Port Townsend: Orthodox Church takes first step toward multi-ethnic festival

PORT TOWNSEND — When Father Nicholas Kime traveled with his family to Greece last summer, he knew they would be going to Orthodox churches and participating in a liturgy as ancient as that of his home church.

But he didn’t expect to see an entire village taking the religious celebration to the streets.

“We were on the island of Naxos and had gone to church that morning on the feast day of St. Peter and St. Paul,” Kime said.

“That night, we happened to go to the plaza. Everyone was there, young and old, and there was music, dancing and feasting. It was like something out of time.”

A former building contractor, Kime serves St. Herman’s, an Orthodox church that meets in a Russian-style wooden church he and the parishioners built, complete with gold onion dome, on the outskirts of town six years ago.

There Kime conducts a liturgy that dates back to the 4th century for a small congregation that is mostly American, but includes Russians, Greeks, Romanians and an Armenian.

“The service is in English, but we do some Russian and Greek liturgical pieces,” Kime said.

“I want to add some more Russian and Greek to the service in the litanies.”

Ethnic festival

Before going to Greece last summer, Kime had envisioned the members of St. Herman’s putting on an ethnic festival for Port Townsend.

But he knew the church was not ready to put on a full-scale event. So the priest contacted St. Demetrios Dance Group from Seattle, and Pangeo, a traditional Greek musical group known throughout the Northwest.

Then he booked a venue — Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden State Park — for this Friday and printed the tickets.

Now he is hoping North Olympic Peninsula residents will come and experience the same joy he felt as he watched the villagers celebrate that night on Naxos.

“An Effervescent Evening of Greek Music and Dancing” Friday at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Wheeler Theater, Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $7 for children younger than 12, and free for children younger than 5.

And $5 off general admission for those in ethnic costume.

For more information, call 360-385-0585.

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