Lent has begun in the Orthodox world (as late as is possible with regards to our western brethren – this is one of those years where the two celebrations of Easter are very far apart) and we ushered it in appropriately at Sts. Anargyroi. The ecclesiastical day begins at sundown the day before (only the fasting day keeps to the everyday calendar) and so we kicked off the Lenten season with vespers on Sunday night followed by the traditional forgiveness greeting – at the end of vespers we formed a receiving line and embraced each other and asked for forgiveness. Monday morning we kicked off Kathara Deutera – Clean Monday – in fine fashion with a brisk walk along the rail trail behind the church.
In Greece Clean Monday is a big day with joyous outdoor activities featuring the flying of kites. Of course, it is much warmer this time of year in Greece so we have a bit of a problem in transferring customs. Also, there was no way we could pull of a kite-flying activity. However, since Lent began so late this year, I thought perhaps we could do some sort of outdoor activity, and the rail trail (an old railroad track that has become a paved bicycle/running/walking path all the way to Stowe) seemed a natural fit for what would likely not be brutal weather. Ominously, Prez pointed out that it was to be 15 degrees in the morning, but it was more like 25 degrees (still hideously cold, of course) but the sun was out, there was no wind, and those warriors who came out for the walk had a great time and warmed up rather quickly. It was unanimously agreed that we will do the walk again next year, weather-permitting of course. It was great to get the blood moving and spend some time in good fellowship as we embarked on our Lenten journey. The picture below is courtesy of Ted van Lingen, who was also among the walkers. Bedankt, Ted!