Thursday, May 26, 2016

25 May 2016 - Awesome and Long Day

We had our usual breakfast at the hotel, Bishop Igor picked us up at the hotel at around 1315 and we headed first to the town of Stara Pazova. It was a pleasant drive through Belgrade and the Serbian countryside. We first stopped at the market to get goodies and snacks for post service fellowship. We met a kid that Bishop Jerry knew his father, which was cool. We then headed to Slavisha and Maria’s house to meet with them and talk with them before the service began at 1700. Slavisha had been called away, so it was only Maria, her son Sasha and her daughter Ana and Slavish’s grandmother. 

It was very nice to talk with them and learn about them, and they got to learn about Bishop Jerry and I. We had many delicious cookies and pastries, with orange juice to pass the time away. Then at 1655, we got changed into our vestments and people started to arrive for the service. Bishop Igor briefed us on the order of the services, where the confirmation service would be held within the services, and when Bishop Jerry and I would read our sermons. The service went really well, and my sermon did too. I was a tiny bit nervous at first, but I was able to cast the nervousness aside, and preach the sermon. I had four pages written down, but because of translation, it ended up only being two, but it went over well. So did Bishop Jerry’s sermon, which was excellent.  Bishop Jerry confirmed about 6 people at this service and we had Holy Communion.

In our vestments, we were really hot and sweating and at the end of the service, I thought, finally, we can take the vestments off. No such luck, as there were photo ops to be had with Miroslav, Vera, Sara and the parishioners. It was a really good time though, and soon we had cookies and Pepsi. Vera helped me to pour a Pepsi, when I had almost knocked my cup off the wooden board, from trying to pour it. She held the cup for me, so I could pour it! 

The time flew away and soon we were on our way to Jhenko's, who was the former Chief of Police for Croatia. It was a very pleasant and scenic drive through the countryside, and soon we got to the house, which was called Etna, or Peaceful House. It was a beautiful Balkan style house. We were ushered inside by Jhenko, and he was very very nice. We met his wife Rima, and she was very nice as well. I believe she is the grand-niece or daughter of Mikhail Kalishkanov, but she was very nice. We were taken into the back room where there was a long table. First we had bread before our meal, but were warned not to eat too much of it. For the main course, we had goat meat, and other meats, and a wonderful soup and salad, that Rima had all made. I also had the chance to have some slevovich, a Serbian cognac and some Serbian beer. All was very delicious! And there were other guests, a policewoman, and friends of Jhenko and Rima’s, who were very nice, and Sara’s grandpa and grandma.

Then also I got to meet Jhenko and Rima’s daughter Alexandra, who is a couple of years younger than me, and a year younger than Sara. She was very nice and kind. I got to talk to her and Sara later, and we had wonderful conversations about ourselves, and it was a wonderful time! All too soon, Bishop Igor showed up and after we took some pictures, he announced we were going back to the hotel. We had arrived at Etna House at 1917, and we left Etna House at 2324! We did not get back to the hotel until 0015, but I got a nice 7.5-8 hours of sleep.

I had an awesome day, I think the best so far!  I love this chance to see Serbia and all the AOC Serbia people, especially Bishop Igor, Miroslav and Vera, and Sara, all of whom I consider family in Christ and they fell the same way.

Looking forward to seeing you all, but enjoying the remaining time here.

Posh Kandaroog out for the day!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 21 2016- A Day of Teaching and Learning!

Saturday was another wonderful day on this amazing trip. We got up at our usual time and had breakfast in the hotel at 0800. It has been a very enjoyable experience in Serbia thus far. I cannot remember the last time I had this much fun, laughter and learning on this trip. To actually meet the Serbian people and experience their wonderful country is a treasure that I will always keep me. Bishop Igor picked us up at 0910 and took us out of the Old Belgrade and into the newer part and out of the city, to the outskirts, where his flat is. This is where he holds services in Belgrade and teaches youth groups. It is a nice little apartment and he had drinks and snacks. The program would start at 1000, but it was nice to have fellowship with the attendees, which were Miroslav, his wife Vera, their daughter Sara, Milan, a theological seminary student, Jovan, the Biblical Culture Center Director, and of course + Igor, + Jerry an myself.

+Jerry started the program off with a prayer and then began talking about the history of first the Anglican Church from the very beginning, then led into a history of the Anglican Orthodox Church and finally talked about the differing bibles, so that his talk would dove-tail into my talk on the Received Text. After his talk, we had a fifteen minute break, and I had some drinks and snacks, and chatted with Milan and Sara, two very nice people. Sara has near flawless English which is amazing, and far more than I can say about my Serbian. ;) We talked about a wide variety of subjects, drinks, candy and caffeine. Then before I knew it, it was time for me to give my presentation.

The presentation went well and Milan acted as my interpreter. Occasionally I would have to stop my talk and re-phrase my sentence to make it easier to translate. The subject I was teaching about is a pretty detailed subject, so unfortunately I ran into time limitations, but I did have time to answer some very interesting questions from Jorvan and Bishop Jerry also helped me to clarify what areas of my presentation went. That concluded my presentation and I believe it was very well received. We then had snacks and drinks and had some more fellowship and also had some delicious pizza. Miroslav is quite a funny fellow. I was sitting in my chair minding my own business, when I hear him make some sort of a remark to his wife Vera.

The next thing I know, I hear the scraping of knife blades and I look up to see Vera scraping the knives together. Miroslav ran over and grabbed me and lead me to the door, all in joking of course, to get away from Vera with the knife. He did the same thing to + Jerry and it was quite hysterical. All too soon though, we had to move on to the next appointment, which was in downtown Belgrade. Miraslov and Vera joined us. It was about a 15 minute drive to the Cultural Center of Belgrade, and it was a bit tricky to find parking, but we found it.

We met with Sergei, who was the director of the Cultural Center and a very interesting fellow. He walked us through the various levels of the Cultural center and showed us the rooms where they had kids making comics, rooms where they could hold concerts with 500 + people and put on drama productions and read books. It was an absolutely amazing facility and we talked about the importance of culture to a national identity. Then he took us over to the Politika building, where his wife works as a journalist on the paper. This is the national newspaper of Serbia I believe. We went up to the 15th floor and went into a bar and ordered drinks. I had a Losak Czech beer which was pretty good. Sergei explained that only drinks were served here, no food whatsoever. It had an amazing view of the city.

We had a wonderful time chatting about our respective countries and I learned that the reason that Serbian people smoke so much was due to the influence of the Ottoman Empire. Before the Ottomans, they did not have tobacco and opium and after the Ottomans, they had tobacco and opium. Sergei is a very wonderful person to talk to. Then we met his wife Mili, who and I found common ground in discussing Prague. It turned out that her grand mother was from Prague, just like our Grandpa A.C! Very cool!

We eventually had to take our leave of Sergei and Mili and we headed back to Igor's flat to drop off Miraslov and Vera and said our goodbyes to them and Sara and then we headed back to Belgrade where we picked up Jorvan, who we had met at the meeting earlier that morning, and took him back to the hotel restaurant to have discussions with him. He showed us videos he made on the symbolism of the cross, as the Director of the Biblical Cultural center, and explained he was making children's stories based on Bible stories, which I thought was very cool. We had some drinks and this time I had a Felen beer, a Serbian beer, which was good.

We talked for a couple of hours, then +Igor and Jorvan said their goodbyes. It was sad to see them go, as we could easily have talked for days on various subjects. We had dinner at the hotel, and I had a T-Bone steak and + Jerry had spaghetti, which was amazing, according to him. This marked an end to yet another epic day in Serbia!

Over and Out,

The Posh Kandaroog

22 May 2016 - Trinity Sunday - Consecration of Bishop Igor Djurcik to be Bishop of Serbia and Macedonia

The consecration of Bishop Igor went very very well today. I got only a couple of pictures, which I will send tomorrow in the hotel breakfast room which has better wi-fi reception, faster for sending. Bishop Igor was only a few minutes late, a bit of a habit of his, but not too late. We went to his flat to pick up the snacks and food for the consecration party! Then we went over to the church and began to prepare and set up, and wait until it begun. The service went very well. I did the opening collect, the first gospel reading, the Prayer for the Confession of Sins and the first after communion prayer. Afterwards, we had a lot of food, and I got to talk with a new person called Slavisha, he was extremely funny and very nice. We got pictures with the orthodox seminary students who attended, met some of the youth music group. After we had the pictures, Mirasov’s wife, Vera came up to + Jerry and I and insisted we eat and drink. I think the Serbian Anglicans have got our concept of snacks down very well!

I talked with a couple of people and Miraslov and Vera’s daughter Sara, who is very very nice, about my age and pretty, about a wide amount of stuff. Her mom Vera noticed that I had eaten all of my snacks while talking to Sara, so she got me a couple of plates of snacks and drink. While she doesn’t speak much English, she has spoken all she knows. I told Sara I would work on my Serbian for next time.  Bishop Jerry and I had a very good time with everyone. We had dinner at the McDonald’s just near our hotel and I am getting ready for the day tomorrow, the flight to Skopje!

21 May 2016 - Day of Education

More will follow on this; however Jack and Bishop Jerry taught classes in Belgrade.

20 May 2016 - Trip to Niš

Today was the day that we would make the trek to Nis. Nis was the birthplace of Emperor Constatine and according to Bishop Elect Igor, it was the birthplace of Phillip, father of Alexander the Great. Our drive through beautiful Serbian countryside down to Nis took about 2 and a half hours with a stop for coffee at a local McDonalds, then picked up Igor's friend Nikola, a seminary student at a Orthodox seminary. We drove through a mountain village called Knel Kazlo (might be different, but from memory), a classical Turkish village. (This had been made during the occupation of Serbia by the Ottoman Empire.) We then went and saw an old church that had been there during the Turkish invasion I think during World War I or before. Then we went up to an old church that they believe dates from the 12th century, with a Byzantine dome, that had a high view. We saw a mountain in the distance that according to Igor, over that mountain was Bulgaria. Then we went back down dropped off Nikola, and went to Leskovac to meet the Serbian Orthodox Priest and the Baptist priest. We got a tour of the two Orthodox churches

One of the orthodox churches was a chimney church, which was built in disguise during the Ottoman Empire's occupation as Christianity was underground, but the Turks never thought to look under the chimney. Then we saw their new church, which was very large and beautiful on the inside. We got to see in both churches where the Orthodox priests conduct their mass services and got an explanation of what is on their holy table. Then we went over to meet with the Baptist group, and have +Jerry preach and have fellowship, with a lot of wonderful snacks. We then went out to dinner with the Orthodox priest, the Baptist priest and Igor and us, and we had the largest hamburgers I have ever seen. And they claimed they were small!. I napped for about 1.5 hours on the way back to Belgrade and when we got back to the hotel, it was around midnight when I went to bed and got settled in the hotel room.

It was a very wonderful day.

Over and out,

The Posh Kandaroog

Friday, May 20, 2016

20 May 2016 - Early Bird Report after Niš

I just got back into my hotel room after the three hour drive back from Niš. Niš is the city of southern Serbia and the third-largest city in Serbia. It is the administrative center of the Nišava District.

It was an incredible day, but I will make the blog post sometime tomorrow. We basically had a wonderful 2.5 hour drive through beautiful Serbian countryside down to Niš, then picked up Igor’s friend Nikola, a seminary student at a Orthodox seminary. We then went and saw an old church that had been there during the Turkish invasion I think during World War I or before. Then we went up to an old church that they believe dates from the 12th century, with a Byzantine dome, that had a high view. We saw a mountain in the distance that according to Igor, over that mountain was Bulgaria. Then we went back down dropped off Nikola, and went to Lscaboitz to meet the Serbian Orthodox Priest and the Baptist priest. We got a tour of the two Orthodox churches.

One of the orthodox churches was a chimney church, which was built in disguise during the Ottoman Empire’s occupation as Christianity was underground, but the Turks never thought to look under the chimney. Then we saw their new church and then we went over to meet with the Baptist group, and have +Jerry preach and have fellowship. We then went out to dinner with the Orthodox priest, the Baptist priest and Igor and us, and we had the largest hamburgers I have ever seen. And they claimed they were small. I napped for about 1.5 hours on the way back to Belgrade. I will be headed off to bed soon, because tomorrow is the day I will be giving the talk about the manuscript evidence. Because of translation, I will cut short the presentation. It will be an epic day tomorrow and I love you guys! Hello to everyone! 😊

Over and out for the night!

The Posh Kandaroog

Thursday, May 19, 2016

19 May 2016 - Today's adventures!

The Danube River

Today was a most wonderful and amazing day. I woke up around 0615 and got ready and dressed for today's events. Today was the first day of the trip I will wear my clerical collar! I hung out in the room for a bit, then headed downstairs to the first floor for breakfast. The Park Hotel in Belgrade has one of the most amazing complimentary breakfasts I have ever eaten. They had a variety of foods, that consisted of different kinds of sausage links, ham, fried broccoli, bread, pastries, eggs fried and scrambled, and orange and a dark berry juice of some sort. And of course, coffee. I got there at 0755 to have breakfast with Bishop Jerry. He arrived shortly and we had a most wonderful breakfast.

After which, we decided to wait outside and walk up and down our street, in anticipation of Igor's 1030 arrival. The city is amazingly beautiful! It is such a cool city, old and full of history. Just seeing the various people and activity that is happening in the city was cool to watch. The people, men and women, dress differently than those in the States. We have found they dress to a higher standard and dress really nicely. They also seem to walk with energy in their step.

We waited for about thirty minutes then we decided to wait in our room for Igor to arrive. So I spent the next forty five minutes in my room, listening to music and surfing the web, when I got a phone call at the front desk at 1000. Somebody was here! I wasn't sure if it was Bishop Jerry or Igor, so I went downstairs to investigate. It turned out it was Igor! We got in the car and headed towards Stara Pazova, our first stop of the day. It was about a 45 minute drive from Belgrade. It was where we would be meeting our first AOC people of the trip, Miraslov and Vera. It was a very, very wonderful drive, seeing the beautiful Serbian green country side, which was pretty flat, with some rolling hills, but still beautiful.

The drive went pleasantly, and after a few phone calls, it turned out our friends were in the next village over, so we went a few more miles to see them. They were in front of their local post office. Miraslov is a very kind man, middle aged, but handsome. His wife Vera is very lovely and beautiful and very kind. They were warm and welcoming, and Igor acted as translator during our time. They radiate warmth, though I can't understand what they say directly, I could tell they were very welcoming. Our first stop was a monument to the First Battle of Slankamen, the village we were in. This was a battle from the Serbian-Austrian and Turkish conflicts of the late 17th, early 18th century. The Serbian-Austrian army numbered about 10,000 and were outnumbered about 2:1 by the opposing Turkish army.

According to Miraslov and Vera, the Austrians had the Serbians go first into battle, because in those times, the Serbians always attacked first. It turned out to be a major victory for Austrians and Serbians. The Turkish forces were defeated. We learned the monument was built on a mass grave of the Turkish dead. Miraslov also mentioned people have came up from Belgrade to find remains of the battle. He also mentioned when his father was farming the fields nearby, when he was young, he uncovered graves of Turkish soldiers from the battle.

Next we headed towards the Danube River, which was now in sight. We were specifically headed to an Orthodox church near the Danube. This was part of the Slankaman Village, which in the olden days, used to be a part of Hungary I learned. The villages we drove through reminded me greatly of the villages I saw in Germany, but I much preferred the quiet country feel of the Serbian villages we drove through. The road took us on a scenic route towards the Church, and as we got close to the church, we could see the Danube River, which was a gorgeous site.

The church we visited was built in 1486 and is dedicated to St. Nicholas. That is right, the man who inspired Santa Claus. He was a great man who was known as a protector of sailors and other people. I learned more about St. Nicholas, that he was a clergyman and wore red and a white collar. This is why Santa Claus wears a red suit and a white collar! The church was beautiful on the inside, but was undergoing renovation and we met the priest of the church. He was wearing overalls and was a kindly older man. He had a paint brush in hand and was working on painting outside of the church. We also met here Miraslov and Vera's daughter Sara who was very kind, nice and beautiful. She has a very kind personality and could act as a translator for her parents to us.

Then after we visited the church, we headed down to a restaurant on a boat on the river Danube to discuss the status of the AOC churches in Serbia with Miraslov and Vera. Needless to say it was a very productive and wonderful meeting that was interspersed with delightful chatter. We continued to learn about how the area we were in used to be occupied by Hungary, and also we learned part of Serbia where we visited the Battle monument had been occupied by Turkey. A lot of very interesting stories!

For lunch, we ate there and had fish soup, which was surprisingly very delicious. The only thing was we had to be careful and pick the tiny fish bones out of the meat! Then we had our meals, and I had fried fish and salad, while Bishop Jerry had fried chicken and fries. I learned the fish soup and the fried fish was a Hungarian staple food and this type of food is left over from when this area used to be part of Hungary.

After this, we headed to a older lady's house and had a confirmation service. She was a very lovely and kind lady, named Meranya, who was stuck in a wheel chair and was sick. But despite this, she was very cheerful and upbeat and had an epic sense of humor. She made us all laugh, and we had drinks and sweets. I had my first taste of Serbian beer and Turkish coffee, and these little square chocolate/frosted treats which were wonderful. Meranya and Miraslov and Sara exchanged a bunch of stories that were very funny and very interesting. We spent quite a few hours in the early evening there. Then we eventually departed and dropped Sara off at her home, then stopped on our way and met MIrasov's father. He was also very wonderful and very kind.

Then we said our good byes again to Mirasov and Vera, whom we will see later on this week. We headed back to our hotel and I am preparing to get ready for bed to get rest for tomorrow's adventures. Tomorrow we are headed to explore Nis, Emperor Constantine's birthplace, and see some churches and other features, then headed to meet another group of people the AOC in Serbia people know. It should be a wonderful day.

Over and out,

The Posh Kandaroog

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

18 May 2016 - The epically long journey

Hi All,

I'm just checking in at the Park Hotel in Belgrade. So far it is really nice, the room is small but cozy. The hot shower works wonderfully and I am refreshened after our 14+ hour journey from San Diego, CA for me, and Enterprise, AL for Bishop Jerry. My day really started at 0230 when I awoke and got ready and left the house at around 0307. We arrived at KSAN around 0403 and I was checked in and past security and at the gate by 0430. So I ended up getting a White Mocha from Peet's Coffee to start off my day.

My first flight Delta 978 departed around 0615 for Salt Lake City. It was a hardly full flight, which was very nice, because I had an empty middle seat between my seat mate and I. It was a pretty uneventful flight and we got into Salt Lake around 0900. I was off the airplane by 0925, and had just enough time to use the restroom and then head over to the gate for my flight to Detroit, which boarded at around 0950. We departed around 1005 for Detroit and this time it was a completely full flight! Every seat on the airplane was pretty much taken.

This was a bit of a longer trek compared to the San Diego to Salt Lake flight, but I passed the time by surfing the internet on Delta's wi-fi and listening to music and eating snacks and drinking complementary soft drinks. Eventually, we arrived at Detroit at around 1525. I got off the plane and set off to look for Bishop Jerry. I found him at Gate A28 and it was a pleasure to meet up with him. We were soon talking the rest of the time before our flight to Paris away. Eventually, We boarded the flight to Paris at 1730, which would be my first flight on a Airbus A330. We were seated in the Comfort Plus row which was really comfortable and we had a very lovely meal of a vegetarian pasta, with a salad, and a small dessert for our dinner. I then got some shut eye and Bishop Jerry watched a movie. I slept about a couple of hours on this leg, and between the other legs, another couple of hours. This was a very pleasant flight!

We got into Charles DeGaulle Airport at around 0725 the morning of Wednesday May 18. Except, CDG airport is a very large and sprawled out airport, which meant it took time for us to taxi to our gate. Then we had to get out and find out where our flight to Belgrade was at. We found it was in Terminal 1D, which necessitated we go through a transfer security, which was quick and efficient, then take a shuttle bus that seemed to take us all the way around the airport until we got to Terminal 1D. Once inside, we found very nice and clean facilities, a wonderful little coffee shop where we had coffee whilst waiting for the check in agents, so we could get our boarding passes for our Air Serbia Flight 311 to Belgrade.

We passed the time away drinking our coffees and chatting, but soon we saw the ticket agents walk up and we went over and after waiting in a line, we got our boarding passes. This was a strange boarding, as we did not hear them call the boarding, but just saw passengers being allowed to board, so we quickly got in line and joined the boarding que. We were seated in seats 4C, and 4 D, which were aisle seats just across from each other. The AirSerbia crew was very polite, attractive and all very nice.

It took a while to get ready, but once we did, I was excited about the trip onto Belgrade. Once in the air, we had a meal which for us consisted of, fresh fruit, Serbian cheese, beef ham and smoked chicken filet, served with fusilli pasta salad, which was epically delicious. Then we had a unique Serbian treat of a Sesame bar, which had a rich chocolatey taste to it!

It was a 2.5 hour flight to Belgrade and both Bishop Jerry and I were extremely pleased to be on the ground at our final destination. We then got off the plane and headed to passport control which had a bit of a line when we got there, but then it grew. Luckily, for both Bishop Jerry and myself, it was pretty quick and painless. We then headed to the baggage claim and claimed our luggage, which was relatively quick to appear. The next stop was the customs stop, which went smoothly and then we were out of the area and in the meeting area. Igor met us there and helped us take the luggage to the car. We then started our drive towards the Park Hotel. The airport is about 20 km from downtown Belgrade, so we got a beautiful view of the Serbian countryside and cool views of the city coming in.

We got to the hotel and are checked in. I just took a shower and got everything all settled in, power wise. The wi-fi works, but is slow, so it may be tricky to post photos. But this has been such an epic trip so far. I look forward to posting more about it. I think we have a couple of hours to ourselves, then we are not sure what the plan is. Just turned on Bob, so you should be able to see our location now.

Over and out,

The Posh Kandaroog

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

17 May 2016 - On the way to CDG! Onboard DL98 w 6 + 40 to go!

You can track them HERE!

17 May 2016 - Enroute Paris!

Dynamic Duo joined up in Detroit and are now aboard Delta 98 bound for Paris!  You can track them HERE!

17 May 2016 - Onboard DL 1794 SLC-DTW

17 May 2016 - First leg of trip! Onboard DL978 in 22C to SLC

17 May 2016 - The Saga Begins

Jack arrived at SAN airport at 0403, even though it looks light out, it was not.  However, he was wide awake and ready to go!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Journey to AOC Serbia, Macedonia and France

On 17 May 2016, Jack and Bishop Jerry Ogles will start on their epic IG Inspection Tour of AOC churches in Serbia, Macedonia and France, returning on 29 May 2016.  They will start very early in the morning of Tuesday 17 May 2016, from their respective homes, joining in Detroit (a Third World City, if ever there was one).  Assuming they make it safely out of there, they travel to Charles DeGaulle Airport near Paris, change planes and fly to Belgrade, Serbia.  They are there about a week, then fly to Macedonia, back to Belgrade, then to Paris.  There are many parishes to visit and people to meet with.  Stay tuned!