Religious festivals with centuries-old traditions and customs take place throughout the year in Greece and Orthodox Easter is one of the greatest such celebrations. Greeks follow the Holy Week...
Easter on the island of the ApocalypseDuring the Passion Week, on the island of the Apocalypse, on Patmos, visitors are immersed in a deeply spiritual atmosphere. The Monastery of St John brings about an uninterrupted observance and practice of well- preserved Early Christian traditions.
“The Washing of the Disciples’ Feet” on Maundy Thursday is the most important church ceremony. The Abbot portrays the role of Christ who washed the feet of His disciples before His Crucifixion. On this day, a stage as a platform is constructed in the square of the capital village Chora. In an awe-inspiring ceremony, the Abbot, after washing the feet of 12 monks, steps off the stage and heads for a sacred place to pray, reminding us of the way Jesus followed towards the Garden of Gethsemane. The reenactment of the Deposition from the Cross takes place in the Monastery of St. John. On the same evening, Epitaphs of the various churches fill the narrow cobbled streets and paths of the island to meet at the central squares of Chora (a UNESCO world heritage site) and Skala (Patmos’ port).
In the evening of Easter Saturday, the Monastery opens its gates to welcome us for the celebration of the Resurrection. Locals and visitors have the unique opportunity to attend an Eastern Orthodox mass in a mystic atmosphere of devout concentration, held in one of the most important Christian monasteries. When “Christos Anesti” (Christ is risen) is heard, an impressive display of fireworks light up the night sky.
It’s time to celebrate. People walk down through the labyrinthine alleys of mediaeval Chora in search of restaurants and tavernas to savour some of the traditional Easter dishes, as the 40-day period of fasting finally comes to an end.
However, the highlight of Easter ceremonies is the “Liturgy of Love”, held on Easter Sunday at 3 in the afternoon at the Monastery of St. John. During this liturgy, which is dedicated to the Second Resurrection, the Gospel of the Resurrection is read in seven different languages. At the end of the mass, red eggs are offered by the Abbot to all the attendants, as a symbol of the perpetual rebirth of life and nature.
When the religious ceremonies are over, it’s time for you to explore the island, and to join in the Easter Sunday festivities. The tables are set waiting to offer you all the Greek culinary delights which mark the victory of life over death under the dazzling sun of April. The island boasts stunning natural beauties that you must discover! It is also worth following scenic paths around the island, visiting other smaller or bigger monasteries (like the women’s Monastery of Evangelismos) and of course basking in beautiful sun-drenched beaches!