Summer Trip 2011 – Romania

Posted by on August 9, 2011 at 11:11 am

TweetAfter Turkey, I traveled to Romania. I spent some time in the county of Galati before traveling to Sinaia and later to Sucheava. Nearby Sucheava are the painted monasteries of Buchovina. One of my seminary professors from Romania, Fr. Pentiuc, seeing on Facebook that I was in Romania, suggested I visit. It was out of the way, but worth the trip. I only spent two days in Sucheava before moving on to do the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

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HCHC Senior Trip 2011 – Constantinople

Posted by on July 24, 2011 at 11:36 am

TweetThe seven days I was in Constantinople/Istanbul was the most moving, exhausting, and colorful part of the pilgrimage. We arrived by bus and went for lunch at the Phanar. Then we visited the small Church of St. Nicholas, one of the 75 still functioning Orthodox churches (served by just 24 priests) in Istanbul. The single men stayed at the Halki Seminary on an island in the Bosphorus. Halki was closed in the 70’s and the Turkish gov’t refuse to allow it to be reopened. It still functions as a monastery where there is only a handful of monks and staff. The seminary was on top of a hill, and since there were no vehicles on the island the only way there was to walk or go by horse carriage.

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HCHC Senior Trip 2011 – Kavallas Artoclasia

Posted by on July 5, 2011 at 5:15 am

TweetAfter Mt. Athos, we loaded onto the bus and headed off for Turkey. We stopped twice, once in a small city at a fairly decent hotel, and once in a very small town at a very nice hotel by the beach. At the first city, Kavallas, we arrived on the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul. Because this city was the first place where St. Paul entered Europe, and because he is the patron and protector of the city, the city goes all out to celebrate his feast day with an artoclasia and a stational procession from the chruch of St. Paul to the city cathedral. There were at least four bishops and over a dozen priests and deacons. My camera battery died at the start of the procession, but I borrowed a couple of point and shoots and got some more shots of the procession moving and the end. It was a brilliant night and one of the high points of the trip.

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HCHC Senior Trip 2011 – Mt. Athos

Posted by on July 4, 2011 at 5:16 am

TweetWe left for Mt. Athos at 5am. I stayed up too late packing, but worse of all, there was music blasting from the theological school where we had taken Greek classes. Police are not allowed to go on college campuses, and if they had campus security they did nothing. After a restless sleep, we were on our way.

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HCHC Senior Trip 2011 – Thessaloniki

Posted by on June 18, 2011 at 1:21 am

TweetThessaloniki was a good chance for us to settle down a bit. On the other hand, we’re still touring around twice a week. Plus, we’re taking Greek classes. These classes are just shy of awful. I taught language for 10 years and I’ve studied a language, so I know better than anyone just what we’re not getting. Plus, the air conditioner remote keeps getting locked up and the room is hot and stuffy.  Plus, there’s a lot of homework. I’m just short of giving up all together. I could barely pay attention today at all.

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HCHC Senior Trip 2011 – Athens and Agina Island, Greece Photos

Posted by on June 17, 2011 at 12:56 pm

TweetAfter you’ve been traveling for a while, especially when you’re moving rapidly from one place to another, everything starts to blend together after awhile.

There was one important moment during our visit to Agina Island, when we visited the monastery where St. Nektarios lived and where his relics are. We visit the room that he lived in during his time there. Our groups sang the hymn ‘Agia Parthene’ in front of the icon that St. Nektarios sat in front of when he wrote the hymn. I was so glad to have captured that moment on video, but the cheap memory card I was using failed and I lost it.

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HCHC Senior Trip 2011 – Crete, Greece

Posted by on June 17, 2011 at 1:15 am

TweetWe had a brilliant time on Crete, but it was here that it began to seem that things were speeding up and we were running from one place to the next. However, this part of the trip was very special for me. We visited a monastery that had been re-founded by a nun who was close to Elder Porphyrios, my spiritual grandfather (spiritual father’s spiritual father). I saw something for the first time, an icon of the elder. When we got back onto the bus I saw another student had bought a similar icon in the bookstore. I held up the bus while I ran back in the hot sun to buy one for myself. I got there just as the nun who kept the store was leaving. As I ran back to the bus, I had the most perfect fall I’ve ever had. The lace of one shoe got caught on the buckle of the other. I pitched forward and fell flat on the ground. I skinned up my elbow and had a headache for the rest of the day, but it was worth it. The monastery was nice otherwise, there was a very old icon screen which is usually closed off but they let us in to venerate it.

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HCHC Senior Trip 2011 – Paris, France Photos

Posted by on June 16, 2011 at 12:13 am

TweetParis was an amazing experience, and a bit of a surprise. We had been told we’d be going ‘somewhere’ in Europe before going on to Greece, but we didn’t know where. It turned out to be Paris. After Rome, Paris was my second choice.  It was great because did this first so I wasn’t exhausted from traveling yet, as I now am, and it’s just a beautiful city. Since I am with a tour group, we had, as is common with these groups, to see everything at a dead run. However, unlike our travels in Greece we got a little more free time  to walk around on our own.

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