Preparing for Easter

Today my sister-in-law Kathy presented a program for our church, Saints Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church, on the traditions of Easter.  The Slavic and Polish communities have a rich set of traditions for all of the Christian holidays, and Easter weekend is the most important.
I was able to photograph everything in natural light with my f/2.8 lenses. Here are some images of the many items we put in our Easter baskets to be blessed and enjoyed after Resurrection matins.

Great job, Kathy!  And the bread turned out perfect!

A New Deacon

This month, William Rupp, one of our own parish at St Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church was ordained a deacon. This ordination is part of the seminarian’s journey, which for some result in ordination to priesthood. Will is one of very few seminarians in the Byzantine Catholic faith.

I was asked and honorably accepted to be the official photographer for this great ceremony. Many priests, deacons, nuns and others from the Byzantine and Erie Catholic community joined us in this moving ceremony. The church was very full with our guests, and many from our parish who came to share in Will’s ordination ceremony.

The ordination is a very important ceremony in our church. The Byzantine churches are in need of priests, and for our small parish to have William enter the seminary and become ordained a deacon is a great honor and makes us very proud.

In the Byzantine churches, the traditions are strong. The services are all sung a capella, with no instrumental accompaniment. The archeparchal choir from Pittsburgh all came up to sing a powerful liturgy, rich with variations on the song of “Christ is Risen!”, sung from Easter until Ascension. Our own Metropolitan Basil, the archbishop of the Byzantine branch of the Catholic Church, led the ceremony and personally ordained William.

William’s new title is “Father Deacon”. He recently celebrated liturgy at our church with our own Father Andrew Deskevich, and will be assigned to another church for his deaconal duties this summer.

Many congratulations to Father Deacon William! We hope to see him soon again at our parish, and wish him well in his final year at Seminary.

Church Directory in Erie


We just finished editing and posting a few hundred images from our recent church pictorial directory session this last weekend. We photographed over 50 families and are on our way to building a nice directory for Saints Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church.

This was a slightly more relaxed pace than the dance photography that I am currently doing, but very similar, being indoors and artificially lit. Here you can see a lovely family of four posed against one of my favorite brown backdrops.

We had some time to play around, and we caught some really great images of couples, kids and families.

Thanks to everyone who helped plan this event, and who showed up on this cold winter weekend to have their portraits taken for our new book!

A Church in Transition

Today I took photos at a special liturgy (mass) in recognition of the priests, nuns and members of the monastery of our Byzantine Catholic Church. Our church, St. Peter and Paul in Erie, PA, is in transition from the more contemporary Latin influenced style of the late 20th century to the more traditional Byzantine style complete with painted icons, an iconostas (icon screen), and new restoration all over the church. Here’s another session that I shot in available light, combining window light through stained glass and flourescent highlighs in the church. Most of the images were at very high ISO and low shutter speed which I shot with a variety of lenses on a monopod.

The church restoration will be complete next June and we will have a great rededication ceremony for the church and our growing community. One interesting difference between Byzantine Catholic and Roman Catholic is that the entire service (divine liturgy) is sung and chanted – there are no musical instruments. It is very solemn and spirutal.