29 May 2024

Daily prayer in Ordinary Time 2024:
21, 29 May 2024

The Church of Aghia Triada behind the narrow streets of the village of Kalamitsi Alexandrou in Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

The week began with Trinity Sunday (26 May 2024), and during this week after Trinity Sunday, I am illustrating my prayers and reflections with images of six churches, chapels, cathedral or monasteries I know in Greece that are dedicated to the Holy Trinity.

Before today begins, I am taking some quiet time this morning to give thanks, for reflection, prayer and reading in these ways:

1, today’s Gospel reading;

2, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary;

3, the Collects and Post-Communion prayer of the day.

Inside the Church of Aghia Triada in Kalamitsi Alexandrou (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Mark 10: 32-45 (NRSVUE):

32 They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 saying, “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the gentiles; 34 they will mock him and spit upon him and flog him and kill him, and after three days he will rise again.”

A framed icon of the Holy Trinity in the Church of Aghia Triada in Kalamitsi Alexandrou, Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Church of Aghia Triada, Kalamitsi Alexandrou, Crete:

The villages of Kalamitsi are two villages neighbouring villages in Crete that share the same name – Kalamitsi-Amigdali and Kalamitsi-Alexandrou – and they are sometimes known as the ‘divided village.’ About 140 people live round the year in Kalamitsis Alexandrou, and about 210 in Kalamitsi Amygdali, or 350 permanent residents between the two.

Where one village stops, the next village begins. On some maps they are simply called Alexandrou and Amigdali, without the name Kalamitsi, while other maps do not make a difference and simply call the both Kalamitsi. These villages lie in the beautiful green Apokoronas area between Souda Bay and Rethymnon, about 8 km from Vamos and five minutes from Vrysses, less than a 15-minute drive to Georgioupoli on the coast.

Both Kalamitsi villages are peaceful, traditional, and offer beautiful views of the Lefka Ori or White Mountains. Between them there are two tavernas, a kafenion and a mini-market. Kalamitsi Alexandrou also has an impressive underground reservoir, Softas, built during the Turkish occupation of Crete. But the two villages are split between two administrations: Kalamitsi Alexandrou is in the municipality of Vamos Kalamitsi, while Kalamitsi Amygdali is in the municipality of Giorgioupolis.

When I visited Kalamitsi, it was to see the large, modern, cross-shaped Church of Aghia Triada or the Holy Trinity, behind the narrow streets in Kalamitsi Alexandrou. Although it is not in the centre of the village, the church is impossible not to find at the end of the narrow streets. With its large narthex, and tall dome and belltowers, it can be seen for long distances across the surrounding countryside.

But the church has many other usual features too. Unlike many churches in Greece of this shape, the dome has long remained undecorated, without any Pantocrator and the usual supporting frescoes. The walls and pillars of the church are largely undecorated too, without frescoes, and the old icons preserved in the church, many predating its building in the last century, are in wooden frames that are seldom seen in Greek churches.

These framed icons include, naturally, an icon of the Holy Trinity, and an icon of the Virgin Mary said to have been found in the foundations of an earlier church when the present church was being built. The top of the iconostasis or icon screen is crowned with a verse from Saint John’s Gospel that begins: ‘I am the light of the world …’

Today is the eve of Corpus Christi, and I am reminded how the central door of the iconostasis or icon screen has an interesting image portraying Christ present in the Eucharist, as part of a symbolic presentation of the Holy Trinity, with the Holy Spirit represented by the image of a dove above, and above that the all-seeing eye of God the Father.

After visiting the church, I returned to the square in Kalamitsis Alexandrou and enjoyed Greek coffees at the Kafenion Kolymbos.

The top of the icon screen is crowned with a verse from Saint John’s Gospel that begins: ‘I am the light of the world …’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Today’s Prayers (Wednesday 29 May 2024):

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), is ‘Renewal and Reconciliation.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday with a Programme Update by Rachael Anderson, Senior Communications and Engagement Manager, USPG.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (29 May 2024) invites us to pray:

Let us pray for the work of USPG as it seeks to come to terms with its colonial past. May it learn to sit with discomfort and may its partners grow in confidence.

The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God,
you have given us your servants grace,
by the confession of a true faith,
to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity
and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity:
keep us steadfast in this faith,
that we may evermore be defended from all adversities;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion Prayer:

Almighty and eternal God,
you have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
and live and reign in the perfect unity of love:
hold us firm in this faith,
that we may know you in all your ways
and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory,
who are three Persons yet one God,
now and for ever.

Additional Collect:

Holy God,
faithful and unchanging:
enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth,
and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love,
that we may truly worship you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Collect on the Eve of Corpus Christi:

Lord Jesus Christ,
we thank you that in this wonderful sacrament
you have given us the memorial of your passion:
grant us so to reverence the sacred mysteries
of your body and blood
that we may know within ourselves
and show forth in our lives
the fruits of your redemption;
for you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The central door of the iconostasis has an icon portraying Christ present in the Eucharist, within a representation of the Holy Trinity (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version, Updated Edition copyright © 2021, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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