Karen Speake (left) and
my mom came to visit, prepared with head scarves to explore the famous
Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Monastery (behind).
||Another favorite part of Kyiv
for them was, unsurprisingly, the marketplace. St. Alexi descent, containing
a panoramic array of handmade crafts, artists' creations, and typical Ukrainian
embroidery and carving, all at Ukrainian prices was like a dream come true.
||For their last night in Kyiv, Mom and Karen
cooked up a feast for my friends and me as a "fake birthday party,"
it being a week to early. This is the cooking squad here.
||Karen stirs the numerous pots of spaghetti
and noodles, getting used to the peculiarities of Ukrainian kitchens and
||Most of the attendees of my "fake
birthday" party gathered in the rented apartment in which Mom and Karen
stayed. All of them attend Nivky Church.
||A shot of the eating festivities - Sergey
(in white) eating and Victor (in maroon) laughing, while Anya and Lena (couch
on left) chat away.
||No, this isn't a picture from last semester
that I am trying to sneak by. Our ensemble performed its third concert to
celebrate Easter at Nivky Church. We followed a dramatic Easter presentation
adapted from a famous Ukrainian playwright.
||Another view of our sining group, named
"A Joyful Noise." We attempted to dress in the colors of the rainbow
(ROY G. BIV), with Vanya being the culmination of all combined light in
his white shirt - the color scheme was not my idea.
||The modern technique Oleg employed so well
to get the gas stove working in Mom and Karen's rented apartment. Do not
try this at home.
||The first of the Easter pictures - if you
want to see them together with my article on experiencing Orthodox Easter
traditions click here - This shows the faithful with their baskets full
of special Paskha bread and "pysanky" (painted eggs), waiting
to be blessed by the priest.
||The priest, who Chris noted was "aiming
for the face," blesses a group of Orthodox believers with their baskets.
The ritual had an air of humor and reverence at the same time, as people
were soaked in the holy water. (I caught a good splashing standing behind
some baskets, and felt holy for the rest of the weekend)
||The back of St. Micheal's Church, our next
stop on the Easter tour after the Volodomirsky basket blessing.
||Here are two more night shots of St. Michael's...
||Here, around 10 pm, we observed more basket
blessing and countless Orthodox standing in the church, preparing for the
all night celebration and ritual.
||The final stop on the tour was at the Lavra
monastery. This photo looks down from the balcony at the mass of believers
crowding into the church. Look carefully at the floor and you can see the
||Near midnight, the group of white-robed
monks came out and began chanting and singing readings, echoed by a men's
choir and the congregation at different times, and always punctuated with
||At midnight, the monks led thousands of
people in a processional around the cathedral. The numerous bells of the
monastery's huge tower thundered booming tones and sprinkled racing melodies
over the monastery. In the gaps between bells, the masculinely harmonious
songs and chants of the monks arose.
||The Orthodox service continues the entire
night, believers standing (with baskets of course) throughout the entire
night. These trips around the church occur at night, three times, and a
service commences at sunrise honoring the risen Christ. After this service,
the Orthodox are allowed to break their fast and eat the goodies in the