The festivals of Orthodox church

2nd High School of Kozani

Pupils: Batsila Christina, Naka Irene,Mouratidou Maria, Diadiasi Nikoletta, Mentolli Sofia, Paschalidou Despena, Papaeconomou Katerina, Papadimitriou Matina, Bliachoutas Giorgos, Nestoras Kyriakos, Papadopoulos Apostolis, Beberi Penelopi.

GREEK ORTHODOX EASTER

gif3.jpgThis week (1-4 / 8-4-2007) is the so called Megali Evdomada, Great Week, which is Easter Week for all Greek Orthodox people. It is the most important holiday of the year. Holy Week begins after 'Palm Sunday' and runs from Monday, where fasting and observance lead up to the so-called, 'Passion'. The Tuesday following it is usually devoted to scripture reading and Wednesday is devoted to the anointing the faithful with holy oil or a sprig of oregano. These sprigs are later thought to have healing powers. Thursdays usually finds the household up and very early decorating the churches, as priests read bible passages from the Last Supper. Later, the taking of communion begins in which all the faithful participate. In the evening services, the priest recites passages from the twelve gospels, describing the Passion of Christ. Many Orthodox fast before Easter, and are not allowed to eat various foods such as meat, butter, milk as well as olive oil for the last few days. Then they will go to a priest for confession, and are so allowed to partake in the Holy Communion.

On Good Friday, most P4060123.jpgshops and businesses are closed and flags are flown at half-mast in commemoration of Christ being taken down from the cross. The actual Easter festival begins on Good Friday and people go to the churches P4060121.jpgto see how the priests take down the icon of Christ off the cross, wrap it in linen and put it in a great casket covered in flowers symbolizing the tomb of Christ. After this, the bier is carried out of the church and paraded through the streets in a lengthy funeral procession. On Holy Saturday, the ceremonies come to a close as people begin to break their fasts, savoring specially prepared dishes like 'magiritsa' soup, made of lambs innards. The rest of the day is spent preparing for next day's big lamb feast at the Easter Sunday celebrations.


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On Saturday everyone goes to church late in the evening, carrying with them unlit candles. The priest let the people light their candles of the Holy Flame taken from Christ's nativity cave in Jerousalem.At midnight the priest announces the resurrection of Christ ("Christos anesti") and everyone sings and we kiss each other wishing "Christos anesti". As everybody does this, fireworks and crackers go off and the dark night is filled with light. After this, everybody goes home for a meal - the fast is over. If their candles are still burning, a cross is made in the doorarni1.jpgway with the soot, to protect the house for the coming year.

tsoureki.jpgOn Easter Sunday friends and family gather in homes, eating lamb on the spit and dyed eggs. Before the red eggs are eaten, however, you must crack them against your neighbours, and whoever wins by having a whole egg at the end, will get all the luck.


Many places in Greece celebrate Easter in their own way. A few examples: On Corfu the patron saint Spyridon is celebrated. His body, that has not ecomposed, is carried around 57.jpgand is believed to perform miracles. On Easter Saturday ceramic pots are thrown out of people's windows to throw away Evil. On Paeaster_pot_smashing.jpgros children act as Jesus' disciples and perform the Last Supper, the walk of Golgota and and Crucifixion. On Patmos twelve monks act as the apostles, and the Father Superior clean their feet in the square on Easter Thursday. On Crete, as well as in any places around Greece, a doll is made of old clothes from each house hold and burned symbolizing the burning of Judas. In a town near Kozani young women in traditional clothing called the Lazarins go around the villages singing traditional Easter songs.


15TH OF AUGUST – THE ASSUMPTION OF THE HOLY VIRGIN

6Panagia_Fovera.jpgThe Feast of the Dormition of Our Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary is celebrated on August 15 each year. The Feast commemorates the dormition (and in Greek kimisis) or "falling-asleep" of the Mother of Jesus Christ. The Feast also commemorates the translation or assumption into heaven of the body of the Theotokos. This Feast is a feast of hope, hope in life eternal. We also affirm through this Feast that the Mother of God intercedes for us. Through Christ she has become the mother of all of the children of God, embracing us with love.

Many miracles are believed to happen that day, and pilgrims travel to monasteries and churches on that day especially. The most famous place is the island of Tenos, which can be compared to the Catholics Lourdes. This day is concentrated to Megalokhari. Thousands of pilgrims from all parts of Greece and from abroad, surpassing 30.000 people every year, come to the Megalokhari (Panagia of Tenos) full of faith. Among them are many distressed human beings, physical and mental invalids, persecuted and suffering people. While the adoration continues throughout the night, the Church offer continuous prayers and ask Our Lady to give health and peace to the whole wold.1Tinos_Panagia.jpgMany miracles are believed to happen that day, and pilgrims travel to monasteries and churches on that day especially. The most famous place is the island of Tenos, which can be compared to the Catholics Lourdes. This day is concentrated to Megalokhari. Thousands of pilgrims from all parts of Greece and from abroad, surpassing 30.000 people every year, come to the Megalokhari (Panagia of Tenos) full of faith. Among them are many distressed human beings, physical and mental invalids, persecuted and suffering people.

While the adoration continues throughout the night, 97PROSKINHMA_PANAGIAS.jpgthe Church offer continuous prayers and ask Our Lady to give health and peace to the whole wold. In endless queues, which are formed in front of the Church, the pilgrims wait for their turn under the burning August sun to adore Her Grace holding big candles, which every one of them has vowed to light in front of the Holy Icon. Black-dressed mothers with children loaded on their backs, persecuted orphans and black-dressed youths, those who have lost their health, ascend the wide avenue on their knees.

byzant18.jpgAnother famous place in Northern Greece is “Panagia Soumela”. It is up on the mountains near Kozani. On the day of the feast, the noise and the traffic resemble th2SOYMELA.jpgat of a big city. The main street is full with people and a forest of masts is rolling rhythmically. The representatives of the Government, other official, as well as the military guard of honour arrive on the eve, while masses of people are crowded in front of the Church, trying to adore Panagia and if possible to secure a place inside the Church. At 10 a.m. an official procession of the Holy Icon takes place. At noon starts the departure of the believers. All leave this place rebaptized in the eternal source of the Grace of the Megalochari.


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