My wife initially met the wonderful Geana family a couple years ago through a homeschool group. The children of both families have become close, too. Their father, Mircea, was already a deacon at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church (part of the Romanian Orthodox Church), and we were excited to hear that he was going to become a priest. Being invited to the ordination was an honor, especially among the small and close community that exists within this parish.
The church was small, and the interior was covered in dark wood and icons, illuminated by low but mostly even light. According to Orthodox (and other Eastern church) tradition, standing throughout the liturgy is expected, so pews are hardly existent. (As a photographer, this would have certain benefits.) With the Church hierarchy (including Mircea's father, also a priest), traveling from Romania, in attendance, the event was sufficiently significant that they had hired a photographer (or at least an advanced amateur was working). I wasn’t planning to photograph, but of course I had my camera with me.
I’m unsure how long I lasted until I was compelled to create something, but I began photographing intermittently. I didn’t want to interfere with the other photographer, or move around too much, but I’ve photographed enough liturgies to know how to be subtle while working. Being over two hours long, I had plenty of opportunities to create at a measured pace.
One of the remarkable elements of this event was experiencing the community’s unity and support for Mircea and his family in this moment. Such occasions are rare in the church, and the joy among the parishioners and visiting clergy was palpable. The day was a true celebration.