An Orthodox Easter in Athens

Καλὀ Πἀσχα!
Happy Easter!

Having grown up in rural Illinois where individualism is king and Easter mostly meant chocolate bunnies, I was thrilled to participate in ο Επιτἀφιος (Good Friday) and η Ανἀσταση (Resurrection) Orthodox services while living in Greece.  Although I was an outsider, it was a very cool experience to participate in the traditions that Greek Christians have observed for thousands of years.  Before I get into the details of how I celebrated Good Friday and the Resurrection, a brief overview of the Orthodox Easter, because it is so much more than these two services.   Continue reading

Holy Week

I often forget to celebrate Holy Week.  Sometimes this is for amazing reasons–like a visiting friend who brings me so much joy.  Sometimes this is for dumb reasons–like being anxious about the future and how to make hard decisions.  And I think God is patient with me, understanding my distractions, waiting for me to realize the gift He’s given the Church in walking through Holy Week year after year after year.

On Palm Sunday, we celebrate Christ as humble King, entering the city not on a military horse but on a plodding donkey.  At my church, we walked down the aisle with palm branches, laid them on the alter, and took Communion from our elders.  We were encouraged to symbolically lay down something along with the palm branch, and I gave up control.  Or rather, for one moment I gave up control, hoping that God would honor that fleeting moment of trust and see my heart that is scared and doubtful but so desperate to lean on Him.  Then I took the bread and the wine, looking back at what Jesus did for the world so that I can look forward to what He will do when He returns.  In all this, Christ is King.  He is in control.  Continue reading