The Issue Of Prayer And Worship
Today, the New Calendar observers of Greek Orthodox Christianity memorialise the Beheading of the Venerable Head of the Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John
Since I had nothing else to do this morning, I personally observe Old Calendar, I went over to New York City's one chapel for Saint John The Baptist in downtown Manhattan, situated in a small one story building amidst all the Jewish commerce and the degenerate hub in the heart of New York City. The Divine Liturgy was beautifully read and chant by the cantors and readers and well officiated by Father Zois, the presiding priest, yet I could not help but feel sad at the miserable turnout--composed entirely of middle-aged to elderly women and a few elderly men. Where are the young men? And at the very least where are those under retirement age? Granted we are living in a very non-Orthodox Christian city and there are work and school obligations, by a populace and government that does not recognize our tiny minority. Still there must be more than a few observant Orthodox Christians we can count on to take off from work this past morning for this one of the most high memorials of the Orthodox Christian faith.
One woman was so impressed by my lone presence, I am well under retirement age, and loudly praised the presence of "a young lad" (in Greek) in church (!) She even asked for my number so that I could hang out with her son. Times are sad....
On my way to church in the morning, as an aside, I saw a caftan wearing becloaked orthodox Jew passing a line up of black and hispanic construction workers and ducking into his place of business. I bet this city recognizes ALL his holidays.
My Old Calendarist priest made a distinct point, a few weeks ago, that on Friday night vespers our Church gets a handful of worshippers (I'm one of them sometimes) yet the orthodox Jews --men,women,teenagers and children --pack, literally pack, their synagogues to the rafters for evening prayers in grand structures dotting the streets of this city.