Apologies flowed freely at the Church of All Saints of Southern North Carolina last Sunday after Reader Barsanuphius Johnson misjudged the length of the Epistle reading at the Divine Liturgy.
“I didn’t go over the entire reading in the Epistle before I started,” he said. “All I saw was a block of text with a line of bold text at the bottom. I thought it said, ‘End Sunday reading’ like it always does.”
Reader Barsanuphius reads Epistles with an ascending pitch, starting the reading at the bottom of his range, raising his pitch as he chants and ending at a high but beautiful note. On Sunday, however, he was suddenly stuck in an Octave Crisis as he got to what he thought was the end and found that the bold text at the bottom really said, “Skip verses 3-6, continue reading verses 7-16.”
“I thought about stopping, but Orthodoxy is an uninterrupted tradition,” said Reader Barsanuphius, “So I felt obligated to keep going.”
Reader Barsanuphius kept ascending and ascending until he had finished what was the most memorable epistle reading in the parish’s history.
During coffee hour, however, apologies flowed freely.
First, Father Polycarp apologized for his remark, “Peace to thee that screecheth.” He also encouraged all readers to look over the entire epistle reading before starting, and, he added, if you get stuck at the top of your range, “Faking a coughing fit of 5-7 seconds should be enough to get people to forget what pitch you had been at.”
Second, Reader Barsanuphius apologized for the windows that he had broken.
Finally, Deacon Florus apologized to those who had been injured by the hot flying incense that he accidentally flung during an over-enthusiastic censing with the belled censer in an effort to drown out Reader Barsanuphius.
However, choir director Eupraxia Smith was encouraged by Reader Barsanuphius’ falsetto fling and offered him a job as a choir soprano. He said he’d consider it just as soon as he took the icepack off of the front of his neck.