Δευτέρα, 13 Νοεμβρίου 2017

Veterans Day in a Greek Orthodox Church

A wonderful write up by my good friend George Selinsky:
A visit to a Greek Orthodox Church on Veterans Day
Today I had the fortune of visiting the Kimisis tis Theotokou (The Dorimition of the Mother of God) Greek Orthodox Church located in Southhampton, New York, perhaps the most popular town in eastern Long Island. I always find Greek churches interesting to visit, as I learn something new about how parishes function and how clergy engage with their parishioners. What I found striking about this parish was that just before the great entrance, Fr. Constantine paused to address the young acolytes who were also attendants of the Sunday school, and described a part of the liturgy to them in detail. Later on, Fr. Alexander also described in detail the 40 day blessing of a child, including the origin of the service.
I noticed a fair amount of elderly parishioners around me, and it turned out that today was a special commemoration for veterans. About 15 veterans were awarded icons and recognized for their service. At least 5 of them were involved in the second world war (which would put their age well into the 90's). Most of them had received communion during the liturgy, and approached the solea unassisted. Others were veterans from Vietnam, Korea, and also one was from the 'Cuban missile crisis'. It was impressive to see that even though these men had served in American uniform, they remained strongly attached to their Greek Orthodox roots.
Before leaving I was able to talk to several parishioners and learn that there was a significant Slavic, Romanian, and even Georgian contingent that not only attends services but even holds regular gatherings at the parish building. The parish also holds regular events including concerts and art exhibits. It was inspiring to see such a vibrant pan-Orthodox community all the way out at the eastern end of Long Island that appears to be thriving.
Billy Chrissochos

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