For those who haven’t been following this blog, let me introduce it a little. I am currently blogging my 21st novel that has the working title Daemon. The novel is about Aksinya, a sorceress, who, to save her family from the Bolsheviks, called and contracted the demon, Asmodeus. Her family was murdered anyway, and she fled with the demon from Russia to Austria.
Father Dobrushin and Aksinya have decided to marry so that they can be rid of the demon. Father Makar agreed. This is the beginning of chapter 21 and the marriage ceremony...
Inside the Ecclesia, Matushka Ekaterina lit the gas lamps and then the candles. In the sacristy, the Archpriest, Father Makar donned his robes. He put on each piece with a prayer. Over his white robe, the sticharion, he put his head through the epitrachelion, his stole, and carefully straightened it. He placed laced cuffs, the epimanikia, over the sleeves of his sticharion and loosely tied them. They represented manacles, the chains that bound him into the service of God. He tied a cloth belt, the zone over the epitrachelion and sticharion. On his right side he suspended his nabedrennik with a strap that he drew over his left shoulder. A further diamond-shaped epigonation partially covered the nabedrennik and was also held in place by another strap over his left shoulder. He intentionally left off the omophorion, but still mouthed its prayer and kissed it. He bowed his head and placed over his neck the chain of his pectoral cross which was quite fine and his engolpion, a medallion with the icon of Christ in its center. Over everything, he donned a beautiful silver phelonion that was covered with gold stitching and decorations. It was large, conical, and sleeveless, with an open front so his hands were free. At the collar, he buttoned the high varkas that matched his phelonion and at the back rose as high as the top of his head. Father Makar completed everything with a crossless mitre on his head and a final prayer.
Properly accoutered for his role to administer a sacrament, he lit the incense and prepared the altar. All the while, Aksinya and Dobrushin waited in the Narthex.
You already know the place. I don't give another description of the Ecclesia, instead, all I need to do is tell you it is the Ecclesia. It is dark--I don't describe this either. I show you Ekaterina lighting the candles and lamps. Then, the rest is about Father Makar preparing for the sacrament.
This is an important metaphor and point. The first, is that Father Makar is going to all this trouble for his friend. There may be bad feelings and tension, but Makar still wishes to honor his God and his friend. The second is all the importance around each piece of the accouterments worn by an Orthodox priest. I don't tell you all their meanings. I simply tell you the pieces, their order, and that prayer accompanies each as it goes on. The importance in this description is that you see how important this is to Makar and incidentally to Ekaterina, Aksinya, and Dobrushin. This is the element of their belief and their faith. It is the power of the elements--their symbols and not themselves.
The final sentence simply puts it all together: Properly accoutered for his role to administer a sacrament, he lit the incense and prepared the altar. All the while, Aksinya and Dobrushin waited in the Narthex. Tomorrow, we begin.