Saturday, April 30, 2016

Χριστός Ανέστη!

Our friend Father Grigorios Nanakoudis (at center) has been busy today at Agios Nicolaos on the Greek island of Spetses. There were morning services, then preparations for tonight's Resurrection ceremony at midnight (in Greece).

Marti and I met Father Grigorios on Spetses a few years ago. It was after a Sunday service. At the coffee hour he identified us as visitors and invited my bride and me into the parish hall, where the elderly bishop was holding court with a few friends in what can only be called the VIP area. Since then, Grigorios has kept in touch via Facebook. (Later, our Greek deli friends back in Paris howled with laughter when we told them about a Greek priest on Facebook!) Hey, it's the 21st century!

He is a young Greek Orthodox priest who has been studying Russian in Saint Petersburg. In fact, he was due to fly back to that city the next day when we invited him to my 70th birthday dinner on Spetses last year. I was so honored that he found time to spend the evening with us. He told priest jokes (in English!) and gave me a beautiful icon, which my Russian language student-computer tech Morgan confirmed as being from a particularly exquisite school of Russian Orthodox religious painting.

Today Father Grigorios posted this lovely Agios Nicolaos Good Friday photo by Antonios Giannopolous.

On Good Friday they sing my favorite Greek Orthodox hymn, Αι Γενεαί Πασαι - Ω Γλυκύ μου έαρ - εγκώμια της Παναγίας. This footage is from Athens a couple of years ago.

Tonight at 11 p.m. (to be in sync with midnight in Greece, I guess), the bishop at my church, the Cathedral of Saint Stephen, will emerge from behind the iconostasis, the wall of icons that separates the nave from the sanctuary in an Orthodox church, bearing a single candle symbolizing the Resurrection. Slowly the darkened cathedral wil brighten as the light is passed from parishioner to parishioner. Marti, our friend Nate and I will be outside with a couple of hundred others in front of the jam-packed church, awaiting light for our candles and watching the procession of the bishop, priests and attendants outdoors and then back into the cathedral. Everyone will be singing the following hymn (this version from a small Orthodox Church in Hersonissos port in Crete, Greece):

Χριστός Ανέστη! Christ is risen!

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