Friday, December 11, 2009

What of a man?

Several of you in the blogosphere have wondered what a man might experience as a pilgrim in Ukraine. I've given this some thought. A young man, say mid teens to mid twenties would likely be lauded as a great hero, wanting to see the world, meet its people, trusting, hard-working, gentle, and dedicated. Everyone feeds me as though I were a growing teenaged boy, I can't imagine the amount of food they'd offer a young man.

A slightly older man might be viewed at first with a little amount of distrust - where's the wife and family, the career, the contribution to society? Ready and plausible answers to this would lift suspicion and everything would be fine. A mature man, say late forties and upward, again getting past the initial suspicions of abandoning a normal life for that of a pilgrim, would also be made to feel welcome quickly.

Starting with the village priest, convincing the crowd of the peaceful intent of a pilgrimage is the key to removing any threat. I'm a woman, and a small one at that, and pose a threat to no one; a man might have to demonstrate this. I think of all the priests' homes I've been hosted in, I'd have equally been hosted if I were a man.

In the villages lacking a priest, naturally I'd go find the village women. A man would likely seek out the men of the village for guidance on finding lodging. In a village large enough for a shop, there's very likely to be an old Lada up on blocks with a group of men poking around to try to get it to run. A pilgrim man could approach these guys easily, I imagine. Even lacking the group of men, the women of the village I think would be responsive to a stranger's needs regardless of gender. The priest or villagers might billet a passing male pilgrim with a family or widower on his own rather than a widow, but I don't think it would be difficult. From my experience, hospitality is genuine and no gender-defined.

Pilgrims ho! Man or woman.


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear they are keeping you fattened will need it for all those kilometers ahead of you in the snowy terrain...

Wishing you a most delightful St. Andrew's Day! Cheers from Denver! Nadja

Anonymous said...

We just had out Sviatoho Andrija Vechir...what a blast! We had sooo much fun...too bad you could not be there!

We had great food and drinks and lots of great folks to play Kaleta games with and then sang to our hearts' content. It was a bomb! When you have a chance, check the photos on our language page! Thinking of you...Nadja

Sylvia said...

A prayer written by St. Andrew. Ann, I was at a Christmas party with some of my friends and a man who doesn't know you are walking in the footsteps of St. Andrew all of a sudden started reciting this ancient prayer believed to be written by St. Andrew.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

+MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, February 6, 1897

Anonymous said...

Dec. 18 -- Dear Anna, I check your blog daily and see that you have walked almost l/3 of the way. Hope it keeps on getting more interesting...can't wait to see the watercolors of your adventure. Praying for your safety and good health! Nadja