An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
I'd never really had a good chance to see the cathedral before - I'd come to Vespers late the last time I was here and it was soon dark before I could really look around...so arriving early this time Sunday morning I spent some time looking around before Matins. The Church has a rather large compound here which includes the Church, various offices, the Metropolitan's residence, schools, and a small clinic/hospital. Behind the Church is small cemetery. Interior pics of the Cathedral were not easily done because it was dark enough to require a flash and I turned it off so as to not disturb the services. St. Nicholas, as the cathedral, if of course far more richly decorated than St. Sophia (where I attended before), but the basic structures of both are very nearly identical.
The service was a mix of mostly Lugandan and English...with a few bits of Greek tossed in for good measure. The homily was entirely in Lugandan...so I was lost...but I have SOME recollection of the story of the Publican and The Pharisee. The Church was primarily filled up with students from the schools - far more than half of those present I should think. Congregational singing? Oh you better believe it. Their voices were lovely and I wholly enjoyed it...though the bells were a bit too loud, they were rung very nicely...similar to what I've heard recorded from Russian Churches, though not quite as crisp. I wondered, do Greeks rung bells like this?
Now, you will recall that the last time I was here I had a good deal of trouble with people at church assuming I was a priest...and I THOUGHT I had narrowed it down to the fact that there Readers are called catechists and they wear blue cassocks. So...not wishing to go through the 4 billions priest denials again, I left the cassock at home and became just your everyday lay-muzunga. So, I see my old acquaintance Photios (he was at St. Tikhon's with SubDn. Elias) and I rush over to greet him...seeing him in a black cassock I asked for his blessing and he recoiled and reminded me (did I ever know?) that he is only a Reader. I laughed out loud and all I could think about was that "TIA" is applicable to Ugandan Orthodoxy...in many ways, some cute (like this) and some not so cute. So I brought a bunch of the laminated icons which I took to handing out to any and all who were interested. They absolutely loved them...and while most had to ask me to identify many of the saints, one gentleman was able to assist me in what was fast becoming a colossal effort. He could read Greek - far better than I could and so he nailed many very quickly. One very nice young lady would let me convince her that the writing on her St. Innocent icon was in fact English, but just an unusual font. She'd have none of it and so I had to translate from "iconowrite" English into real English. Rdr. Photios then had an idea for some of the icons (since they had so much info on the back): teaching aids for Sunday School. So I gave a collection to one of the teachers and once one kid saw them and asked about them the poor teacher was soon swarmed with anxious to see kids. Clearly they will be effective in class.
The Metropolitan is apparently up in Greece where'd gone for the Archbishop's funeral and then just decided to stay for awhile. After the service I was invited to have tea, which actually ended up being a full lunch because they were having a special meal after a memorial service for an elderly priests wife. There we discussed many things, including politics. I was asked if I was a democrat or a republican to which I gave my traditional reply: "I'm far too conservative to officially be either." Another Ugandan parishioner volunteered that he no longer voted in their elections because it obviously did not matter. I thought to tell him that I knew how he felt, but then was I really willing to try and explain the electoral college?