Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pictures of Our Bishop's Visit

Our Bishop Benjamin (OCA) paid his first "dedicated visit" to our Mission this past weekend. Before this he would spend Vespers with us and we would close our Mission and join him at Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Phoenix for liturgy on Sunday. This was the first time since I was ordained a sub-deacon that I was somewhat responsible for attending to the Bishop. Since I've never actually been the "proto sub deacon" at a heirarchical liturgy, Bp. Benjamin brought Sdn. Johann from the cathedral with him to "assist" us...which means he taught us how to do it. This is the final "huddle"with all the altar servers on Sunday morning before Bp. Benjamin arrived. (Sdn. Johann is the second from the left).
This is me and Sdn. Matthew from the local Antiochian Church preparing the Bishop's vestments. They are folded in a certain way so when we vest the Bishop they go on in the right order and easily.
This is the beginning of the service and vesting of the Bishop. This is what Metropolitan Jonah refers to when he says, "Its no wonder Bishops have big heads...when they enter a Church people dress them like a Byzantine emperor and sing to them that they hope they live forever..." One of the things you don't want to do is get nervous and get started on the wrong button, like I did last year when I assisted at Sts. Peter and Paul.


Sdn. Johann and I finish the vesting without any glitches.
The Bishop is vested and gives his blessing...he also blessed our new building this morning. (Yes, that is me...without the candles.)
Prayers...
And blessings...
One of the hardest things to learn as a sub-deacon is which candles go in which hand and when. I know the three branched always goes to his right hand. Depending on the part of the liturgy we either hand the two and three branched candles to the Bishop facing the altar or the congregation, so they are placed on the altar accordingly (and depending on where we are in the liturgy they are either lit or not. ) Sdn. Matthew and I got this one right.
The Bishop consecrates and serves communion when he visits. The parish priests are his "hands", so when the Bishop is present the priests are wallflowers and the deacons and subdeacons do most of the liturgical work with the Bishop.
And he gives the final blessings.

For the full pictorial go HERE. Thanks to Paul aka. Bagwhan Dos for his fine photo journalism.

10 comments:

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

What amazing photographs !

elizabeth said...

What a blessed time! Thank you for sharing this with us...

margaret said...

I once heard Metropolitan Kallistos tell a story about the Archbishop who ordained him. The Archbishop said, "I have some advice for you..." Met Kallistos expected something of great theological import but what the Archbishop actually said was, "Never let the subdeacon fold your vestments!" :) There are clearly easier places to be a subdeacon than your diocese.

James the Thickheaded said...

margaret - what a hoot!
SP - Moo took some great pics! Bravo!

Y'know in Orthodoxy, we DO make a ceremony out of everything! Gotta love it so long as you're not on a tight schedule. We blessed and asperged new vestments yesterday, took in a catechumen, and would have done a baptism... but I think that's a week or two away.

s-p said...

Margaret: He must have been thinking of me. Sdn. Johann had several ways to fold vestments. Some Bishops can be a bit ummm...anal about stuff from my experience. Fortunately Bp. Benjamin is pretty accomodating.

JtTH, Yeah, I told one of our new altar servers, "You think its complicated now, it took the Church 2000 years to come up with this...just think what it will look like in another 2000 years."

Fr. James Early said...

Great photos, Steve! Thank you for sharing them.

bob said...

Well, as most Orthodox websites indicate, "Where the bishop is, there is the bishop". A new cartoon might be noting the fact that a bishop visit includes pictures of nothing else, no one else. We're not clericalized; not us!

s-p said...

Bob, "Where the Bishop is, there is the Bishop"... LOL! I think we take so many pictures of them because we want to remember what he looks like for his next visit in two years. :)

bob said...

I only show this to certain people of great discernment...It's Hans Conried in "The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T" -- The only motion picture done by Dr. Seuss. Along with the vesting pictures you have here...Well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcwAymlCB1k

Try and not think of this the next episcopal visit.

s-p said...

ROTFL!! I, on the other hand, have no discernment and posted it on the blog and sent it to some bishops. :)