Ordination Weekend

Well, I'm back from my travels. I got home at about 7 o' clock last evening and am still very tired.

Having negotiated my way around changing service times and two partially closed tube lines, I managed to get to the cathedral on Saturday morning with enough time to see the people I needed to see and to make my confession, which had been my main worry. As it happened, the morning Liturgy was fairly low-key. The Unction service had been planned for the afternoon, and that is a major event which always sees the cathedral full, and I am sure that some of the people wanted to stay for the Vigil, so it is understandable that numbers were a little thin for the morning Liturgy, especially as it is not a usual part of the cathedral's weekly schedule of services. The choir, though depleted in number, sang beautifully as ever, under Anna's leadership, and the reception of the bishop consisted of Archbishop Mark simply walking into the church, venerating the icons, and entering the altar - not the grand affair that I had seen on previous occasions.

It was in the midst of this simplicity that I was ordained a subdeacon by Vladyka Mark during the Sixth Hour. Because of the shortage of servers at this Liturgy, I was called upon to serve as subdeacon, which is not usual for a new subdeacon at his first Liturgy and which I had not expected. However, I'm very grateful for the experience of that Liturgy and one yesterday morning. I do not know how good a subdeacon I shall be, or how useful to my diocese or parish, but those whose decision it is to make seem to think that it is good, and it is a service that I would very much like to offer, so I shall try my best, with God's help. You will all know by now that I have never met a rubric that I did not like, and I have good teachers in my parish priest and the subdeacon at the cathedral, so in time I will learn.

If you feel that you perhaps forgot that this was going to take place, please do not feel bad. I tried to keep it low key, so you probably didn't know. Without the Christian grounding given to me by my family, especially my grandmother, I would never have sought Orthodoxy in the first place. I must also express particular thanks to my parish priest and his family, and everybody at my parish for their spiritual, emotional, and practical support and encouragement over the past few years, without which I would not be here. I also know that others held me in prayer, for which I am thankful. I am particularly grateful to the parishioner who lovingly made the beautiful stikhar and orar (pictured left). It is good that such talents and skills are offered in service to God through his Church.

A friend was able to come, which really helped, and the cathedral parish, as ever, was characteristically generous to me. The welcome lift to my hotel after a long day of travelling and services, the taking of photographs and videos, my departure gift, not to mention the gentle guidance of their serving team, (who seem to be closer and closer as friends each time I visit, which I think is splendid), all went towards making me feel incredibly wanted and valued. I really cannot express how happy I am. Even the state of the hotel and the resultant lack of sleep on Saturday night was not enough to dishearten me.

Additional delights over the weekend were the opportunity to meet another reader in our diocese with whom I had been in e-mail contact for some months but never actually met in person. He and his family were absolutely lovely and I look forward to seeing them again. Also present was a deacon visiting from Jordanville, who has been known to read this blog and who was truly a pleasure to meet, after having been in touch with him in the past. Perhaps he could be persuaded to transfer to our diocese. ;-) It all highlighted that ROCOR really is a small family spread over a large area, but really everybody knows everybody else: it really is nice, (in the best sense of the word).

So enough waffle - here are a few video clips filmed by two members of the cathedral parish.

This one is the latter half of the ordination itself:

These few are from the Lesser Entrance. Usually, the new subdeacon would be standing before the icon of the Saviour on the solea throughout most of the Liturgy, holding the pitcher and basin, so I was not expecting to serve. However, I was thrown in at the deep end and managed not to sink straight away, so I'm glad I was able to learn a little. If only I had a week of it...

This is from the preparation for the Great Entrance. Vladyka prayed the "None is worthy" prayer then we washed his hands, while the choir sang the Cherubic hymn.

Finally, this one is from the Sunday morning. There were two Apostle readings and I was given a blessing to read a translation of the first. This pattern was followed with the two Gospels later in the Liturgy.

I am now thoroughly looking forward to my next visit to the cathedral or, better yet, Vladyka Mark's next visit to my parish, because if I have one regret over this weekend, (leaving aside the choice of hotel), it was that I was not ordained among my parish family, who really have been a anchor of stability for me.

Now, partly because of my particular love for the Holy Martyrs and partly because of my French ancestry, I hope to learn a little more about, and perhaps develop a devotion to, St Andéol of Vivarais (Andeolus of Smyrna), who was a subdeacon, sent by St Polycarp in 166 to evangelise southern Gaul, and was there martyred on the 1st of May in the year of grace 208 AD under Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. He seems to be little known in the anglophone world but his cult is still strong in France. May his prayers be for our salvation.

Pray for us, O Holy Martyr Andéol,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

12 responses:

margaret said...

Congratulations and Many Years!

(And nice vestments) :)

Michael said...

Thank you, Margaret! :-)

Yes, the vestments are lovely. The orar especially is just right for me. Those very short ones can look quite unfortunate on more... er... shall we say generously proportioned subdeacons. :-)

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

my warmest congratulations and best wishes !
God grant you Many, Many Years in His service !!!

Ian Climacus said...

Michael: many, many years to you, and my warmest and deepest congratulations. Lovely vestments indeed; and a wonderful description of the service and the generosity and love of the parish -- I look forward to watching the YouTube clips as I am able.

Through the prayers of Holy Martyr St Andéol, and all the Saints, may the Lord bless your service.

Michael said...

Thank you, Elizabeth and Ian. It really was special and everybody has been so good. You pray for many years of service - let's see first of all whether I can get the first year right. :-)

Keith said...

Congratulations, Michael! It sounds a very tiring but God-soaked day. I'm looking forward to when I can get to your church again

Ad multos annos!


Joe S.R. said...

Many congratulations!

Max. said...

Congratulations Michael.

Michael said...

Thank you, Keith, Joe, and Max. Everybody's been really supportive and encouraging.

Yes, Keith, it would be good to see you again. If you'd like, you could always come to one or more of the upcoming services for Holy Week if there's nothing on at your own church. They're on the website, although a number of them will be just as new to us as they will to you, as we have an actual church now in which to do more of the services.

The Kursk Root icon will come to our parish at the end of June. :-)

BillyD said...

Many years!

Michael said...

:-) Thank you, BillyD!

CuppaT said...

Axios! Many Years.

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