(a traditional educative story)

Once, on the day of the Lord’s Resurrection, the Holy Mother descended from the heavens to celebrate the greatest of Mysteries, together with the faithful on earth.

Her soul was so elated, on seeing so many faithful gathered to honour Her Child. The temples were flooded with the aroma of incense, candles of pure beeswax burning and emanating the scent of honey, while priests, faithful and the angels were all chanting together; many of the churchgoers were even in tears of deep emotion.

As Matins progressed, the priest stood before the Royal Doors of the Sanctum holding a candle lit from the Holy Light brought from the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, inviting the people with the words “Come receive the Light, from the never-setting Light!”

Κεριά σε ναό την ώρα της Ανάστασης  Πάσχα: Διπλή μάσκα και χωρίς φιλί αγάπης η φετινή Ανάσταση - Τι ώρα θα πάτε  στην εκκλησία, τα μέτρα και οι απαγορεύσεις | in.gr

What a glorious sight!  Hundreds of candles inside the church and then outside shared that flame with anyone standing next to them, and the entire area was soon flooded with light! All the clergy and the cantors then began to exit the church to share the Message of the resurrected Christ outside...


 “CHRIST HAS RISEN!” the Head Priest announced in a loud voice for all to hear.  What joy!  What overflowing sentiment! Bells began to chime joyfully; the people began to exchange embraces with all those next to them – friends and strangers – noisily exchanging wishes and kisses...

As soon as the priests had chanted “CHRIST IS RISEN” six times, what followed broke the Holy Mother’s heart:

My in-Christ brethren, are you aware of the significance of the words of the Troparion that the priest recites immediately after?

It says very specifically:  God has risen, and His enemies have scattered, and those who hated Him fled from His presence.”   Then: “just as smoke disappears, they too disappear; just like wax from the presence of fire.” And:  Thus sinners will be lost from the face of God, and the righteous shall delight.”

Click to hear a short video of the above chants:

While the Archpriest was reciting and chanting that all-important message, the crowds of Christians began to hurriedly depart from the church, not waiting to participate in the Service of Agape that traditionally takes place immediately after, where they are all invited to receive Holy Communion!! 

The sight of candles being extinguished or vanishing into the night was a cause for shame, frustration and pain. The Holy Mother was shocked, and could not understand the reason for the phenomenon, so She turned to ask the Angel why he people were in such a hurry to leave, and for what possible reason did they abstain from the midnight Service and Holy Communion to show their love and glorification for the resurrected Christ. 

They had remained in church during the entire Service of His Crucifixion…

Μεγάλη Πέμπτη: Η θλιβερότερη ημέρα της Χριστιανοσύνης - Κιβωτός της  Ορθοδοξίας

…and they had remained by His iconic Tomb inside the church, bringing thousands of scented flowers for His burial and chanting all the dirges…

Οι ανθισμένοι και περίτεχνοι επιτάφιοι από όλη την Ελλάδα | Znews

...and now that Christ’s Passions are over and they have only just heard of His Resurrection, they are hurrying away?  Could they be the enemies who wanted Him wronged? Were they the ones who betrayed Him, who sent Him to the Cross? Who hate Him and who blaspheme His Holy Name?  Go, Angel, and see if they are perhaps Pontius Pilates’ followers!

The Angel kneeled humbly before the Holy Theotokos, but She noticed a tear rolling down his face. “Forgive me my Queen and Mother of the Creator, because what You asked of me will fill You with sorrow... All those who have abandoned Him by hurriedly leaving the church are unfortunately evidence that the devil has achieved his goal, as they are now heading home to enjoy the warm traditional meal and miscellaneous other snacks and sate their hunger with those, instead of remaining in church to partake of the Body and Blood of the Lord tonight, during the festive Service of Agape ...”

Πώς το οικογενειακό πασχαλινό τραπέζι γίνεται ένα γευστικό «οδοιπορικό» σε  κάθε γωνιά της Ελλάδας - Newsbomb - Ειδησεις

Our Lady was greatly sorrowed by this revelation and the state of mankind, and commented as follows:  How can I dare mediate for them before God whenever they ask Me to come to their aid during times of pain and sorrow?  Adam was cast out of Paradise for the sake of one item of food, and now you, mankind, are likewise disregarding your soul for the sake of food?"


Easter traditions that continue to be observed to this day

Source: https://www.sansimera.gr/articles/929

When do we greet each other with the greeting “CHRIST HAS RISEN!” and for how long?  The tradition begins on Easter Sunday – the day of Christ’s Resurrection – and for 40 days after – until the eve of the Feast of the Ascension (on the Wednesday following the Sunday of the Blind man).

It is one of the unique exceptions, given that most feast-days have their Closure after eight days. This custom was borrowed by Christian worship, from the major Jewish feasts, which lasted eight days.

Folk traditions

Those who truly “observe” the feast of Pascha also meticulously observe the day of its Closure. They refrain from all labours at the hour of Vespers on the eve and they ceremoniously light their home’s oil lamp.

On the day of Closure of the Pascha feast (the eve of the Ascension), the faithful will greet with “CHRIST IS RISEN!” for the last time.  Housewives can dye or consume the last red eggs.  In some places, the laurel leaves that are scattered by the Priest in church at noon of Holy Saturday (when the Resurrection message is announced in advance of Sunday, with the words “RISE, O LORD!”) are ritually burnt as incense. (watch characteristic video clip:  https://youtu.be/hhoyTqmRbk0)



Translation:  A.N.

Article published in English on: 21-4-2022.

Last update: 21-4-2022.