Lent Ramblings, and 'Un-Heathening' Jesse

Last weekend, Jesse and I played in LA, among Russian Orthodox churches. I would like to get married in one, but we do not attend one regularly. It was the bishop’s gentle suggestion that we come around on Sunday, to talk about engagements, details, and, you know, pray and do all things church like.

This one was on Micheltorena St, and it was lovely, in a quiet little neighborhood. 

I love the RO church in Chicago, on Lee St. The bishop painted it himself (the murals) and it is old and very neat.  There's also a beautiful, big church in San Fransisco that Jesse and I went to during one of our NorCal trips.  To find a similar, older place, we frolicked about Los Angeles. Orange County offers a few options, which we will have to take up on the weekdays – Jesse was baptized a Baptist, and apparently, the difference is great enough (things like the stance on Original Sin, etc) where an Orthodox church would not marry me and him.  Nickname of the week: heathen.  In its technical sense.    

I don't know what Scientology is all about, but they have an impressive 'church'. Reminiscent of Bellagio.
The Russian church on Fernwood St was just down the street, really beautiful.  Really large inside as well, and it's under construction, partially, so more is to come.

The neighborhood itself was a little rough

We passed a couple of Ukrainian churches as well, all within a few blocks.  The last, and the furthest up north was the one we were looking for, arriving just in time for the Russian service.  (English starts at 8 am.  Plus I like to keep Jesse in the dark about the happenings and surroundings.  Ha.)

If you click on the picture (in case you were interested in Russian church ongoings) on the back left, that is a confession happening. Your head gets covered with a tapestry thingy. I think it's part of the garment, actually. And you get asked yes or no questions about your various alleged sins. A few years back, I was really ashamed with the number of "yes"'s. This was also during the time I worked at the University cafeteria and took home far too many day-end muffins and bread.. Did I steal? Well, yeah.. Year after that I was working at Panera where they gave hungry employee students bread at the end of the day, so, whew.

Speaking of inapproriate behavior.  Right down across the street, by some nice apartments.  Shame on you, Tom. 

Jesse hadn’t frequented the church by himself, and since I would really like to be married in a church, he will read up all about the Orthodox religion, and be baptized. For this purpose, he will be seeing Father Martin in a near by church in Orange County. Right now he’s been reading up on it, and shamefully, he now knows more than I do. May be its kind of like I know more technical details about the English language, since I learned it second? On his part, he finds it fascinating, so, WIN.

(Can you spot a Tsar in this icon?)

It is an old religion (Catholicism split from it in 1300’s, I think. I wouldn’t quote me in a Wikipedia article or anything..) with old traditions, and where some religions have branched off and have made modifications to fit modern life better (is rock music really a sin? ), the RO stands its ground. The church is standing room only, the liturgy is in Slavonic (a dead language), with an English early morning option in Los Angeles, women must wear dresses or skirts, and cover their heads.

I was actually baptized twice. In the former Soviet Union, it was forbidden, but religion is such an integral part of people’s lives, that both my sets of grandparents had baptized me, and the other didn’t know. Once in Ukraine, a priest was invited and a secret ceremony was, in a basement. And the other in Kazan, Russia, in a small church. People could lose their jobs and get in trouble for that sort of thing, so it was a great secret.

It is Lent currently, and we are not to eat meat, dairy, or foods with oil. Shamefully, I have thus far failed in all those categories. Today, it was KFC for lunch. I will try again tomorrow morning, and also keeping in mind, that it is not only about food limitations, or particular foods, but limitation in general of that and other things. Skipping meat, but instead eating a truckload of rice is not really what fasting is about. The church can not marry you until Easter, because merriment of that sort is not appropriate during this time. It’s a good time to think about being kind, having a gentler temper, and other areas of life I can work on. That temper thing is rough. While I had bologna for lunch yesterday, I thought about and didn’t have cake after dinner. KFC chicken is a fail, for sure, but hopefully I can pick up the slack elsewhere. That Ebay bridesmaids dress I bought that isn’t *really* in “great” condition. Not at all, actually. But should I complain too much about a $10 dress?.. Stuff like that.

On a side note, after the service, the yard, there is a $9 buffet.  For $3 you can get a bucket of borsch, and for $6 more there are all types of awesome things, like whole fried fish, potatoes, etc.  Next time, I'm all over that place.

1 comment:

  1. Well. If you're into that sort of thing, apparently there's a Buddhist church in Laguna that offers an after service FREE vegetarian brunch.