Time: 2:35 Grand total: 6:25
Congregation: 3-6, some staying all the time, others coming in later or leaving earlier or, in one case, both.
Crew: Clergy (outside the altar): Fr T and an adult acolyte who was instructed by the hypodiakon (who wasn’t serving and left early to nurse his vestigial bronchitis) how to ring the bell. He did fairly well, learning how to strike it softly in the course of the service but as he got tired struck it too loudly again. Choir: SSAT and for about half the service another T.
The service started very smoothly and felt very quick, but eventually it was only five minutes shorter than last year, probably because there were fewer people to venerate the Cross.
We actually started the sedalion in the fourth tone right! Probably because I remembered to virtually strike out the ordinary Amen and point to the special fits-with-it Amen. It’s a very hard piece so it was still a bit ragged, but definitely better than last year.
All of us had forgotten to get the cross from its usual place (the corner where the dead are commemorated) so when we saw “Carrying out of the cross” in the book there was a brief flurry of excitement, resulting in Auxiliary Tenor getting the cross to Fr T so he could carry it into the altar in order to properly carry it out.
It’s a good thing that the Gospel readings get shorter and shorter: the first one is four and a half chapters of John, easily twenty minutes, and the last only four verses of Matthew. This service is exhausting enough as it is.