(My apologies in advance for the sub-par photos)
A week ago today St. Barbara's was blessed with a visit from His Eminence Archbishop +DMITRI of Dallas and the South (we're spoiled being so close to our bishop). We had a full hierarchical liturgy, which was actually the way all services in the first days of Christianity used to be carried out. The camara was acting up, but imagine if you will the man in the last photo--a frail, bald man with a long, white beard, dressed in nothing more than a plain, black cassock which "is called 'the robe of salvation and the garment of joy,' symbolizing a pure and peaceful conscience, a spotless life, and the spiritual joy in the Lord which flows in him who wears it"--ending up like the first picture here, with each vestment placed on him serving as a reminder of all the different aspects of the office of bishop that the Holy Spirit conferred upon him for the building up of the Church and the right division of the Word of Truth.
In the earliest days of Christianity, when most every congrega- tion had their own bishop due to the small size of the Church at large, the bishop was vested in the midst of the rest of the ekklesia ("Church," or "assembly of people" in Greek), to show that he, a mere, sinful, fallible human being had been appointed by an apostle (who had, in turn, been appointed by Christ Himself) and given the grace of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands in order to continue the work the apostles started for the good of all Christ's Church. Here in this second photo we see Abp. +DMITRI, still in the midst of us, his hands being washed in accordance w/Psalm 25:6-7 (Ps. 26 in Protestant Bibles): "I will wash my hands in innocence; So I will go about Your altar, O LORD, That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works."
He then proceded to lead the congrega- tion in the rest of the Divine Liturgy as our father in Christ. I thought this was not only a good opportunity to get a photo of him serving at the altar with the rest of the clergy under him, but also to get a photo of our temporary iconostasis with the Pentecost green hung around it. Unfortunately, it seems that my digital camera and the new building don't get along too well together just yet. Hopefully this will improve.
This last photo is with me, Vladyka (a word that means "Master" in Slavonic, I think), and Hope after the service. Hope was fussy and clung to me like a velcro midget (she loved being held by him last December, but whaddyagonnado). He speaks fluent Spanish and was telling me about Orthodox liturgical materials that he had had translated for the Mexican Exarchate; he said he was going to see about getting me the materials I didn't already have. May God grant an increase in this area of outreach; efforts so far have been, by and large, quite frustrating, for reasons beyond me...
May God grant His Eminence many years!