TAKOMA PARK, MD – In a move that will have Orthodox traditionalists everywhere in paroxysms of joy, the nefarious plan of Mrs. Jennifer (the great and holy myrrh-bearer St. Mary Magdalene, Equal-to-the-Apostles) Bunscombe to re-landscape the far northeast flowerbed at All Saints of Middle Class America Orthodox Church, Takhoma Park, Maryland, was thwarted by a decisive vote at that parish’s monthly council meeting this past week.
In an impassioned speech before the council, Mrs. Bunscombe decried the many weeds that had grown up in the garden, choking out the beautiful flowers originally planted there in 1952 by the now-deceased Mrs. Mary (St. Mary of Egypt) Lesovo.
“It looks like hell,” Mrs. Bunscombe said flatly.
“What it looks like is not the issue,” replied Mrs. Ana (Anastasiya, the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ) Crenshaw (née Lesovo). “Mama planted that flowerbed and we’re not changing it.” Mrs. Crenshaw gave Mrs. Bunscombe a sidelong glance, saying, “You’re not one of those Innovationists, are you?”
The Innovationists are a small and fairly timid group of American Orthodox who are committed to bringing tiny changes in areas that don’t matter to the Orthodox Church. Planting new flowers, buying new lampadae to replace broken ones, tentatively suggesting deep-cleaning the carpets in the hallways outside the trapeza: such are the insidious plots the Innovationists are constantly trying to hatch. Usually to no avail, as is befitting.
“Today it’s flowerbeds and carpet cleaning—next thing you know they’ll be wanting to reseal the parking lot or—or—change the church readerboard to accurately reflect the parish’s current schedule of services!”
There was a slight gasp from the councilmembers.
“Is outrage!” said Father Vasiliy Vasileivich, COROC spokesman and parish priest at Saints Vladimir and Olga and Boris and Gleb Russian Orthodox Church of Sydney, Australia, who was in town with Matushka Svetlana to visit their son Father Gleb and his wife Matushka Mary on the occasion of the birth of their son Vasiliy Glebovich, and who saw as they were driving by that the door to Father John’s office was open and popped his head in to say hello. “What are we talking about, by this way?”
“Weeding flowerbeds,” replied Father John.
“Is beautiful to weed the flowerbed,” opined Father Vasiliy. “Since angel with flaming sword no longer bars entry to Garden of Paradise, Eden is made beautiful again and all weeds are removed. In symbolic gesture we too remove the weed from our flowerbed to show that ultimately, evil shall be overcome and beauty of creation as God intended will be restored.”
A fly, buzzing loudly, batted its head against the office window repeatedly.
Finally, “My mother planted that flowerbed in 1952,” said Mrs. Crenshaw softly.
“What is this weeding of the flowerbed? Is evil American innovation!” said Father Vasiliy vigorously. “Was it weeding of the flowerbed in nineteenth century Russia? No, it was not. I am must going to birthing center now. Matushka, who stayed in air-conditioned car, sends love. Goodbye.” With that Father Vasiliy walked to his car, got in, and drove away.
The fly finally gave up on the window and tried for the door, and thus successfully made its escape from the meeting. Mrs. Bunscombe watched wistfully as it went. (Is that some boffo alliteration or what? Ooops fourth wall. Sorry.)
“Okay, okay, forget I said anything,” she said at last. “You win. Motion withdrawn.”
“Okay, next on the agenda,” said Father John, “a motion by Ana Crenshaw to stop buying Folgers and start buying Monastery Blend whole-bean coffee for the coffee hour. The floor is open for discussion.”
Unfortunately at that point Mrs. Bunscombe, who had been fighting nasal congestion due to allergies, involuntarily cleared her throat. Half a dozen dirty glances were turned her way. “What?” she asked. “I didn’t say anything.”
Copyright © 2011 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.
If you like Alex Riggle’s Orthodox-themed satire, you might enjoy his recently-released book, Is Outrage!, which gathers all (but one) of the Father Vasiliy articles from the Onion Dome under one cover. Tens of happy customers and counting!