Friday, August 10, 2012

OFFICIAL WIFE: Ortho Culture Meets Tina

These should be inspiration for some Alex posts:

Easter baskets (Can be gorgeous. For adults. A tradition I like. I have an infographic on Facebook somewhere…Here it is on the original blog. I feel compelled to mention that Alex forgot to take ours this year.)

Handling icons (yikes! You can do some serious no-no’s without thinking about it.)
What icons go where (I don't know; ask Alex.)
How Orthos interact with icons (I may have to leave the room for that explanation...)

Blessing the house (Spring Cleaning & Inspection, plus annual dousing of the priest, clad entirely in black, with Ozzy hair, which is white. Oz was a little bit better behaved with First Official Ortho Priest Person, but with our current priest... It is a sight. Oh, and the coffee and food. Priests must gain ten pounds every Spring. They do multiple houses in a day, and every household in the parish must be blessed annually.)
Praying for dead people (For my own peace, I just keep reminding myself that God is outside time.)
Blessed water (designated holy water clover plant, cure all potion kept in the back of the liquor cabinet)
Blessing food, blessed food (See: Easter Basket)

Kissing a cross/Bible/icon held by a priest in a church in front of everyone

Wait?  No comment on that one?

Sorry, I had to leave the room. I'm back now!

Camp (In-laws, nothing mystical, it's actually-really-literally a camp with swings and stinky children and counselors, etc. They just all happen to be Orthos, and many of them are of Russian descent.)

Prayer rope (like a rosary, but there are knots instead of beads)

Tonsuring (Free haircut! I think my non-Ortho status is helping Alex avoid this.)

Choir (Jus' a wee bit different than what you might be thinking. The area is designated by a carpet, which, of course, I like because everyone is on the same level with no barriers. There is no instrumental music. It seems to matter how well you sing. The people in choir read music to sing. Of course, there is an opera singer in his choir so it might not be representative.)

Approaching a priest (Because of my voodoo-hoodoo reactions to getting blessed by or bowing to a person, I shake their hand, but that's not proper etiquette.)

Drinking in the church hall (Yes, that would be alcka-muh-hall. A priest insisted that I do multiple shots of vodka with him. He then insisted that I eat a lot. I don't think he realized that I grew up in a dry county, and I'd just turned twenty-one.)

Mass exit then circling the church (in the middle of the service, at night, three times)

Approved personnel only zone (where the baptistry or storage closet or office would be in a Baptist church, behind the pulpit)

No one brings a Bible to church (They do reference and even quote scripture, though. And the churchgoers are not only literate, but Alex's church seems to have a higher than average density of highly educated people.)  

Baptizing babies, godparents, babies named after saints (AKA Wedding: The Sequel)

Cassocks (black wrap-around "dresses" for priests all the time, for other officials sometimes worn. Yes, I know what you're thinking, and I asked. Not because I am socially awkward. Not because of my strong appreciation for and constant striving toward honesty and openness. No. I did it for you! I didn't want you to be embarrassed by just blurting it out in a room full of people. I asked for you. You're welcome! What're friends for!

Oh, the answer? They can be worn as clothes or as a jacket.
--and what else did I say? "Man, that looks hot." Priest-men fashion is black and goes from neck to wrist to ankle. We live in Mississippi. Oh. NEVERMIND.)

Old Calendar/New Calendar (And you thought it couldn't BE more complicated. That's so cute!)

Sunday Breakfast (--or not. Not even OJ or coffee or water. [My original words here, along with edits noting new information and the time of that new information are no longer available. I would like to note that I originally was under the impression that water was ok. It's not. Here's Alex's edit: "Total abstinence from midnight until communion"].)
Coffee Hour (You can eat now!-- but only in accordance with the magical special color-coded calendar. How do these people operate without a pocket edition???)

Parish Council Meetings (instead of membership meetings... but Alex served on the council, and I can assure you, it sounds just as awful as the membership meetings with which you may be more familiar. Credit where credit is due: Arguments along the lines of, 'Should we purchase a baptistry versus continuing to utilize Brother Ottis's pond,' happened in several churches growing up. Orthos have pretty much gotten that one taken care of.)

Cradle Orthodox vs. Converts (formerly hotly contested topic, I likened it to a class system, but read THIS. Those priests, they do come in handy. It's great that you always have someone to turn to that actually knows his stuff.)

Church leaders with formal education on religion, the church, and people (nuff said)

Hot Tea (Ok. That may be more Russian/Damn Yankee. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish Orthodox and Russian influences.)

"God Grant You Many Years" (a song, a greeting, a chant-- This phrase just keeps popping up. Put it on a t-shirt and call it the official Ortho slogan. I guess they want you to live a really really really long time.)

--and, if this is your first time here, let me reiterate:  
The Special Magical Color-Coded Calendar (a guide to cooking for Orthos)


Alex's Little Cromwell


  1. Alex's contribution to this was to change "no music" to "no instrumental music," and I had misremember Mr. Panos as saying, "Greek God sent Greek Jesus to die for Greek people," which he corrected and found a link.

  2. misremembered! I do not like that you can't edit comments...