Today we celebrated the Feast of the Ascension at Little Ascension (the church’s feast day) and, unbeknownst to us, Bishop Ignaty, one of the vicar bishops of the patriarch, served. After liturgy there was a cross procession around the church:
I think it’s quite interesting, and something that I generally welcome, that several times deviations from “the norm” here in Russia have particularly been at hierarchal services; for instance, the bishop came out with the chalice before communion and had everyone repeat together the pre-communion prayer which is usually only read by the priest. I’m not saying, however, that the priests read it poorly (most I’ve heard read it with feeling) but reading it together makes me feel that those present are really united and part of a community.
And later that day we went for a walk by the canal near our house: