Friday, March 13, 2009

A Cultural Observation

Disclaimer: this post is in no way an attempt to criticize or degrade the Orthodox Church.

On occasion we eat at the Duhovni Centar (Spiritual Center) an Orthodox restaurant. The prices are very good (you can get a medium sized pizza for under two Euros, even less if it is a "fast" pizza-no meat because it's Friday, or Lent). Also, it is the only eatery we know of where no one is smoking (not allowed).

On our last visit there, I (Laura) noticed something I had never seen before. The waiter went over to the Icon of Sveti Nikola (Saint Nicholas is apparently the patron saint of most families in Serbia and Montenegro) and kissed the bottom corner of the painting. He then took a bottle of olive oil (off one of the tables-just regular olive oil, not some holy, blessed stuff) and poured some into the censor hanging in front of the icon. He added something from a little jar (I presume this was the incense) and using a lighter, lit the wick in the censor. He then crossed himself (Orthodox do the horizontal cross reverse from Catholics), bowed his head (in prayer, I guess), crossed himself again, bowed to the icon (like you would bow to a king) and went on waiting tables.

I found this extremely fascinating. By the way, the Icon of Sveti Nikola at right is taken from an internet site, I did no think it would be sensitive or appropriate to photograph someone while they were in prayer.

1 comment:

Valems said...

Hello! Beautiful blog you have here! I'm so glad you're enjoying your life in the Balkans! "Sveti Nikola" is also the home patron saint of my family! Anyway, I just thought I'd say hi.

Greeting from Serbia
Vanja