Archive for December, 2015

New Experiences

December 7, 2015

One of the interesting parts about being married to Eddie is the difference places, people and things he has shown me.  Two weeks ago we finally went to the Armenian church in Redmond.  We had planned to go at the end of July but the Wednesday before was my car accident.  So not only did we have to miss church, we also missed a Seafair reception we had been invited.  For some reason we weren’t supposed to go to those events that weekend.  Wonder if I will ever find out the why?

They built the church in Redmond because that area has the most Armenians, maybe one day there will be enough in this area for a church.  It was a crisp, frosty morning but the sun was up clear.  We left about 9 – the service started at 10:30 but we weren’t sure how long it would take and how hard the directions.  We took 405 and on a Sunday morning it was practically empty – not something that happens often.  As we came to 124th exit, we realized we had gone through the first toll area – $.75 worth.  There are no toll booths on the upper part of 405, they send you a bill in the mail.  That’s what happened when I went on the 520 bridge.

We found the church with no problem – we were almost the first to arrive.  We saw people walking toward the back of the building, not quite sure what to do.  People began arriving and finally around 10:15 Eddie decided to  get out and we would say hello to someone.  I could tell the church was new because it has very little landscaping – the building was probably more important.  It is a pretty church – why didn’t I take pictures at the time?  It is a creamy color and an interesting shape.   (I found pictures on Google but they won’t down load!)

We went down towards the ramp and I knew the man coming up was the priest.  The Armenian priests in Jerusalem wear all black robes with a pointed hood – like the Klu Klux Klan without masks.  This one didn’t have the hood, so they may do things differently.  We met a family who also was new, she is Armenian and married an Englishman.  They were there with their daughter and granddaughter. Later we met a family from Syria – Christians are in such a difficult position in the Middle East.

It was fascinating to find this church is made up of  mostly Armenian from Nagorno Karabac – a small island of Armenians in side Azerbaijan.  They mostly speak Russian because it was part of the Soviet Union for a long time.  The Armenians have fought the Azerbaijanis for Nagorno Karabac for ages – they want it to be Armenia and the Azerbaijanis want to keep part of them.  To complicate matters, there is a small island of Azerbaijanis in the middle of Armenia.

The priest explained the red book has the service in phonetic Armenian and in English on the opposite page.  The blue books have phonetic Armenian on one side and opposite is in Russian.  There is eastern Armenian and western Armenian while service is in classical Armenian.  The sermon is in Russian and the deacon translates it into English.  Most of the people speak eastern Armenian because they grew up under the Russians.   Now, is that crystal clear?

We went into the church – it is a warm, creamy color with windows up above.  It was interesting to see how the sun moved from the beginning to the end of the service.  We sat behind the family and there was hardly anyone in the pews; later they were slowly filled.  Most of the service was standing, I sat when I got tired and that seemed to be fine.  I followed along, but it was a little confusing after a while.   They have a small choir – that Sunday there were only three –  one played a portable organ or piano.   There wasn’t a solo piece for the choir, they sang in response to what the priest read.  He had changed into a white long robe and a white cape with a miter on his head.  It looked similar to the onion domes on the Kremlin.

There are 2 levels to the altar – one level on the floor and another like a stage.  If they started the service on the floor level, you go to page 5; page 11 if they start on the upper part.  Along with the priest were 5 deacons, each with a particular job.  One had a staff with a round ornate metal circle that he would shake at certain times and  sounded a bit like cymbals – quiet ones.  Another deacon went around the church at certain times with incense. At one point they had people go up for communion – we didn’t because we weren’t sure of the drill.

I will admit to being tired by the time we left at 1.  It was definitely a new experience for me and I’m glad we went.  It is a bit far, so I am not sure Eddie is willing to  go again.  I took him a little on the back roads so we didn’t get stuck with a toll again.  It was good to come home, I wasn’t able to have a nap.

 

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