On a recent Sunday, I visited St. Athanasios Greek Church on Paramus Rd. to sample a bit of their religion. It was a rewarding experience bringing one deep into Greek culture, almost like an operatic venture into Greece and its inhabitants. The ceremony was steeped in pageantry, costuming, music, song and religion.
Father Panagiotis Lekkas was busy in prayer at the altar when I entered during the Matins around 9:30. There were not many members in the audience. Later I learned that Matins started at 8:45 AM and that the Divine Liturgy started at 10 AM. That was when the large prayer area started to fill up. At one time it swelled to about 300 participants.
The singing and music transported one into the religious aspect. During Matins, it was continuous. As the seats became occupied, it was interesting to see the diversity among the entrants. Sunday School students were welcomed and blessed by Father ?Pete? for this was their first day of Sunday School after the long summer recess. In addition, he held some Baptism ceremonies and Communion.
Most of the religious aspect was spoken in Greek as well as the printed program, a language beyond my comprehension.? However during Father?s message for the day, he conducted it in English for the benefit of the many visitors whom he had also greeted. After the Divine Liturgy, fellowship was held in the Christos M. Cotsakos Community Center
?All in all, I felt most welcome and would certainly return. A visit to Father Pete?s church would most certainly round out your religious experiences. They are very friendly!