Saturday, January 19, 2019

We celebrated the feast of the Baptism of our Lord, and all day I kept thinking that it was Sunday.  Vladika Lazar was assisted by Father Shio of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Father Alexey and Deacon Markel who has just returned from a tropical vacation. The church was filled with worshippers, many of whom came for confession, in fact, I returned to the altar long after the chanting of the Symbol of Faith.  We often encounter people who have been baptized but who seldom, or even never, have gone to confession or taken Communion.  It is with such people that I like hearing confessions because they are so eager to enter into a beginning of a life in Christ. I was told that there were over one hundred present, although only a couple dozen went on the cross procession to the stream after the blessing of the water had been completed in the church.  As soon as the water was blessed, the brave souls descended the ladder into the cold water.  This year there were more women than men, with even a couple of children participating.  Before the last few people managed to dip into the water, it began to rain. A couple of ladies protected me by holding their umbrellas over me, but others got soaked. In a way, everyone got blessed with holy water and even with”holy” rain.  The hall and adjoining rooms were overflowing with people for the meal, after which I got to meet some new arrivals from Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova.  Again, thinking that it was Sunday, I forgot about Vespers, so I did not get much of a rest before the next service. 

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