O Επιταφιος/Epitaphios

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On Friday evening, before Easter Sunday,  Greek Orthodox Christians arrive in droves to church to mourn Christ.  ‘Epitaphios’ in Greek means ‘on the tomb’ and it is a religious icon embroidered on a cloth with an image of the dead body of Christ. It is placed on the holy table that is adorned with beautiful flowers early in the morning. In the evening the ‘Epitaphio’ is carried outside, and the funeral procession begins.  At the end of the procession the clergy, who are carrying the ‘Epitaphio’, stand at the door of the church. The worshipers then pass underneath it. It symbolizes entering the tomb of Christ. These rituals symbolize the death and resurrection of Jesus. On Saturday night close to midnight people will receive the holy light from Jerusalem and praise Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into the heavens.

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