Merry Christmas!

Your friends at the Onion Dome wish you New Calendar types a glorious Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ!

You Old Calendar types: We apologize for the inconvenience. Regular service will resume in 13 days.

Copyright © 2016 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.


Letter from Choir Director Elizabeth

Byzantine Music Score11 September 2016 (N.S.)

Elizabeth (“the New Martyr”) Pappas, Choir Director
Orthodox Church of All the Saints of North America
Takhoma Park, Maryland

To the faithful of the choir:

Welcome back! After our light summer of only one choir practice of only 2 hours per week, we’re back to our usual winter schedule of practice after church on Sunday for 3 hours, and mid-week practice at 7:00 Wednesday, for 2. The unfortunate words that were spoken when a third practice was suggested have long been forgotten, and I suggest you do the same.
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Tenors Strike for Higher Note Count

Old Church Slavonic music notationTakhoma Park, MD – Tenors from the church choir at tiny All Saints of North America Orthodox Church here in Takhoma Park have walked off the job, citing the lack of variety in their parts in the church music. Your intrepid editor was on the story like yellow on that saffron rice Baba Olga makes.

“Three notes was bad enough,” said tenor Bob (“Tsarevich Alexiy, the Martyr or Passion-Bearer, Depending on Whom You Ask”) Bridges. “Then this new Cherubic Hymn brought it down to two. And we’re not talking ison here, oh no, the basses get notes all over the place. Here, look!”

Your intrepid editor saw a lot of lines and dots, and nodded sagely.
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Ask Father Vasiliy

Dear Father VasiliyOnce again Father Vasiliy Vasileivich, pastor of Saints Vladimir and Olga and Boris and Gleb Russian Orthodox Church in Sydney, Australia, and four-time winner in the Mr. Australia Lip Balm Makers World Cup, has condescended to answer a question from an Onion Dome reader. Welcome, Father Vasiliy!

Dear Father Vasiliy,

My girlfriend and I have been arguing about this and we need a man of the cloth to settle our argument once and for all. She says that it’s okay to use regular ChapStick before divine liturgy, but fruit-flavored ChapStick, having fruit flavor, is food, and therefore one cannot use it during the liturgical fast. I pointed out that it’s not real fruit, it’s artificial flavors, but she countered that you always say margarine isn’t real butter, but it’s not nice to try to fool your guardian angels. Which makes sense, I guess, but I want to get it from the source. Is it okay to use fruit-flavored ChapStick before liturgy?

Signed, Chapped in Chattanooga.

Dear Chapped,

Always with the margarine question. Can we fool angels with fake butter? But you are wise person and are knowing that if we fool angels, they will not be able to speak for us when we are judged for eating butter during Lent at Tollhouse 423. (If readers note this number is different from number I am using before, please understand that I am having received further information from non-disclosable source.)

So yes, this is possibly of parallel. Is not real fruit flavour (which would probably chap lip more, although I am not dermatologist), this is true. But what if it were real fruit? This would be against fast and subject to judgment at Tollhouse 717, “Accidentally Ingesting Real Fruit Flavoured Lip Balm Before Liturgy.” And if guardian angels do not realize is fake flavour? What then? How can they defend us? Is bad idea.

But this is all beside point. I am telling you point now. What are you doing kissing icons with goop on lips? Is outrage! Was it greasing of lips before kissing of icons in 19th Century Russia? No it was not! Greasy icon kissing is judged at early tollbooth, somewhere in high 40’s or low 50’s. Do not do it! Keep lips dry and chapped before liturgy so you may kiss icons without leaving smudgy lip-prints that eat into egg tempera paint, or smudge up glass, or get all over — well, who cares what happens to so-to-call-them icons made from photographs and Varathane? Smudge all you are wanting.

Only thing worse than lip balm is this so-to-call-it lipstick, made from whale blubber and dead beetles. Better to salute icon like Boy Scout than to get lipstick on it.

But I am digress. No, you may not wear ChapStick or other lip goop before Liturgy. Unless you are babushka, then you may do anything you are wanting. This I am sure is true, because my wife is having told me.

Copyright © 2016 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.

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Parishioner Brings Home Paschal Greeting in New Language

2013-0504.beer-festival-hobbitsPlum Creek, Michigan, USA — Marsha (St. Joanna the Myrrhbearer) Winthrop brought back the Paschal greeting in a new language, which she learned on a spring vacation in Idaho.

She told fellow worshipers that she attended Holy Week and Pascha services at All Saints of Middle Earth Church in Mystic Lake, Idaho, a town of about 4,000, whose residents live in four ethnic neighborhoods.

“The priest of All Saints, Father Fred (Frodo the Ringbearer) Higgins, was a nice little guy with a deep bass voice and really big feet,” she said of the church where she spent Holy Week during her vacation in a largely Mormon section of Idaho. “He told me that their grandparents were immigrants, but I wasn’t clear where they were from, somewhere in Europe I think, because he kept referring to their new home as the Western Havens. I got the impression they were escaping from a war or something. Maybe World War II.”

She said she found the Paschal banquet entertaining, with a lot of food and many varieties of beer. She especially liked the fireworks, she said, which reminded her of a display she saw at Disneyland.

Although she was unfamiliar with the ethnic groups in Mystic Lake, she said that their affectionate rivalry reminded her of her home parish, St. Anthony of the Desert here, which is a blend of Russian, Greek, Lebanese and Romanian, with some American converts mixed in. The different groups there were almost as distinctive as the ones in her home parish, with two tending to be short and more heavy-set and another tending to be thinner and more fair-skinned. One ethnic group seemed more like the people she saw in Boise, she said.

The townspeople work mostly in mining and forestry, and one couple are philology professors at the University of Idaho in Moscow.

At the banquet, she asked for the text of the Paschal greeting, which was this: “Si Cuielen na i hiro o coi!” and the response is “Ele, Si Cuielan!”

The priest of her home parish, Father Herman (of Alaska) Whiteside, expressed surprise at the new greeting. “I’ve never heard of Sindarin,” he said, “but it’s easier to pronounce than Tlingit.”

Thanks to Barbara Eng.

Copyright © 2004-2016 Jan Bear. All Rights Reserved.
This report was first filed by Onion Dome rambling reporter Jan Bear in April, 2004

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