Happy Easter to all Orthodox Christians. We celebrate Easter a week after the Catholic Easter. Greeks couldn’t move about this year, so they couldn’t leave for their villages to celebrate Easter as they would do every year. This year, so they celebrated in Athens and the whole city is smoky and it smells like bbq! 🙂
“The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.” Victor Hugo
“Blessed are those who have not seen and have yet believed.” John 20:29
“The Easter egg symbolizes our ability to break out of the hardened, protective shell we’ve surrounded ourselves with…”-Siobhan Shaw
The gold has a lot of intricate detail. The incense are the little balls that look like olives above the gold.
The popular telling of the story of the Three kings, also called wise men or magi is that they came from the east bearing their precious gifts for the young Jesus. The gifts were Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold. The Frankincense symbolizes prayer, Myrrh symbolizes suffering and gold symbolizes virtue.
Many don’t know that the gifts still exist and are kept in a vault at the monastery of St Paulos at Mount Athos in Greece. In a rare move the “Timia Dora’ or ‘Honourable Gifts’ as the Orthodox Christians call them, were brought to western Athens to the church of St. Nektarios so that everyone can see them up close. They will be displayed in the church from the 27th until the 31st of this month.
The story of how the ‘Honurable Gifts’ made their way to the Holy Mountain (Mt. Athos) is a perilous one. It is said that The Virgin Mary gave up many relics to the church in Jerusalem where they remained until the year 400 A.D. That year the Byzantine Emperor Arcadius relocated the relics to the city of Constantinople to bless and protect the people and to promote the city. The gifts remained there until the city fell to the Franks in 1204 A.D. There after, for safety reasons, they were taken to the town of Nikaia in Northwestern Asia Minor, the temporary capitol of Byzantium. The gifts would remain there for 60 years. After the crusaders retreated the relics returned to Constantinople until the city fell to the Turks in 1453 A.D.
After the fall of the city, a Christian woman named Mara Brankovic who was the daughter of the King of Serbia and who was married to the Ottoman Sultan Murat II, brought the relics to Mount Athos. At the port she handed over the relics to the monks as as she was not allowed to enter as only men are allowed and only with written permission.
Wishing all of my followers a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Joyful New Year!
Below the church.
After exploring a near by park in Athens I came across the ruins of the church of St. Nikolaos. I haven’t been able to find much information about it. I assume it was built in Byzantine times. It is not very common to come across the ruins of a church in Greece so I found it this to be very intriguing.
Μετά την εξερεύνηση ενός κοντινού πάρκου στην Αθήνα, βρήκα τα ερείπια της εκκλησίας του Αγίου Νικολάου. Δεν κατάφερα να βρω πολλές πληροφορίες γι ‘αυτό. Υποθέτω ότι χτίστηκε στα βυζαντινά χρόνια. Δεν είναι πολύ συνηθισμένο να βρίσκω τα ερείπια μιας εκκλησίας στην Ελλάδα, γι ‘αυτό βρήκα αυτή την ανακάλυψη τοσο ενδιαφέρουσα.
The Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter a week after the Catholic Easter. It depends on the calendar; in the past their respective Easters were celebrated on the same week.
On Thursday before Easter Sunday, some eggs are dyed red and they represent the blood that was spilled by Jesus on the cross. The large white candle is called a ‘labada’, and they can be decorated with toys and ribbons. It is brought to church on Saturday night to receive the holy light. After the ceremony there are fireworks and people kiss each other on the cheek and they say ‘Christos Anesti’ meaning ‘Christ has risen’. The lit ‘labada’ is then brought home and before entering the home, the sign of the cross is made three times with the flame from the candle at the front door.
On Easter Sunday most Greeks will spit a lamb and visitors will greet the host and random people on the street by saying ‘Christos Anesti’, Christ has risen. the person will reply by saying ‘Alithos o Kyrios’ which means ‘it is true he has risen’.
For those who observed the 40 day lent, which is strict like a vegan diet, Easter Sunday is a day to eat, drink and be merry..until you fall into a coma!
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.
Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Εφεσίους 4: 2: “Να είσαι απόλυτα ταπεινός και ευγενής. να είστε υπομονετικοί, να έρθετε ο ένας στον άλλο με αγάπη ».
I love making decorations for every holiday and for this Easter I got crafty and made these teeny tiny Easter Baskets. The only things I needed were egg cartons, twine, wire straws and a ton of glue. So much fun! Try it.
Cave full of icons at the ‘Spring of Hasia’
Today, is a very important day for Greeks of the Orthodox faith. It is the day of the Great Feast of the dormition or death of the Virgin Mary. Many people fast for 15 days before this day and then a great feast is prepared. Athens is always so quiet this time of year as most Athenians head out of the city to celebrate this religious occasion.
I came across this little cave with Greek Orthodox icons inside. Not sure why the icons were placed in there, but it is most likely that some sort of miracle happened there. I’ll soon find out.. It’s located outside of Athens at a mountain with natural spring water running all around the site, and it is near a monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
I have no laurels
to sit on
so I’ll count my losses
and carry gold crosses
I will win this war.
“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:38
” καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου, οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος.” ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΝ 10:38