… at a conference in Oxford, which sounds much posher than it was! We met in a big rambling old house called St Gregory’s, with a little Orthodox church built into its garden. It’s a place where students from all different churches can stay while they study.
It was the first time I’d been to this particular conference, so I didn’t know what to expect. I walked in and Hub immediately introduced me to a young, lively guy who turned out to be one of my external examiners for my thesis. He immediately started saying very positive things about my work, for which he was promptly promoted up my list of Favourite People
I knew some of the people there from our time in Romania, and it was a real pleasure catching up with them. It was odd to be with the Orthodox again with their priests in their cassocks, which they always wear – it was a familiar sight in Romania. The paper which was presented, was a masterly survey of the subject, and there was a really good discussion afterwards. Not that the old priest at the other end of my row would have noticed … he slept peacefully, his chin buried in his long bushy beard, all the way through
Best of all was the prayer at the end of the day. We went into the little church which was full of icons and flowers and candles following the Orthodox Easter, celebrated this year (it varies) a week later than ours.
The smell of incense took me vividly back to our time in Romania. The Orthodox certainly know how to ‘do Easter’ and there was a sense of deep joy in the simple service.
So a nice day, despite driving through the rain in both directions … hope we have more time for such things when we retire!
(image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/64087311@N04/5891936925/ )