On the morning of L’s 61st birthday we headed to the church to watch the priest sanctify or bless L and his family. They bought new robes for the priest as a donation to the church and I’m not sure if the priest offered to bless them with holy water in return or if they paid for the service. In the Orthodox Christian church, members pay for baptisms, sanctifying, the blessing of a home, and any other religious ordinance. It was interesting to watch. The group huddles under the Priests top robe while he chants verses from a book (I don’t think it was the Bible). Then he dunks dried basil in the holy water and waves it in their direction. He then blessed the clothing in the same manner. Then there is a part of this ceremony that requires all in attendance to pick up a table or some other object holding an offering and a candle and move it up and down in unison.

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