On Saturday my niece, my dad and I decided to attend a special service at the Saint Anna Shrine in the mountains west of Denver. The Shrine was built and is maintained by a Greek Orthodox monk. We had never been to the shrine before but had heard many nice things about it. Since it was in the mountains ( about 36 miles from Denver ), my dad had us prepare like we were going on a Rocky Mountain Orthodox pilgrimage. He had us take chairs ( it is about a 1-2 hour service and there would be no pews ), water and snacks ( just in case ). The only thing we didn’t take was a tent and guide dog ( not enough room in the car).
So we began our drive into the Rockies. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and my dad was satisfied that we were prepared to tackle the Rocky Mountain wilderness ( bring on the rabid squirrels ). The mountains were beautiful and because we had left early the traffic was very light. I kept looking for nuns running around singing about the “hills being alive with the sound of music “, never saw one though.
Finally we arrived at the base of the Shrine. The area has makeshift parking among the trees and a building where food is prepared for a sit down meal after the service. Yes , Greeks enjoy their food – it is pretty good food so why not sit down and enjoy. Every occasion ( weddings, baptisms, funerals ) is followed by a sit down dinner with hundreds of your relatives and closest friends. We got our chairs out of the car and prepared for our climb up to the Shrine wondering what we would encounter along the way.