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Palm Sunday Vespers

5 April 2015

Palm Sunday Vespers last night at St Nicholas of Japan Orthodox Church in Brixton, Johannesburg, was also the parish’s farewell to Fr Athanasius Akunda, who is leaving after being the parish priest for 7 years. He will be leaving after Pascha to teach at the seminary in Nairobi. There will be another diocesan farewell gathering for him on 18 April 2015 (Easter Saturday) at the Monastery of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, where people from the other parishes and communities that he has served will be able to say goodbye to him.

Orthodox Church of St Nicholas of Japan, Brixton, Johannesburg, Palm Sunday 2015. The ikons on the ikonostasis were painted by a parishioner, Cathy MacDonald. One of the features of the church is the pressed-steel ceiling (Photo by Jethro Hayes)

Orthodox Church of St Nicholas of Japan, Brixton, Johannesburg, Palm Sunday 2015. The ikons on the ikonostasis were painted by a parishioner, Cathy MacDonald. One of the features of the church is the pressed-steel ceiling (Photo by Jethro Hayes)

We had a couple of visiting priests: Fr Gerasimos from St John the Baptist Church, Primrose, Germiston, and Fr George (Coconos) from the Cathedral of SS Constantine & Helen, Joubert Park.

Fr Athanasius, Fr Gerasimos, Fr George (Photo by Jethro Hayes)

Fr Athanasius, Fr Gerasimos, Fr George (Photo by Jethro Hayes)

At the end of the Vespers service was the Litiya (Artoklasia) and the blessing of palm crosses (and a few palm donkeys).

Litiya and blessin of palm crosses (Photo by Jethro Hayes)

Litiya and blessin of palm crosses (Photo by Jethro Hayes)

Usually at Vespers there are only one or two altar boys, but this time a lot of them turned out

Altar boys, a study of postures (Photo by Jethro Hayes)

Altar boys, a study of postures. In the backgrounds is an ikon painted for the millennium of the baptism of Rus in 1988 (Photo by Jethro Hayes)

After the service Fr Athanasius spoke of his time in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg and Pretoria over the last 13 years, and several people presented gifts to him.

Azar Jammine, a former chairman of the parish council, presents a gift to Fr Athanasius, while Fr George Coconos and Stephen Reynders look on (Photo by Jethro Hayes)

Azar Jammine, a former chairman of the parish council, presents a gift to Fr Athanasius, while Fr George Coconos and Stephen Reynders look on (Photo by Jethro Hayes)

And here are pictures of some of the parish people.

We were very pleased to see Costa Neocleous, a former parishioner who moved to the USA to be closer to his daughter and her family. He was back on a visit when he had a heart attack, so we were pleased to see him back after a stay in hosptial (Photo by Jethro Hayes)

We were very pleased to see Costa Neocleous, a former parishioner who moved to the USA to be closer to his daughter and her family. He was back on a visit when he had a heart attack, so we were pleased to see him back after a stay in hosptial (Photo by Jethro Hayes)

And one of the younger members of the parish is Angela Krunic

Angela Krunic, age 11 (Photo by Jethro Hayes)

Angela Krunic, age 11 (Photo by Jethro Hayes)

And after Vespers we had a feast in the hall. Since Palm Sunday fits in the gap between the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week, we had fish.

Nicky Reynders, Fr Athanasius, Basil, Stephen Reynders. Young Basil goes everywhere singing Alleluia, so perhaps he will grow up to be a successor of Fr Athanasius, though, to judge by his interest in my camera, he might end up as a photographer instead (Photo by Steve Hayes)

Nicky Reynders, Fr Athanasius, Basil, Stephen Reynders. Young Basil goes everywhere singing Alleluia, so perhaps he will grow up to be a successor of Fr Athanasius, though, to judge by his interest in my camera, he might end up as a photographer instead (Photo by Steve Hayes)

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