Clients and staff at a veterinary practice in Kenton recently enjoyed a special blessing from the Parish Priest of neighbouring Greek Orthodox Church, St Panteleimon.
Father Anastasios Salapatas was invited to Medivet Kenton perform the blessing before the assembled guests at Medivet Kenton by regional director Dr Laila Liakouras, who is of Greek origin.
“I believe that it is important to forge bonds with our community. Events such as these are an important way to share in the rich cultural history of all of the communities in the area. We are privileged that Fr. Anastasios was able to join us,” commented Dr Liakouras.
The priest went through the veterinary practice, blessing the doors and windows with holy water - using rosemary to dip in the water for sprinkling around the rooms as he chanted prayers. This New Year tradition is meant to bring together the community to bless those that are part of the clinic but also strengthen their resolve to help those that are less fortunate. In particular, it is said to help the ailing animals that are brought to the clinic during the year. It is also to give best wishes for health and prosperity for the coming year.
After the short service, guests and staff enjoyed a specially commissioned cake called a Vasilopita, which the Priest divided for the assembled guests in a ceremonial cutting. This age-old tradition dates from the end of the fourth century when St Basil the Great wanted to distribute wealth to the poor in his Diocese in Cappadocia of Ceasarea.
In the cake, a coin is baked in and whoever is fortunate enough to find it is said to be blessed for the year to come. The winner of the coin was Hef the cat of our sister clinic. The cat will be enjoying a prosperous 2020 but unfortunately wasn’t able to enjoy his slice of cake - and has accepted cuddles from all the staff instead.
Medivet Kenton lead veterinary surgeon Barbara Graf said: "We are lucky enough to be part of a multi-cultural community in this area of London and this is, of course, reflected in our diverse client base. This year, thanks to the support of our Greek regional director Laila, the whole team were able to experience a wonderful New Year blessing and the traditional cutting of a special and tasty cake.”