Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ascension Day in Paris

Here I am in St. Stephen's Greek Orthodox Church at 7 Rue Georges Bizet in the XVI Arrondisement, about a 20-minute walk from my hotel. Today is a holiday in Paris, schools and many businesses are closed. Church and picnics are what happen on Ascension Day. (There appears to be no Greek enclave or neighborhood per se here in Paris, but I will have to explore that more during my next visit. There are a few Greek restaurants highly-rated on Trip Advisor, including the rather unique Aux P'Tit Grec on Rue Mouffetard w/Kyrie Antoni from Thessaloniki.)

Once inside I lit two candles for my parents -- and felt like I could be in Miami, Stockton. New York or anywhere Orthodox Greeks gather to pray and socialize (afterward)... except that the narthex and the nave are not separated by a wall, more Greek-as-in-Greece-styled.

St. Stephen's -- the seat of the Metropolis -- was built in 1895 (pano-kato, I was told). And, yes, there is a woman in the ranks of 7 psaltithes! But there are only about two dozen people (young and old) here so far, sitting in about 8 rows of straight-backed wooden chairs with straw seats (with built-in wooden seats along the walls). Maybe there will be more when the Liturgy begins. Ah, it has now just begun and here comes a bespectacled young man with 3 small children...The Bible reading is in Greek and French.

The welcoming smells of incense complete an environment familiar to me since childhood. And so it shall always be.

Now for Le Picnic!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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