Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The Procession with the Epitaphion

On Holy Thursday night, after the Passions service ended around 11:00 PM, the women of the parish --a group of probably about a dozen -- decorated the bier with fresh flowers until about 3:00 in the morning. On Holy Friday, the tradition is Greece is for everyone, if they are not able to attend the services of the Hours and the Apokathelosis, to go to the church to venerate the epitaphion placed on the bier during the service of the Apokathelosis, which usually takes place late in the morning, although some do it in the early afternoon. Some even go to multiple churches to venerate and to compare the beauty of each parish's bier.

On Holy Friday night, of course, we had the service of the Lamentations, followed by a procession throughout Portaria. The whole village participates in this, with people following the procession or waiting at their houses along the route, all holding lit candles. Since Portaria has two parishes, there is a nice tradition for the parish's procession routes to cross (as one goes under the bridge, one goes over) and then to meet at the town's central square for petitions and a short homily.

In the photo above, our parish is processing along the town's cobblestone roads. In the background of the photo above is the house where the sisters of Alexandros Papadiamantis lived.

Here we are ascending the cobblestone path, where fresh spring water runs down the side, with the bridge overheard, where the other parish crossed.

Here we are gathered in the village square. To the left is Fr. Agathonas, the priest of the other parish, and to the right of me is the village mayor.

Here are the two biers, side by side. Our parish's is on the right. (Incidentally, most people agreed ours was better!)  :)

Fr. Agathonas gave a nice homily on the day, encouraging all the people (since this was an opportunity to address everyone in the village, as well as many visitors) to attend the services in the church.

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