The enemy of art is the absence of limitations. --Orson Welles

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bad Dog!

Funny site, and not a kitteh in sight!

Dog Shaming

The look on this dog's face says, "Don't mess with me, or the cane gets it next time."

Sunday, September 21, 2014

"Leavetaking" of the Exaltation of the Precious Cross

One beautiful attribute of the Church's feast days are the 'forefeast,' the 'afterfeast,' and the 'leavetaking.'

Only the non-moveable feasts of the Church have a forefeast. The forefeasts helps to prepare the faithful for the feast itself. Special troparia and kontakia are assigned to the forefeasts, along the theme of the feastday.

Today, September 21, is the Leavetaking of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The feast was celebrated on September 14; the afterfeast (during which the theme of the feast day is continued) was seven days long.

 On the eve of the feast, Vespers was celebrated, and afterwards, the cross, beautifully decorated, was brought out of the Altar while the choir and faithful sing "Holy God" from the Funeral Service.

After the Priest places the decorated cross on the center 'tetrapod' (a fancy term for a four-legged table with icons on it), the choir and faithful sing "Before Thy Cross" three times. Each time, the Priest circles the tetrapod, and censes the Cross at four points: facing east first, then facing north, then facing west, then facing south, finishing (and starting again) facing east.

For the Leavetaking (yes, I got back to it!), the process is reversed (mostly), and the Cross is taken back into the Altar. It seems to me not many parishes do this, but I could be wrong.


At the end of Liturgy, the priest comes out from the altar with a censer, preceded by a deacon with a candle. Going to the center of the church, he censes three times around the Cross. He takes the tray with the Cross and places it on his head to carry it into the altar. The deacon goes before him, censing the Cross. After placing the Cross on the altar, the priest censes the four sides of the Holy Table. 

The Leavetaking also has the same Tropar and Kondak, the festal Prokiemenon, and the Hymn to the Theotokos.

Troparion — Tone 1

O Lord, save Your people, /
And bless You inheritance. /
Grant victories to the Orthodox Christians /
Over their adversaries. /
And by virtue of Your Cross, /
Preserve Your habitation.

See this post of an Orthodox Church in Mays Landing, NJ, for a list of feast days and the length of the afterfeast and leavetaking.

Of course, for Pascha, the Feast of Feasts, the afterfeast and leavetaking is different: afterfeast is for 39 days, and the 40th day is the feast of Ascension. See more about this at the OCA website.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Chick of theWeek

Click the chick

Icon Towel

I finally finished an icon towel (or "Rushniki") I began years ago. Bit by bit, I am going through unfinished projects and completing them. Unfinished projects are just so much clutter, junking up our home and my soul.

I used a length of Huck toweling, and cobbled together several different "swedish weaving" (also called "huck embroidery") patterns I researched. Embroidery is an art I have dabbled in throughout my life, from cross-stitch to Brazilian to bargello to hardanger to punch-needle.
Huck embroidery is the one technique I come back to again and again. I've done projects from monk's cloth blankets to icon towels to kitchen towels. I finished all those projects in good time (except for the one for ME, pictured above), and found it to be a fun and relaxing hobby.
Early on, I crocheted the edging right on the end of the cloth. I am thinking of doing that again, this winter, after the harvest is finished and canning season is over.

There is a wonderful article about icon towels at Orthodox Arts Journal. This post is one of a series on Liturgical Arts

Here is an excerpt:

...In America, women should learn to make their own versions of icon towels. It would be wise to adhere to the basic ‘look’ of Slavic rushnyki – mostly white with simple designs in mostly red. These colors are usually the best possible complement to traditional icons and woodwork. The geometric simplicity of the designs is important so as not to visually compete with the icon. But beyond this, the patterns in rushnyki vary greatly over time and place. So women today should feel free to develop their own patterns that they find pleasing and meaningful. Churches should encourage this craft as a valued expression of the love of the Saints. If we are really to show the reverence to icons that we claim, we should see to it that our icons are well-painted, displayed properly in shrines, lit with fine lampadas, and honored with beautiful towels. ...
click the image
click the image

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I still remember

Still pertinent to the day, this post.

I still remember walking into work that day; the sky was as clear a blue as in the photo above. Glorious, gorgeous September sky and sun.
I still remember the disbelief as the newest reports came in.
I still remember telling my manager: "this means we're at war."
I still remember the sight of the plume of smoke and debris floating out to sea that day.
I still remember not being able to cry.
I still remember the utter quiet of the skies when commercial planes were not flying.
I still remember the seeing the sporadic glints of the fighter planes, flying high, high, high above.
I still remember gingerly opening my mail, using rubber gloves, outside on the front porch, because of the anthrax scare.
I still remember deciding never again to use a tunnel to travel to the city.
I still remember the smell of the stench of Ground Zero.
I still remember the stories of "I would have been there...except" from friends and loved ones.

I still remember.
Do you?

Some other posts to ponder. Here. Here. Here. Here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Oh, shaddup, Godwin...

So, to take Hill's advice, I say: don't vote for her.

Via Vanderleun's KACHING

Bee of the Week

This is a photo I took in a squash blossom in our garden not too long ago. It's not a pretty shot, but I think our welcomed bee is getting the job done.  (Dedicated to GrethenJoanna.)