Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Seminary update

A few emails recently asked how seminary and Yankee living were going. By way of a small update, here is how my weekend went...

We began by driving to Taylor, PA to see the myrrh-streaming icon (for more on that see here and here). Given the option of travelling with the parish in a bus, my family opted for a drive in the family van. This gave us some additional options on food, stops, and methods of diversion to keep the children occupied. The Moleben to the Theotokos was well attended, but the church was not nearly as full as is when the many hundreds come from all over for the Wednesday service. It was quite moving for many in attendance; many people in tears and lots of hushed talking between family members. Of our clan, all but the 3 year old had perfect manners. He chose to slide a chair in the narthex from one wall to another for much of the service. A mixed blessing because it let some of the older ladies chat up my son which made them happy.

It's the first time I'd ever done the moleben service entirely in English and I noted that the English translation of the refrain doesn't fit the music quite as well as the original Slavonic. I immediately recognized this as a snooty "seminarianist" thought and tried to flush it from my mind. Balance was restored when I belted out my preferred version on the way to the car.

We got back in the car and made the short drive to St. Tikhon's Seminary and stayed with friends for the evening. Their two youngest are roughly the same age as our two youngest so there was a lot of toy sharing and high-chair rotating. It was a lovely time filled with playing in the back yard, good conversations, and tasty Lenten fare. I had hoped to chat late into the night, but was defeated by one child (whose name will remain unsaid so I won't hold a grudge) who required that I sleep with her until she fell asleep. By that time I was, of course, fast asleep myself.

The next morning we went to the Liturgy for the Annunciation (NC) followed by a communal meal in the trapeza, and a trip back to our friends' house to collect our things before making the drive back home. The weather while at the seminary was quite nice so the children ran around on the grounds until it was time to go. One of my fellow seminarian's grandparents are buried there so I took two of the boys (one of mine and one of our hosts) with me to say a short prayer at their graves. They, not knowing each other's names, decided on calling one another "best friend."

The drive home was uneventful, if long. The Pennsylvania countryside is still a novelty for us so that we oooh and aaah with relative frequency. The same can be said for Sheetz - I am enamored with its cleanliness, food offerings, and occasional freebies.

Tomorrow the seminary weekly cycle begins again. I'm supposed to have put in some time reading St. Photios, some St. Paul, and practiced chanting the Epistle this weekend. Hopefully time can be found to fit those items in between the cracks in my schedule before those classes start. As always, your prayers are much appreciated.

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