New Gracanica

The week long fast is over!  I was starting wonder if I was going to make it on Saturday night.  I was getting ready to have a drink or two at the house when the wife informed me that at midnight I couldn’t drink anymore, or eat anything.  

“WHAT??” was my response.  

 “It will be Sunday then, and you can’t eat or drink anything until we go to church and take communion”.  

I was ready to throw in the towel at that point, ready to grab a bottle and get boozed up just because.  But I didn’t.  I whined for a while and stomped around the house, yelled at the cats, then I sort of got over it.  But I wasn’t done just yet.  Still acting like a spazz, I asked why this was the case, that at the end of the fast it has to be amped up and made worse.  

“Because you will want the first thing you eat on Sunday to be the Lord”. 

Meaning the bread and wine.   How could I argue with that reasoning??  I had nothing, I was drawing a blank…..so I went to bed, hoping that it would be over sooner.  Kind of like a kid on Christmas Eve ya know?  So Sunday morning I slept in.  There was to be coffee drinking going on, so what reason did I have for getting up?  None.  We hit the road with little fan-fare for the hour-long ride to the church, (there are only three Serbian Orthodox churches in the area and this is the closest one).  Once we pulled into the church lot I commented on the lack of cars there.  After all, we were getting there at 10:45 and service started at 10.  Showing up late is common practice from what I can tell.  We have never gone to an entire service, especially on the major holidays of Easter and Christmas.  The service is wicked long and the church is packed, shoulder to shoulder.  All standing, there are no pews, and the limited seating that there is, is reserved for the elderly.

The wife told me that the lot was, in fact, almost full.  And that was proof that there was a lot of people at the service. 

I furrowed my brow and said, “people are usually parked on the grass because there is no room, because there are so many people here”.   To which she said “that’s on the big holidays, this is just a normal Sunday, so this is a lot”.  Still not convinced I pressed for further information, and my insistance that there were hardly any people there, and why did we have to fast all week, and not have any breakfast, or coffee, and why did we do all that if no one is at church and no one really cares?

 “Serbs like the idea of church, we don’t really like to go”.

My education continues.


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