Constantinople Ecumenical Patriarcate

Fener, Friday afternoon

Last March, a few weeks before Easter, I went to hear a service at the Greek Orthodox Patriarcate, located at Fener. The walled complex has seen a lot of history, some of it very violent since the 17th century. To get to the Church of Saint George you must go through metal detectors that protect the clergy.

The congregation present that day was formed of elderly people, some local, some from nearby, some who came as a tour group from abroad (Germans is my guess). We all waited in silence for the clergy to enter, whispering, sitting at the creaking wooden benches. After the clercy entered, dressed in their black cloacks, the congregation stood up and the service could begin. The service consisted of a chanting dialogue between the clergy and the Psaltis Cantor (representing the people). Nothing was read in a normal speaking voice.

Listen to the very beginning of the service: