The Screaming Priest, by Ronda Everson
When I lived in Romania, I was invited to a wedding occassionally, and they could get quite interesting. At the Orthodox church in Romania, the buidlings are quite ornate, and the weddings can be too. I went to a smaller Orthodox wedding at a smaller Orthodox church building, but it was still beautiful with lots of pictures on the wall, beautiful carpets on the floor, and flowers, an open Bible, and objects of gold at the altar. Usually, people don't sit at an Orthodox wedding. However, this little church buiding had some chairs off to one side. I needed the chairs because I was having leg problems. Everyone that came sat off to one side of the altar in the chairs except the bride, the groom, the God mother, and the God father. The God mother stood beside the bride, and the God father stood beside the groom. Besides the bride wearing a white dress and the groom a suit, they were also wearing crowns, an Orthodox custom.
We were all sitting down, and the priest finally made his entrance from behind the altar. The Orthodox church buildings are made like the temple from the Old Testament. Behind the altar, there is a "holy of holies" where I have heard everything is made of gold, but women are not allowed to see it, so I have never seen it. The priest came in wearing long flowing robes and his own crown. To show him respect, all the people sitting stood up, and I did too. However, I was having lot of trouble. I could hardly stand up because I had recently had a baby and my backbone had fallen, but I was trying even though I had a limp. I expected after we all stood up to give the priest his honor that he would just relent and let us all sit down, but he didn't.
He left us standing and went about the wedding ceremony. He chanted a lot of stuff I can't remember. He fed the bride and groom bread he dipped in honey. After that, he took a ribbon and handed it around to the others in the wedding party. They were all holding a different part of the ribbon. They all went in a line holding the ribbon. They were led by the priest. They walked around the altar, up onto the stage, and when they got there, they each took a turn kissing the Bible, and then walked on. No one let go of the ribbon. They walked around several times. After they were standing in front of the altar again, the priest just continued to talk. I was ready to fall down I was in so much pain!
I finally decided I would just go ahead and sit down. When I did, the rest of the people in the audience decided to sit too. The priest saw them. He stopped the ceremony! He screamed his head off at everyone! He thought they were so disrespectful of him! It was all my fault because I had given in and sat down, and they followed what I did. I felt terrible for making the priest mad and getting everyone yelled at. Everyone got on their feet again, including me.
After the ceremony, I wanted to apologize to him and explain why I had sat down. I approached the front of the auditorium where he was. He was up on the stage. There was a carpet covering the stage the extended beyond the stage. I put a foot on the carpet, and he screamed at me again. I took my foot off the carpet, and went about trying to explain to him why I had sat down. He wouldn't give me an ear at all! He just kept screaming that I was a woman, and I should never step on that carpet! He kept screaming about how disrespectful I was and screamed his way out of the room back into the holy of holies! I stood there in shock! I never got to apologize!