Saturday March 16th, 2019
Walking to St Nicholas Church in San Anselmo for Sunday of Orthodoxy vigil, things were the same but different. It would be the same vigil, sung by the same choir in the same way, in the same building, in the same time of year. And yet the same choir would be singing ‘Eis Polla, Eti Despota” for our Primate, our Archbishop, and Diocesan Chancellor and Auxiliary Bishop. And yet yesterday’s drizzle and gloomy skies gave way to the first warm Spring evening of the year. And yet in the middle of this ‘same’ building would be standing not one, not two, but three hierarchs. Much the same, but much different.
Waiting for the bishops to arrive, the same parishioners had a slightly different energy – more flitting about, more excitement than usual. And yet, after the excitement of His Beatitude’s entrance with the blast of the bells, the dual deacons dishing out incense, the veneration of the venerable images, and the Metropolitan claiming his kathedra, this excitable energy distilled itself into a broader, more heightened normal.
It was normal to have His Beatitude in our midst, emanating a spirit of a true shepherd, literally watching over his flock. It was normal to overhear our own Archbishop BENJAMIN whispering, after some too-excited children scurried past, “Just like cats!” It was normal to have Bishop DANIEL here as well, bringing extra grace and extra warm weather with him from Arizona.
The same, but different. As the last of the day’s light reflected off the gold paint of the same icons, something did seem different. As if creation also knew that this day is the Sunday of Orthodoxy, its Triumph over those who would have these Prototype-reflecting images destroyed. And it was indeed appropriate to have our own types of Christ, our good shepherds, representing that same Prototype. As the physical glow of the light faded, a glow remained on the faces of the faithful. And in our hearts.
-Parish Councilmember Maria Zaharoff