There is a small and quite unusual looking church (at least from the outside) tucked into the side of an apartment complex directly behind the historic ROTUNDA of St. George. The Church is a Metochion (dependancy) of Grigorious Monastery on Mt. Athos and holds daily vespers and Orthros 3 days a week. The priest’s name is Fr. George, and he is joyful man (in his later years) full of life and love. He does not speak English, but in my few experiences of Orthros at St. George he and his presbyera (and some other Greek attendees) have made it a point to welcome me.
A little background on Fr. George (you may have heard about him if you run in Greek/Orthodox circles). Fr. George is a retired officer in the army. He has 8 Children, 7 of whom are monastics in Greece. The 8th, I believe, is a presbytera. I heard one story about his child-rearing techniques:
He would not let his children watch television growing up. This can often cause conflicts with other children, however, because most other children are allowed to watch TV. To solve this problem, he resolved to take his family on a vacation once a year, each time to a different part of the world. This way when his children would be asked “Did you see _____ show last night” they could say, “No, where was that filmed though?”...Usually these shows would come from other parts of the world and the reply would almost always be “from America” or “from Paris” or “from Spain.” Then the child would say, “well, no, I didnt see the show, but I HAVE been to the place that it was filmed.”
I thought that was pretty cool.
Anyway, these early morning services, besides being necessary for the soul, seem like they will give me a good chance to interact on a significant level with native Greeks.