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Friday, 14 April 2017

Good Friday

A day of mourning.  After the morning church service Christ is taken down from the cross and placed on the flower decorated bier in the church and the bells toll the slow death knell all day long.

Offices, banks , shops and businesses don't open till after the church service.  Today is a day of rest.  No making cookies, dyeing eggs or doing housework.  The most faithful will only eat a soup made of tahini (sesame paste) and water and will avoid eating anything sweet.

We used to take the children from church to church to see how each had decorated their bier.  The younger children gleefully crawled three times underneath for good health.

In the evening each church carries their flower bedecked bier of Christ out into the streets followed by the faithful carrying lighted (brown beeswax tonight) candles.  The three big churches on Poros plus the church from the Navy base will all meet in the centre of town for a short combined service and then each procession returns to their church.




                   Two of the flower decorated canopies 
     


 Many of the congregation will return to the church passing underneath the bier for good luck.  Then there is a scramble as the flowers from the bier are taken down and handed out to the people.  These flowers are used to decorate the icons in the house.



Down in the harbour there were loads of boats letting off flares

In some places the procession is only around the outside of the church. When we lived in a small village in Crete the young and fit priest galloped all around the village at top speed with all of us galloping breathlessly behind him. On the island of Salamina the procession went for miles on mainly unlit roads. Not easy following in your best high heels.




The big church down on the waterfront loaded its floral canopy and congregation into fishing boats and water taxis and sailed along the harbour to the main square. A wonderful candlelit parade of boats on the water.

2 comments:

  1. Looks lovely
    Our priest would walk around the big block. The police would hold the traffic so we could cross the main road
    Not nice if the weather was cold and raining. Keeping the candle lit was a challenge

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    Replies
    1. Thank goodness last night there was no wind but there were hundreds and hundreds of people. I'm used to the peace and quiet of the hills now. I think next year it will be the Monastery and defintely tonight for Anastasi. No wind today either so we should get the candle back ok and blacken the doorway. There are about eight years of crosses there now.

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