Another Easter come and gone. Athenians are using this last night of the official Easter holiday to digest generous portions of lamb and finish the last of their “Chronia Pola” phone calls. It’s sad to say goodbye to Pascha but visitors are surely going to enjoy the refreshing sight of OPEN signs in shops, sites, and museums.
For those of you who weren’t lucky enough to be in Athens for the grand event, I offer you a pictoral account of the events of Holy Saturday and the journey of the miraculous Holy Light all the way from one Byzantine church in Jerusalem to another in Plaka: the church of Agia Anargyroi.
As Holy Saturday approaches, these small tables filled with lanterns and lambadas crop up everywhere.
A large crowd has assembled in front of the church. People chat with strangers and crane their necks anxiously toward the direction the official car will be coming from.
A news crew has gathered with a priest and some of those who will accompany the light- eventually.
Cretans in traditional dress will act as escorts for the bearer of the Holy Light.
A lambada seller brings the merchandise to the crowd as the anticipation grows...
Finally it arrives. The air is electric as the crowd stands tip-toed, snapping pictures and pushing toward the entrance to get the first light.
The old, narrow streets of Plaka are dancing with light as people begin the return trip home.
Tavernas are already blaring festive, traditional songs, turning lambs over the smoke from charcoal fires to feed the crowd that will start pouring in after midnight.
After battling wind and crowded streets, the holy light has to survive the car ride home.
The light is used to scorch the form of the cross on or above the door of one's house.
The little light is left to burn out on its own, blessing the house and those who live inside for the coming year.
Χριστός ἀνέστη! Christ has risen!