A better rain cover on the roof

This summer we have not worked much on the chapel at all. Or course it is mainly built and of course functioning well and we love our tiny chapel! But of course there are some details that still can be fixed for even better long lasting… and more. We have a few thoughts about some details to be done. However this years building period we were too busy with other things, Amongst a few other “projects” we were quite busy trying to teach a group of refugees how to adapt their concepts of clay building to the circumstances in Sweden; with snow loads and cold climate. That is why we did not manage to go further with our beloved Chapel St. Joseph. However little by little my husband has reinforced the bitumen on the roof. He has simply put another layer on top of the bottom one. That is something that we had wanted to have done even earlier, but never came around to…

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Right now we are looking forward to St. Josephs name day shortly after Christmas, when we hope that will have the blessing of celebrating Divine Liturgy with Father Anders and our dear nuns from Convent of St. Philotei and maybe someone more visiting!

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating St. John the Baptist

In the middle of summer, we had the blessing of having Father Anders, the sisters from the convent of St. Philotei and several non Orthodox friends coming here to celebrate the birthday of St. John the Baptist. We have a very rainy summer in Sweden but this day the weather was at least OK.

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St. Josephs day

Now, in the middle of the winter is the day when we especially remember and venerate St. Joseph and his son St. James. Last Sunday that was.

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As is obvious on this picture we have some snow, actually the last few days even more snow has fallen. My husband has been kind to go with the snowblower to make a nice path up to the little chapel.

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A while ago my husband also prepared another little detail to enrich the iconostasis. We had found a small decoration laying around on this farm when we moved here, a decoration similar to the one that is put up on the beautiful doors, although much smaller. Lärkan a while ago prepared this little decoration:

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He prepared a small angular piece of wood and added to the decoration, thus making it possible to place on the upper edge of the iconostasis.

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A few days ago,  just in time before St. Joseph´s day he put it up:

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Now we are looking forward having Father Anders, Mother Magdaleni, Sr. Lydia and hopefully some other friends coming here soon to celebrate St. Joseph a few days delayed.

 

 

 

 

just moved in….

This Saturday we had the blessing of visiting the Convent of St. Philotei again. We experienced a wonderful Holy Liturgy and after that we were so happy and surprised to get to now that the sisters – and many more persons – had already prepared something that we had spoken about… The new, second Platytera for our little chapel!

The background is as follows, When His Eminence Metropolitan Cyprian was here in May for the ceremony of opening of doors, he pointed out that it would be nice to have yet another Playtera in the chapel. The already placed Platytera is located as it should be over the Holy Altar. But as often is the case that is not fully visible to Church visitors, mostly in full only to the Priest when he is serving in the Sanctuarium. His Eminence also pointed out that it would be nice to have the second Platytera shaped in an oval form. Some time ago we started to speak about this plan and now the sisters at Convent of Holy Angels in Greece had found a suitable icon. However His Eminence wanted The most Holy Theotokos to have even more open arms and also some Angels to be present on this icon. So several sisters both in Greece and our nuns here in Sweden have helped out to adjust this Icon into the wish that His Eminence had wanted it to be for the tiny Chapel St. Joseph. We are deeply moved by all cares that His Eminence has for this tiny chapel and also all the help contributed by all sisters that have been engaged in the process of getting this second Playtera here.

Here my husband, last night climbed up a ladder and unfolded the package that we got from the sisters:

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After a few moments of checking measurements – that were perfect – he pulled up the hammer:

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Then he could mount the wonderful new icon:

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So when entering the chapel, from now on, this is the view:

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After the new icon was mounted it felt that it had really been missing before! Now “something essential” has entered the tiny Church room… the new and more visible Platytera has now “moved in”.  The chapel now feels even more inhabited!

 

 

Day of St. James

Today we celebrate St. James the apostle. He was the son of St. Joseph, from his marriage long before he became the “step father” of our Lord Jesus Christ. St. James is at times called  “the brother of Jesus Christ”.  St. Joseph was a widower when being picked to be the protector of our most holy Maria Theotokos.

Here is a beautiful icon of him, from the hands of the sisters in Etna:

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I love to look at the icons! Many aspects of it!… but also a little bit like looking into a family album! One recognizes family traits! I rejoice when seeing this! It is not only attributes that makes us recognize the person. For example here it is so obvious that this is the son of St. Joseph! Look at his hair for example!

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In our little Chapel St. Joseph we now have had some problems with leakage from the ceiling… The carpets had to be hanging to dry…

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Probably the leakage came from around the lantern.

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It is always hard to seal around a roof window…  My husband has raised the ladder and several days in a row climbed up and done some mending… It finally seems sealed again. Hopefully the problem now is solved.

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Fall is here for sure. It has been a few snowfalls, but all snow has melted away. The winter has not arrived, but it is for sure coming….  On this picture it is obvious how all leaves has fallen. The trees are naked.

This is the view that often meets me when I come out from the chapel: Our sheep guardian Kalle waiting for me to have a little “conversation” .

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Also on the thickness of his fur it is clear that the temperature is sinking… his fur is getting thicker to stand the cold winter temperature that soon will be here.

We have finally had time to come further also with some other details in the chapel, for example painting the “analogion”, the choirstand. Here the volunteer Miryam from France is painting with egg oil tempera. Last Saturday we had a full worksshop day on that topic.

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Now it will be drying for a few days before being glazed:

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It is far too cold in the chapel for the paint to dry and oxidate, so the analogion is standing in the lunchroom and small lecture room for a few days. And since I have no analogion to put papers and prayer books on I have been keeping everything in the corner by the drying carpets the latter few days:

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The initial reason…

Yesterday was a special day… my husband and I had left our little farm  and visited the sisters at the Convent of St. Philotei and celebrated Holy Liturgy together with them and Father Anders. Wonderful! And after a small lunch the nuns and we went to Stockholm to visit our Swedish Bishop Johannes.

My husband and I have not met him since October 2010, actually only a few days before he fell badly and broke his back severely. He is admirable in tolerating all the hardship with pains, never complaining…

Here is a picture of all of us together by his bed yesterday:

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Bishop Johannes has been a very talented icon painter himself, and a good teacher to many icon painters. And the very last icon he painted in his life was the one of St. Joseph. That one is together with many other icons placed on his walls now in his sick-room. That very icon in a special place so that His Eminence can see it easily from his bed.

Our Dear Bishop – and things that he experienced in his life –  is actually the initial reason that we built the little Chapel St. Joseph. We had the joy of showing him some pictures from the little chapel, not the least a few from the opening of doors in May when His Eminence Metropolitan Cyprian visited, and a few other pictures. Bishop Johannes was pleased to see that there is a proper little chapel to venerate the Saint that he has a special relation to.

 

Along the way in our process to get to know a bit more about St Joseph there of course have come more and more reasons. And now it is a reality, standing here on our farm in the forest. After my prayers in the little chapel today I strolled behind the chapel, and all the sheep came running to see why I was BEHIND the chapel. They are used to seeing me enter close to their fence in another place, but not walking behind…  by he time I got the camera up they had all decided that everything was OK, so they were no longer staring, just continuing to eat….

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Celebrating Holy Liturgy again!

We have been so lucky  – once more –  to have experienced a Holy Liturgy in the tiny Chapel St. Joseph! Last Saturday Father Anders came here early and we were several that had gathered for the ceremony.
Mother Magdaleni and Sister Lydia from the Convent of St. Philotei had arrived, as well as a few friends of ours. First Father Anders conducted the blessing of Water and after that the Holy, Divine Liturgy.

After the ceremony we gathered outside the tiny chapel – unfortunately the photographer  – Ny husband – is not in the picture!

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Also some of our guests decided that it would be nice to have a photo of  Father Anders, our dear nuns and the two of us:

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We are so happy for the little chapel. And as a friend has pointed out: there is something special with a building that has been created for prayer….

 

 

Opening of doors and the very first liturgy

Friday May 30 2014 was a wonderful day! His Eminence Metropolitan Kyprian the new, two nuns from Greece, Father Angelos, Father Antonios and the group of faithful laypeople coming to Sweden together with him plus Father Anders from Uppsala, Father Teoharis from Stockholm and not Sister any longer, but Mother Magdaleni and Sr. Lydia all came here, together with several members of the church in Stockholm and a few other friends were all here to share our joy.  

At 8:30 the ceremony of “opening of doors” started with prayers, readings and blessing of water outside the chapel:

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It was a rainy day this friday, but the thoughtful nuns Mother Magdaleni and Sr. Lydia had brought their “party tent” This was perfect! First the priests could start under this rain shelter and when the ceremony later had started it was the perfect shelter for persons that needed some more “room” a few minutes, they could go out for a little while before pushing back in to the small chapel.  

 

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Above: the prayers of “opening of doors” Then we went inside and His Eminence started sprinkling the chapel from the inside:

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Then the very first procession around the chapel:

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On this last picture above at least You see a few of the altogether 44 persons that were here to share our joy!

When the liturgy was about to start chiming of bells was heard for the very first time around this chapel! Look at these beautiful bells that was given as a gift from His Eminence and his travel company! 

 

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Our sheep guardian dog Kalle was quite relaxed this day in spite of all the visitors! He probably understood no one was there to try to steel his lambs! As I said we had many guests in the tiny chapel. One of them Elisabeth from England together with her husband Mattias and their three very sweet children. In the beginning these “church trained” children stood properly as all of us. 

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But after some hours the children were tired – as several others. For a small child it is perfectly all right to have a nap: 

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The hours in the chapel was truly wonderful. After all our efforts in building and preparing it is almost unbelievable that the chapel finally is in a usable state. We started the 8:th of June two years ago. There are quite some things still to fix, but it is at least functional. And to experience a Holy liturgi in this chapel was almost “magical” … A true blessing! And all the time, on the narrow edge of the podium was a bowl with kolliva waiting. Here his photo and the bowl of kolliva viewed between the robes of the priests: (note the reflection of the candle light in the photo)

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At the end of the holy liturgy of course a special prayer for our previous beloved Metropolitan, His Eminence Metropolitan Cyprian the previous. This day was the 1:st anniversary of his repose. In everlasting remembrance shall he, the righteous be.

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After the Liturgy I was entrusted to read the prayers after communion, the first time I used the little pretty analogion created by Vincent for me. The nuns that had used it during the ceremony also approved it. Someone even revealed she was a bit jealous of me having one in the right hight and in a good size…  🙂

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Below You see the happy builders together with His Eminence the new Metropolitan Cyprian and Father Anders from Uppsala. Several of our kind helpers, volunteers that have been active in building were with us here this day. Off and on they came up to the chapel during the ceremony, but they were not around to be captured on a photo… 

 

 

 

 

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Some moments the rain stopped and the view from the flowerbed looked like this, in the background a sheep happy to eat some grass. 

 

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We do hope that St Joseph approves to all this and will continue to help us in all doings on this little farm, the completion of the chapel, adjustment of details there and all other things going on here. For many many months it has given me joy and peace to visit the chapel building for prayers. But now, after the “transformation” it is something totally different, multifaceted… new dimensions… now it is no longer just a clay house… it is a blessed chapel… a chapel that gives us so much joy… 

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I think of course also again, strongly about our own Swedish Bishop Johannes, and his encounters with St. Joseph and all our conversations about the help he got from St Joseph… and finally how my husband and I said we would build the chapel to venerate St. Joseph now that His Grace Bishop Johannes did not have had the possibility to do it. Now it is done! Thank God!

The day our clay house became a church

Oh, what a day! Long longed for… And today was the day of transformation. Early in the morning our persevering friend Monika came and cut the curtains for the iconostasis. 

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Then she had to run to the kitchen to bake and prepare the dinner for all of us, because today we were expecting many visitors… Then I continued to do some sewing, of course we will have to prepare the curtains in a more proper way later on, but now, in a hurry we had to get them functioning!

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After a conversation about whether to only screw or  both glue and screw, Vincent and Lärkan attached the beautiful cross that Vincent has created for the royal doors:

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After a short lunch brake we were ready to start putting up icons. Lärkan started with the Platytera over the altar window. This beautiful icon is created in Etna, by the sisters at Convent of St. Elisabeth and sent to us. Today it “landed” on its future place:

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Above Lärkan is pressing the canvas to the wall after having glued thoroughly. Finally we put all other icons in place. Here Lärkan is checking the hight of the oil lamps that we have received as a gift from Convent of St. Philotei. Perfect lamps, and perfect number of lamps too: 4 for our small iconostasis:

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Note the perfect hue of the icon of St. Joseph! It seems obvious that he has monitored the whole development of this building and choice of  the hues of the paint of our walls! Now that this icon came up, mounted on the wall to the left of the iconostasis, it is obvious that it is exactly the same hue on his icon as on the walls!

Our friend Britt-Marie, who has planned and created the wonderful flowerbed outside the chapel also came today. She wanted to be part of the final preparations and also be present on the special event of “opening of doors” that will be conducted tomorrow. Now in the early summer she – and all of us – can enjoy the good planning she did already last fall; now several flowers are blooming. And today she even put some more plants in the flower bed. Here You see her in the midst of the “final touch”:

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In the early evening his Eminence Metropolitan Cyprian from Greece arrived, several monastics and the group of faithful laymen that travelled with him. Also many friends from the congregation i Stockholm came along. But when they all arrived i totally forgot my camera! During the night they all stay at the local hostel.

Busy days, and many small steps

We are so thankful to all our kind helpers! Without them this had not been possible! But with all their efforts it looks as we will have the little chapel – of course not all done or totally ready, but at least – in a presentable state this weekend. Share our happiness; look what is happening:

First, outdoors, the nice flowerbed has been mended after the little accident with the dumper. Aurelie and Jerome who have both been doing some really hard and heavy jobs around here, have now also mended the pretty little flowerbed:

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Indoors I have kept on painting. Now the iconostasis has got a few layers of egg oil tempera glazier and is getting a warmer hue – as planned – not looking so gray anymore:

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In the minimal sanctuarium in the background You see the altar that Jerome built and a couple of small tables that can be used when needed. The tables have been waiting for this purpose! They are tables that used to be in my parents home. They are both dead and some items from their home I am very happy to have. Now these small tables will find their perfect fulfillment!  Our dear friend Monika has kept on working with the fabric for the chapel. Here You see her testing the tablecloth for the altar:

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It is so wonderful that also Mother Philotei has contributed to the adornment of this little chapel! The tablecloth for the altar is from her!

And persistant Monika has been working, oh, dear… The curtains that she has been working on turned out not to be so good after all. The quality of the fabric did not work well… so after hours of cutting and sowing we anyhow had to accept that it would never work out nicely. Then as a companion to support her Vincent came along and they both went to a nearby city to find new and better fabric for the curtains. Then with her admirable perseverance she started all over again! Here in the lunchroom measuring the new fabric:

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As we know since long, Vincent is such a skilled handicraftsmen, and always ready to help! Look what he is doing now:

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This blue, old board that already has been in use for the whole iconostasis… the board that used to be the vegetable stand in our local grocery shop! There were still some small pieces left.Now Vincent has used these “leftovers” to…

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…create a “choir board” an “analogion” in the right hight for me! Wonderful!

There is no time to have it  properly painted in time, but at least IT IS CREATED! Possibly it will have some primer paint in time. Later it will receive its “future proper paint”.

Aurelie has spent quite some time to shine the coffee windows and the natural light glass between the tiny entrance room and the church room. In the future there will be tinted glass mounted above these glass blocks, but not this week…

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Harriet has helped, as always, with all sorts of tasks, here You see her sweeping the floor of the chapel now that we have started to tear down plastic from walls and take away protecting paper:

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And I myself have among other things continued to paint… Here busy with the now finally dry last parts of the skirting boards in the minimal sanctuarium:

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Soon we will move on to the embellishment of the chapel… I can´t  wait!