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Religious events

Easter

Easter celebrations are an essential part of popular orthodoxy in Greece. The special emphasis put on Easter comes from the pre-Christian period, with the myths and rituals of Ancient Greece (...)

Easter celebrations are an essential part of popular orthodoxy in Greece. The special emphasis put on Easter comes from the pre-Christian period, with the myths and rituals of Ancient Greece associated with spring, death and renewal. The symbolism of Easter in Greece is also strongly related to the Greek revolution which took place in the spring of 1821. There are similarities between the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the Greek nation and the liberation of the Greeks from Ottoman rule. The ways Greeks participate in Easter festivities are, for example, by going to church at midnight on Saturday, for the mass of the resurrection of Christ, and almost universally, regardless of their religiosity. There are also different religious rites and folkloric Easter traditions according to the different regions of Greece. Thus, Orthodoxy seems to function as a cultural operator regardless of religious belief and the religious factor.

D 19 September 2012    ALina Molokotos

Manifestations of popular religion

The cult of saints and the Virgin Mary is largely integrated into official church practice, without reference or mediation of the clergy. There are for example personal exchanges between the (...)

The cult of saints and the Virgin Mary is largely integrated into official church practice, without reference or mediation of the clergy. There are for example personal exchanges between the faithful and Christ, the Virgin Mary or the saints for different existential or material problems, in the form of promises and thanksgiving plaques.
The Orthodox religion in Greece is inseparable from icons. They play an essential role in the instruction and non-verbal practices of the Orthodox Church. They are the point of contact between the faithful and the sacred, that is to say symbolic representations of the sacred event that is commemorated in the liturgy and ways of encouraging the faithful to participate in the liturgy. In the Orthodox tradition, icons are particularly important because they represent and give public focus to the sacred through the representation of saints and the Virgin Mary in the form of historical characters. Certain icons are even linked to miracles, like the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary on the island of Tinos through a divine vision of sister Pelagie in 1822, during the second year of the Greek revolution against the Ottomans. Today on this site there is the Panagia Cathedral (Virgin Mary) in Tinos which has become an important place of pilgrimage in Greece. It is a place of hope and a place for believers to come together, especially during the feast of the Annunciation on 15 March (date of Greece’s independence) and of the Virgin Mary on 15 August. These two dates are national and religious feast days in Greece.

D 19 September 2012    ALina Molokotos

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