Orthodox Mass Inari
On Saturday morning, after getting up early, our agreed driver arrived to take us to Ivalo in time for the service at 10.00 am. He was one of the few persons at the karaoke the night before who was not drinking, and willing to help us. We arrived a little late, the Orthodox liturgy service had already started, but we quietly joined the persons present.
| Pyhän Nikolaoksen Kirkko |
It was a small, even intimate, modern wooden church and there is a congregation of 10 persons present, including 2 Skolt elderly woman wearing beaded hats and head-scarfs. The liturgy and psalms are sung in Finnish (strangely including the use of two Russian words) by the Cantor and another woman.
The two voices were delicate, individual. At one stage this dynamic within the acoustic space changed beautifully, for the duration of several minutes: All of the others, except seemingly the two Skolt women, joined in singing also.
The small space lifted and the air tingled on skin. Broken only by a sermon from the priest related to the day's occasion - Itsenäisyyspäivä - the visitors stood at the back.
Andrew studied an icon on the wall:
It is surrounded by an azure blue border with a creamy white interior backdrop. Indoors, Saint Trifon of Petsamo (Pechanga) Monastery on the left stands over a seated brown bear on the right. Wearing a gold tunic with black trim, the man stands with his hands held out-stretched over the bear either in welcome or subjection. The bear meanwhile, is eating with one of it's paws from a large bowl. To the side of both figures, there is a small table on top of which sits a subtle jug and goblet. All these objects blend into the white environment.
Signe left, catching the smile of another woman who also left at the same time. Maybe she appreciated the headscarf that Signe was wearing also.