Monday, April 16, 2007

The spreading of the Light

Although already back in Istanbul, want to share with you all one event in Greece.
It was Easter Saturday, April the 7th, and it was quite impressive: The spreading of the Light.
On the Holy Feast of Pasha, Greek Orthodox Christians celebrate the life-giving Resurrection of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This feast of feasts is the most significant day in the life of the Church. It is a celebration of the defeat of death. In this victory that came through the Cross, Christ broke the bondage of sin, and through faith offers his followers restoration, transformation, and eternal life.
Before midnight on Saturday evening, the Odes of Lamentation of the previous day are repeated. The Orthros of the Resurrection begins in complete darkness. The priest takes light from the vigil light and gives it to the faithful, who are holding candles. The priest sings: "Come ye and receive light from the unwaning light, and glorify Christ, who arose from the dead", and all the people join him in singing this hymn again and again. From this moment, every Christian holds the Easter candle as a symbol of his vivid, deep faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as Savior. In many churches the priest leads the people outside the church, where he reads the Gospel which refers to the Angels' statement: "He is Risen; He is not here,” (Mark 16:1-8).
And there were a lot of people outside on the streets, and when the first candle came out the church the light was spreading quickly. Yes, this was impressive!