[Tuesday, 21 June] It’s very peculiar that I woke up at my usual time, 5:30 am, right before the alarm went off, and me being 5 time zones away from home. So God provides. I had time to say my prayer rule before Liturgy at 7. Liturgy is usually served on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, with morning recitation of the Jesus Prayer on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Major feasts, like the Nativity of John the Baptist later this week, cause some re-arrangement of this schedule.
Liturgy is celebrated in the language of the Priest. This morning, we had a Finnish Priest, but since no one else here speaks Finnish, he very reasonably and charitably served in Greek instead, so the sisters sang the responses in Greek, and did a very fine job of it, too.
I should say that the community here is a mixed one, of both monks and nuns, about 40 in number, with nuns slightly outnumbering the monks. Fr Bartholomew, the guest-master, a BBC (British-born Cypriot), tells me that the average age of the community is quite young, with most of the members being in their early 30’s.
After Liturgy, breakfast is taken informally, in the same, small refectory where afternoon tea is served. We had the typical monastic/continental breakfast of bread, butter, and jam, with tea, Greek coffee or instant coffee (guess what I drank). Now this is curious: at tea yesterday afternoon, we had proper cups and saucers for the tea; but at dinner last night, and again at breakfast this morning, coffee and tea were drunk not from cups or mugs, but rather from glass bowls—what I had taken to be my salad bowl last night. This curious custom also teaches an important lesson: when travelling to a new place with potentially strange customs, never be the first person to do anything, but rather, wait until somebody else does it first, or you’ll find yourself digging lettuce out of your drink bowl.
I was able to speak to Fr Zacharias this afternoon. That will be the subject of another post. Also, I have a blessing to share pictures, so once I’ve gathered a few, I’ll build a slideshow to post. Alas, the library is a 2-mile hike from the monastery, and it isn’t open every day. If time and weather permit the walk back to the library, I’ll post again on Thursday. If I scurry back now, I might make it to tea before evening prayer at 5:30-7:30.
Peace & blessings on all.