Holy Week at Holy Cross/Hellenic College

I hope everyone will enjoy these pictures I’m posting from Holy Week. I
wasn’t able to add much to the services, so this is my offering for the
week. I’m sure I must have annoyed everyone moving around the chapel and taking flash shots in people’s faces, but I tried hard to take picture that would be memorable, pictures that said something about what was going on. It’s not easy to get a good shot. Photography is becoming a throw away art. Everyone with a cheap phone has a camera and any picture can be touched up in Photoshop. Pictures are often uploaded to Facebook to be glanced at and forgotten. But to make something beautiful takes care and patience. It says a lot about you, the way you see other people.

Photography isn’t my favorite hobby, videography is. (please watch some of my videos from
Taiwan) I filmed a lot of religious ritual in Taiwan, and tried to
apply the same principals toward showing our own rites. I learned this
week that even though a photograph shows less, in freezing a particular
moment you can capture and display a certain action that a video of the
same even would pass over. I’m far from a professional, but I hope
everyone will see something beautiful here.

Note: If you have a little time, just look at the best pictures (122 pics). All the pics are in the full album for Holy Week
(321 pics). These are print-quality. Everyone has my permission to use
any photos that you or your friends or family are in. If you want,
print them, or upload them to your Facebook. I’d only ask no one puts
them on Flicr or other photo sites, I’ll be doing that myself for all
the best ones I took. If you want to print a picture, go to that picture
in the album, click on the picture. It will open in a new window, full
sized. Right click to save it. These are very big, 1-2mb. Most of the
close-ups of people are here.



4/11-12 – Saturday Vespers, Palm Sunday Liturgy and Bridegroom Service




Click to see the best pics from Saturday and Palm Sunday



4/13 – Holy Monday – Presanctified Liturgy and Bridegroom Service



Click to see the best pics from Holy Monday



4/14 – Holy Tuesday – Presanctified Liturgy and Bridegroom Service




Click to see the best pics from Holy Tuesday



4/15 – Holy Wednesday – Presanctified Liturgy, Afternoon and Evening Divine Unction Services





Click to see the best pics from Holy Wednesday



4/16 – Holy Thursday – Vesperal Liturgy and the Twelve Gospels




Click to see the best pics from Holy Thursday



4/17 – Great Friday – Royal Hours, Vesperal Liturgy, and Service of the Epitaphios




Click to see the best pics from Great Friday



4/18 – Holy Saturday – Vesperal Liturgy




Click to see the best pics from Holy Saturday



Great and Holy Pascha





Click to see the best pics from Pascha



4/19 – Sunday – Agape Vespers





Click to see the best pics from Agape Vespers

Jiang Chang, WuLai Hiking

I met this little fellow on my last hike. I saw more life than I ever have before. Usually I’m lucky to see a butterfly or two besides the mosquitoes that follow me. This time I saw two turtles, three tiny frogs and one big petrified frog. It was just sitting on a rock like nothing with it’s head up, but stone dry. I was hiking in Jiang Chang again. Click here for the Google Earth .kmz file showing where I got to that day.
The trail begins behind the village and goes along the spine of the mountain making a smooth, though steep, climb. The trail goes on to a 1119 meter peak, but I stopped after the first 500+ m peak, about a third of the way there. That was the only good place to get off the trail without turning completely around. I took a side trail that wound around the mountain fairly level. The trail was very narrow and sometimes fell away almost entirely making it hard to travel. In other places it followed a wide path and I could make good time.
The end, however, was treacherous. There was a steep, slippery decent. The soil in this region of Taiwan is all clay, and being sub-tropical the forests are always wet, even when it hasn’t been raining. The first time I came through here I had a nasty tumble. I put my foot in the wrong place and went head over heals downhill. One cool thing is that in some straight stretches I could squat down on one leg and hold the other foot out to steer and then slide down like a toboggan. Once I reached the end the trail let out onto a broad, flat trail. This was a popular walking trail, so the hard part was over. I was congratulating myself on making it all the way without any problems, when I turned to the river to go wash to filth off I put my foot right off the trail and fell straight down. If it hadn’t been for a nearby water pipe I might not have caught myself. I couldn’t believe that after coming all that way I’d almost got hurt in the safest place.
It planned to go hiking again this weekend since yesterday was so nice, but it started raining at about 9pm and has ever since.

Pascha’s End

Christ is Risen!
Pascha has come and gone again. The bright sadness of Lent has ended and Orthodox Christians across the world are living in the newness of Christ’s Resurrection. I was able to go to all of the Holy Week services except Holy Tuesday. On Thursday there was a rather long service for the reading of the 12 Gospels but we still had a good crowd, and on Holy Friday when Christ is taken down from the cross and is buried we had a good crowd. This year Father Jonah made a tomb from flowers and placed it on a bier to be carried in procession.
Everyone placed flowers to decorate Christ’s tomb. This is my godson Isaiah laying his flowers on.
Later the Lamentations were sung for the death of Christ. This is an MP3 clip from Holy Friday Lamentations Stasis 3 called O, Nobel Joseph, which speaks of how Joseph gave his tomb for Christ to be laid in.

Our Pascha services take longer than some because many of the hymns are read in English and Chinese and chanted in Slavonic. I hope one day soon we will have enough talented Chinese people that we can sing all the hymns in Chinese. At the Pasca service we only had a few Chinese compared with foreigners. Three or four Chinese Orthodox who live in Taipei came, and some people came with their friends. The as the evening went on the church became so crowded many people had to stand in the back. There are always some people I only see at Pasca and Christmas. Some live far away and can only come rarely, others come only for the sake of tradition. But whoever comes the only important thing is that Christ is risen and we live in the joy that by His incarnation, death, and resurrection we who have been baptized into Christ can live with Him and all other in unity.
After the service we feast in celebration of Christ’s victory over death. This is a real treat for those of us who have been fasting for any amount of time during lent. In the tradition of the Orthodox Church we fast from all animal products for 40 days. This is always hard for me because I’m not a very good cook so I’m limited in what I can eat, that and I love eating meat. I always lose a bit of weight during Lent. At the feast there was a mix of Greek, Slavic, and Chinese foods with a little of everything else.

And so, I will end with the end of St. John Chrysostom’s Pascal Homily

O Death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and thou art overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.
For Christ, being risen from the dead,
Is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be glory and dominion
Unto ages of ages.


Full Text of the Homily