, in Slavonic, and though there were perhaps sixty people in the room[1] I seemed to be the only person who knew the responses and had the presence of mind to sing the Easter troparion. I said to Hypodiakon “this is a Russian get-together” and he concurred but shrugged because he was as uncomfortable as I was and couldn’t do much either at that point. There were already people in the section we usually grab for the altar and the choir, and I didn’t want to oust them but wanted much less to crowd in with all the other people, but a choirmate and Hypodiakon explained –it does help to be a large bearded man in a sticharion– and they went away without protesting. (Then, of course, non-crew people also ended up at the table because they’d come in talking with one of us, but that did feel different.)

[1] About twenty-five more than fit in comfortably.

There was beer, and yummy food, and relative quiet, and nice people. People complimenting the choir, which made me realize that what has made it go so well was that we were together all the time, whether there were only three of us or the full complement, without apparent effort. Last year I still felt that it was me holding it together, somewhat like commanding a regiment of grasshoppers (also, that I had to prove myself, which I’ve obviously already done this time, just ask the metropolite).

I got home by 4.15, had some chocolate eggs and a glass of vodka, and then wanted to sleep so much but could only doze and was up again at 7.15. Now in that strangely liminal Easter morning state with only Vespers to go.


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