Waiting to exhale…

So…we had the first cruise ship of the season.  Naturally, it had to be a big one.  Having not done a cathedral tour since last September, a couple of days ago I got the chance to do a dry run.  I thought it would be a good idea to get the rust out – you know – remember all those dates and saints and Russian names.  So I agreed to do a little tour for a Headstart field trip.

Good Lord!  I never realized how many icons I don’t know.  The kiddos wanted to know “Who’s that?” for every icon they could see.  Thank God some of them were too far up for them to notice, or I would still be there.  It was wild, sweet mayhem, let me tell you.

We had 3 buses today, with about 50 passengers per bus – give or take a few.  Wait, let’s make that give a few.  There were loads of people.  My volunteers didn’t make it by the first bus, so I was ever so thankful that Cyri Petrova and her mother, Rufina, willingly lent a hand.  By the time the 2nd bus rolled around, my wonderful (at times, yes, I admit it) husband rolled in.  Caleb is a pretty good enforcer.  It is pretty important to us that people do not wander around the church by themselves, so, in the absence of my mother, the absolute enforcer, Caleb was great!

I always forget how exhausted I get doing tours.  I finally realized why I get that way, several years ago.  Let me tell you a secret.  It is damn hard being PERKY for 3 to 4 hours!  Oh, and I had to move all the huge planks that were used during Easter, plus the long back benches before the buses got there. 

All these red planks were piled in the St. Innocent chapel.
All these red planks were piled in the St. Innocent chapel.

So that got me a bit tired.  But it is that PERKINESS that does me in, for sure.

CB showed up with some folks who were doing video work.  I put a real downer on their plans when I had to let them know that since I didn’t have permission from the Bishop to film in the church, alas, no cameras.  They were very gracious.  And we had a good time talking before the 3rd bus showed up.  Great seeing you on this side, CB.

I am awaiting my new couch.  It was supposed to be delivered to Ashley Furniture in Anchorage on Thursday.  They will deliver it to ACE.  It didn’t come in today, and I don’t know yet if there is a plane tomorrow.  How disappointing.  If you knew that I have been without a couch since August, you would be disappointed for me, too! 

StoryCorps has less than a week of recording time left in the Alaska Initiative.  Kristine and I facilitated number 109 this evening with lovely storyteller Jane Bye, and interviewer Anne Hillman. 

Don’t forget to attend the Coffee House this Saturday at 7PM in the Burma Road Chapel.  Should be lots of fun.  I missed the board training provided by the City of Unalaska for non-profits due to my work and volunteer schedule.  Hopefully they will provide a training video.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Happy Easter!

Having completed the vigil at the tomb, we go out, bearers of the cross, those carrying banners, icons, the Gospel, the choir, the Priest and the faithful carrying  candles ablaze.  Circling the church (3 times typically – unless the weather is really bad), we sing that Christ is risen from the dead.  Coming to the front of the church, a small service is completed by the priest, wherein he calls out, Christ is Risen, and the faithful respond, Indeed He is risen.

Father Jonah using his sensor outside the church.
Father Jonah using his sensor outside the church.

Vince Tutiakoff holds the Gospel, while Boris Galaktionoff has the icon depicting the Ascension of Christ.

It was snowing and quite chilly.
It was snowing and quite chilly.

Luckily enough, with the joyful celebration, came a very spring-like afternoon.  Just in time for the egg hunt.  As we got out of church the evening before – or should I say morning – at around 3:15 AM, we set the time of the egg hunt for 2 PM. 

Caleb finishes hiding eggs in the churchyard.
Caleb finishes hiding eggs in the churchyard.

Chomping at the bit, the kids only had to wait a few minutes.  And then they went crazy, running all over looking for enough eggs to win them a prize.

SP on the look-out.
SP on the look-out.
Sweet success!
Sweet success!

And look!  Who can that be with a cute, new haircut??  Might it be Alena!

Alena! with her new do.
Alena! with her new do.

 I will probably be falling asleep early.  For some reason, my husband thought that I needed to get up at 8:30 AM, so he thoughtfully brought me a cup of coffee and woke me up.  At my age, 41/2 hours of sleep just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Saturday morning and afternoon – before Midnight service.

Flowers surrounding the shroud of Christ.
Flowers surrounding the shroud of Christ.

The Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of Christ, the oldest and largest Russian Orthodox cruciform-style church on the North American continent, is beautiful on any given day.  It is particularly so during the solemn services leading up to the resurrection of Christ.  As the judgement and crucifiction of Christ unfold each year, the coverings on the icon stands are changed to black or dark purple.  This morning, as we prepared for the resurrection, the dark covers were removed to reveal white.   Tonight, at 11:30, the shroud will be taken and placed on the alter behind the iconostas.  It is a particularly beautiful service, although a bit lengthy as it includes both a Matins and a Divine Liturgy.  All are welcome to attend.

Getting ready for the egg hunt.
Getting ready for the egg hunt.

The children, of course, are getting excited because they not only get to stay up late, circle the church three times at nearly midnight, trying to keep their candles lit, but then they get to participate in  an egg hunt after service on Easter Sunday afternoon.