From yesterday’s high, crashing back into reality. I will not be able to attend any more services until the Agape Vespers on Sunday — and even after that, I won’t be able to stay as long as I’d like.
I drove back, that whole 40 miles, this morning, just so I could be at the Royal Hours. That was good till about 11:00 a.m., and then I had to come back home, in theory, so I could bake kulich (but I didn’t. I did some laundry, then spent a lot of time on a prayerbook I’m making for myself). And I’ve spent the afternoon kicking myself for not having hung around for the Vespers of the Unnailing, which took place at 3:00. The Greeks do something very beautiful — my former ROCOR parish didn’t do this, so I don’t know if Russians have this custom — the Greeks have a structure that represents the Tomb of Christ, and right after the Royal Hours, they decorate this Tomb with flowers and set it on the solea in front of the Royal Doors. At the Vespers of the Unnailing, they take the icon of the Body of Christ down off the cross, process around the church with it, and place it in the Tomb. Then, at night, everybody goes up to venerate the shrouded Body, and during the Lamentations the Tomb is taken off its stand and paraded out into the street, while the entire church follows it holding candles and singing, “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.” The Tomb is processed around the church, then held high above the door so that everybody can pass under it. At the end of the service, everyone gets a flower off the Tomb.
I could have stayed and helped decorate the Tomb. I could have had Orthodox fellowship with people I really enjoy. Instead, I was Conscientious and came home, and have been wallowing in isolation ever since. This Lone Orthodox business is FOR THE BIRDS. I want my Pascha! I want fellowship! I want to be with other people who know how beautiful an Orthodox life is!