Saturday, April 21, 2007

Vespers at the Russian Cathedral

On Saturday evening, I went to The Russian Cathedral for Vespers - a profound experience. The choir sings beautifully and continually, the priests sing in strong voices - the sound of the basses! The incense rises, and most of the litrugy takes place behind the icon screen. The worshippers do not sit - they stand, light candles in front of the many icons, pray, go to confession and, when instructed by some v. insistent old women, line up in rows for various liturgical moments. On occasion, all the lights in the room are turned on and a priest comes out from behind the Iconostasis with an incense pot and we all get smoke swung at us or an important piece of the Gospel is read. Afterwards, the light go out, we're back in the candlelit room. The worshippers are intensely involved in the liturgy - it's dark, mysterious, glorious and deeply moving.

The Cathedral was built with a gift from the Czar and serves as the church, social centre, gathering place for the Russian community. There are lots of fun Russian restaurants around the church for blinis, caviar and vodka.


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