This has been a rather full day. We began with a funeral for the servant of God, Augustine, in the big church. As I mentioned in the entry for yesterday, we had the bringing of the coffin on Friday afternoon, followed by the reading of the Psalter, in the church. This continued all night long until, this morning at 8.00 when the funeral service began.
Archbishop Lazar, Father Markel and Reader Sorin, served the funeral service which was mostly in Romanian but with some English. Since I don’t speak or understand Romanian, my job was mainly to help lend moral support during the service. Following the service, we then went to the Heritage Garden Cemetery in Surrey for the actual interrment. It was a sunny and rather warm day so we all met at the final resting place, in the “Orthodox section” of Heritage Gardens. It is an interesting and beautiful area, with lots of very old trees and a variety of flowering plants. While we were awaiting the arrival of the funeral party, Nianna and I spotted a young deer snacking on the tall grass at the edge of the cemetery. She and I both managed to get photographs of the deer, though hers were much better than mine.
Following the interrment, we had a chance to chat with one another for a short period of time and then return to the monastery where there had been another funeral service at 11.00, which was served in Slavonic. The group from the Slavonic-language service were sitting at tables in the large hall of the monastery, eating the remainder of their memorial meal, when we arrived and began preparing for our later memorial meal. For a while, it was a bit congested but as the crowd lessened, things became more settled with food being taken into the hall, coffee being brewed and preparations made for the blessing of the meal and then a relaxed and communal sharing of the joy of simply being together as mutual “burden bearers”.
Although by the ending of the memorial meal, it had already been a rather long day, we still had the serving of Vespers at 17.00 in the big church. Father Markel served in English and there was a small “choir” of Matushka Raissa, Sorin, Georgeta, Sasha, and Father Moses. As well, there was a short memorial service at the end of Vespers which was an excellent closure for this day.