|Wednesday, 29 November 2023|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-05-01
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Greek Orthodox Easter01 May 2005 11:50:00
By Despina Hristopoulou
Today, Orthodox Greeks everywhere are celebrating the biggest celebration of Christianity. In his Easter address, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew declared that the Holy Resurrection signals the essence of Christian faith, the defeat of death. In the meantime, preparations are underway all over Greece for Easter lunch. The coals are burning from dawn, so that the traditional lamb on the spit will be ready for the Easter feast, while the beautiful weather has proven a great ally. Most of the celebrations are taking place in rural Greece, since the Easter exodus was the most massive of the last few years, while Athens looks like a ghost town. The state and political leaders have opted for a traditional celebration. The President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, will spend the day with soldiers serving on one of the countrys border island, Kastelorizo. PM Kostas Karamanlis will visit a military camp in Attica, accompanied by Defence Minister Spilios Spyliotopoulos and the Chief of the Armed Forces (GEETHA).
PASOKs President George Papandreou will visit the military camp in Nafplio, while KKEs General Secretary Aleka Papariga will sit down to lunch at the Dekelia military airport in Tatoi. Finally, SYNs President Aleokos Alavanos will spend Easter on the island of Tinos, where he will visit senior citizens at a local old peoples home.
Translated by Vicky Ghionis
 Welcoming Ceremony at Athens Airport The Holy Light in Greece30 Apr 2005 19:48:00
By Annita Paschalinou
Orthodox Greeks are celebrating the biggest celebration of Christianity, the Resurrection of Christ and Holy Easter. The Holy Light arrived in Athens at 8pm on Easter Saturday from Jerusalem to bring the jubilant message of the Holy Resurrection of Christ to all the Greeks. A welcoming ceremony took place at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport in Athens in a very emotional climate. It was then transferred to the Holy Sepulchre in Plaka. Earlier, the Lighting Ceremony in Jerusalem was marred by violent incidents. Armenians and Orthodox Arabs had gathered outside the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and started launching threats against Patriarch Eirinaios.
Problems with Lighting Ceremony
A little before Patriarch Eirinaios entered the crypt of the Holy Sepulchre to receive the Holy Light, a group of Armenian clerics and pilgrims attacked him.
Clashes followed between them and the Patriarchs security men, while the police had to intervene and pull away the Armenians.
A little after 2pm, the Patriarch entered the crypt and emerged 15 minutes later with the Holy Light.
His security men carried him on their shoulders from the Holy Sepulchre to the Temple of Resurrection.
Inside the Temple, Mr Eirinaios handed the Holy Light over to the Greek delegation, so it could be carried back to Athens.
A few minutes later, and while referring to the Armenians attacks, he stressed that as was the case with previous years, once again the Armenians tried to claim the Holy Light from the Sepulchre.
He added, however, that this cannot be allowed.
"We will shed our blood if we have to, to keep the Holy Land," he emphasised.
When asked to comment on the incidents that took place on Good Friday, he said that they were prompted by a small group of Arabs.
More than 3,000 pilgrims travelled to Jerusalem from Greece, Cyprus and Russia, to celebrate Easter, while the Greek government was represented by Deputy Transport Minister Anastasios Nerantzis.
The Holy Light arrived in Eleftherios Venizelos Airport with an Olympic Airways flight, while a grand welcoming ceremony followed.
It was then transferred to the Holy Sepulchre in Plaka.
The First Resurrections
In Athens, the First Resurrection took place at 9am in the St Constantine Temple.
In keeping with tradition, the members of the congregation reenacted the Resurrection earthquake with firecrackers, while some rocked the chandeliers back and forth.
Tradition also has it that a First Resurrection is to take place on the island of Kerkyra. As soon as the bells started to toll, the locals started throwing terracotta urns from their windows.
Another morning Resurrection ceremony took place on the island of Chios, as per a Byzantine ritual.
Christ won the battle with death and the priest in the church of St Marina started throwing rose petals and palm tree leaves to the worshippers.
Translated by Vicky Ghionis
Holy Light Ceremony
First Resurrection of Christ
A Climate of War