Last Thursday I left the house at 4:15 AM to drive to the airport in New Orleans. My ultimate destination was Antiochian Village near Ligonier, PA
|view from my room Friday morning|
I was there to be part of a group meeting to create a resource for Orthodox priests to deal with miscarriage and stillbirth, including burial and memorial services. You can read more about that here.
|From bottom, moving clockwise: Mat. Elizabeth Lein, Bishop Mark, Archbishop Benjamin, Kh. Linda Ellison, Dr. Phillip Mamalakis (not pictured: Fr. Peter J. Gillquist, Fr. Ian Pac-Urar, myself)|
|Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul at Antiochian Village|
There was still some snow hanging around in protected areas. The children would have had fun playing in it.
When I walked out to get some fresh air during one of our breaks the two resident white ducks came up to say hello. I got some video of them but I won’t inflict you with it. The one on the right was very vocal.
Most of the conference attendees had left by the time Saturday evening rolled around but we were blessed that Fr. Peter J. Gillquist was still there along with his khouria and children. He celebrated Vespers for us.
Sunday morning Mat. Elizabeth and I were the only ones left. We walked up to the cemetery and nearby chapel and took photos. I was able to venerate St. Raphael’s grave (shown below). The third name down is that of Fr. Moses Abihider, the first Orthodox priest in our town. I wrote about that connection here.
And here is a reliquary containing relics of St. Raphael in the chapel next to the graves.
We also got to go see the Antiochian Heritage Museum briefly and I was excited to see the Women with Icons exhibit as well as many original illustrations by Niko Chocheli and his mother Leila Chocheli.
Getting home was more complicated than planned, as my flight via LaGuardia airport was cancelled due to high winds in New York. I was rebooked on a plane through Atlanta but I had an additional five hours to while away at the Pittsburgh airport, in addition to a 2 hour layover once I reached Atlanta. I was sustaining myself on caffeine by the time I drove the hour and a half home from New Orleans, arriving at 1:20 AM Monday. During all of that wait, I was very glad I had brought my knitting!! I managed to finish these preemie socks, now in the shop.
|(shown on a doll – I didn’t sneak a newborn home)|
After the cool weather in PA, the warmth here was shocking. Spring has definitely sprung. The azaleas are coming out…
…as are the snakes.
This little specimen was a very cute Texas Brown Snake. They only get up to about 12 inches long and are non-venomous. Once we identified it, we let all the children who wanted to hold it (excepting Miss Moppet).
I’ve been busy with Lost Innocents site updates (heartbreakingly beautiful babies…), laundry and swapping out the winter for the summer clothing, but I hope I am back up to speed on the blog now. I have Etsy work to do and I need to finish the sections of the miscarriage/stillbirth booklet that I am responsible for. And oh, of course, all of the usual Lenten services. Thank you for your prayers for my safe travel!