Friday, April 22, 2011


Holy week is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter, beginning with Palm Sunday To commemorate the entrance of the "messiah" into Jerusalem, to accomplish his paschal ministry. It is customary to have before Liturgy a blessing of palm leaves (or other branches, for example olive branches). The blessing ceremony, preferably held outside the church includes the reading of a Gospel account of how Jesus rode into Jerusalem humbly on a donkey,  and how people placed palms on the ground in front of him. Immediately following this great time of celebration in the entering of Jesus into Jerusalem, he begins his journey to the cross. This is followed by a procession or solemn entrance into the church, with the participants holding the blessed branches in their hands.

Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday commemorate the events from Palm Sunday up to The last Supper.

Holy Thursday commemorates The last supper which is the foundation of the Holy Eucharist or otherwise known as "Holy Communion", Partaking of the blood and body of Christ.  

Good Friday is a day of fast and all night vigils in church. It is the day of crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Scripture accounts the Resurrection of Jesus was on that following Sunday, three days later.

Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross depict the primary scenes of Jesus’ suffering and death. Also referred to as The Way of the Cross, the Stations of the Cross are designed to help Christians spiritually embark on a pilgrimage of contemplation and prayerful reverence, especially during the Easter season. The Stations of the Cross consist of 14 stations: 

1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. The Cross is laid upon Him
3. Jesus falls for the first time
4. Mary meets Jesus
5. Simon of Cyrene is made to help Jesus bear the Cross
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
7. Jesus falls for the second time
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls for the third time
10. Jesus is stripped of his garments
11. Jesus is crucified
12. Jesus dies on the Cross
13. Jesus is taken down from the Cross
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb. 

The Liturgy of the resurrection begins after sundown on Holy Saturday as the crowd gathers inside the unlit church. In the darkness (often in a side chapel of the church building or, preferably, outside the church), a new fire is kindled and blessed by the priest. This new fire symbolizes the light of salvation and hope that God brought into the world through Christ's Resurrection, dispelling the darkness of sin and death. From this fire is lit the Paschal Candle, symbolizing the Light of Christ. This Paschal candle will be used throughout the season of Easter, remaining in the sanctuary of the Church or near the lectern, and throughout the coming year at baptisms and funerals, reminding all that that Christ is "light and life.  In the Greek church there is a procession around the outside of the church.

The Greek Orthodox traditions  on Easter day are so symbolic
 and very family  and community oriented.

Lamb is the primary food of the day which is cooked on a skewer on a open flame.  Dancing and embracing the community. Greeks love to celebrate with all non Greeks who are curious about the Greek tradition. The most hospitable  people I have ever had the pleasure to work and live with.

From the end of the liturgy of resurrection one greets another with Christos Anesti and the response is Alithos Anesti  which in Greek is: ~~ Christ has Risen  ~~ (response)~~ truely he has! This will be the greeting for days after. 

While it has been a tradition in most Christian communities to dye eggs in many different colors and hide them  as they have adopted  from the Ancient Pagans in their spring, celebrations having nothing to do with Christianity celebration. ~~ The Greek Orthodox dye their eggs only one color, that is red. Greeks take the egg and hit it against the egg of another citing, Christos Anesti. It is also fun to see who has the strongest egg that did not crack. There is  much more to it but I could go on for pages and pages.


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