Friday, June 09, 2006

The Story of an Ordination - Part II

So then the time came. I was led to the middle of the royal doors and the bowl and pitcher were taken away from me. Metr. Iakovos asked if I had anything to say. I had decided that I would not read anything, so I tried to remember what I had thought about. I realized as soon as I finished speaking and Metr. Iakovos started that I had forgotten a few things, but, God willing, I'll have one more chance.

My memory of the next few minutes is somewhat fuzzy, as things all of a sudden went from a crawl to what seemed to be a frantic pace. Fr. George, Fr. Dean, Fr. Alexios and Dn. Vasilios then took turns leading me around the table, to kiss the corners of the altar table, the bishop's hand and his epigonation. The prayer followed and I cannot quite describe the mix of feelings that went through my heart and head. I felt happy, I felt unworthy, and I felt at home. Before I knew it, I was up, my vestments were cast upon me, I had the Liturgikon in my hand and...

Well, here there was a glitch. The Greek/English Liturgikon I have does not have the full set of petitions that come right after the ordination; rather it has the abbreviated set that is usually done on a Sunday in the Greek Archdiocese. So I had put together a sheet of papers with the petitions in both Greek and English (using Dn. Athanasios' cards and the Antiochian Liturgikon), and left the sheet of paper in the vicinity of said Antiochian Liturgikon. Unfortunately, I found myself holding the Antiochian Liturgikon without the sheet, which meant that I had no Greek text to go by. Thankfully, Fr. Alexios was ever alert and ran 'backstage' to hand me the paper with the petitions.

Two points to note at this moment. Metr. Iakovos prefers his deacons to enter and exit the altar through the royal gates at this point in the liturgy, so that was an unexpected element. However, this, and the rest of the liturgy - including the final preparations for the Eucharist - were made much simpler and less stressful by the clear directions of Dn. Vasilios. Needless to say, I was grateful.

I read a fair amount of Greek at first sight and I think I did alright. Then it was time for Communion. Metr. Iakovos allowed me to give communion. The first person to come was Magda. I said "The servant of God, Magdalene...", Dn. Vasilios, who was holding the cloth, completed my words: "diakonissa," and I finished "...receives the Body and Blood of Christ unto remission of sins and life everlasting." I found myself smiling almost despite myself. Needless to say, that is not something I will soon forget.

The Liturgy was soon over and Fr. Alexios greeted me with a smile: "Welcome to the ministry." All I could do was smile and give him a hug. Hristos, one of the chanters, came into the altar with one of the biggest smiles that I have ever seen, said "Axios" and hugged me before I could even say anything.

As people received the antidoron, Metr. Iakovos sent Magda and me to the middle of the church so people could greet us as they went out. We knew most of them and it was a great blessing to see them again and to have them share in our joy. Catherine was glowing, Mary was almost in tears and all I could do was thank God for these people with whom I had shared five and a half years.

And there it is, the story of my ordination to the diaconate. May our great God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, allow me to serve Him worthily and may He keep and bless the many people who have helped me get here.


Blogger Elizabeth said...

Glory to God !
Axios !
Many Years !

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Jim N. said...

Axios indeed! Many years to you, Dcn. Virgil, and to the lovely diakonissa Magdalene!

9:12 AM  
Anonymous adrian said...

Felicitari, Virgil!

12:24 PM  
Blogger jholder said...

Axios! What a beautiful ordination... I was tearing up a bit!

6:18 PM  

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