Overnight processions, exquisite Byzantine hymns and pious faces in silence. Those who found themselves spending Holy Week on Mount Athos spoke for an unbelievable experience.
Here everything is different, especially these days. Nature, people, everything feels the mourning of the Passion of Christ. Easter in Mount Athos is celebrated by monks and pilgrims of the holy Monasteries in absolute awe and decency.
The Holy Week culminates with the crucifixion of Christ on Holy Thursday, with the Sequence of the Passions of the Christ, and then the rest of the sequences follow with great symbolisms.
Good Friday does not have the dramatic element and splendor of the parishes, since in Mount Athos everything is made with simplicity and seclusion. A testimony from the Gregory Monastery says that the epitaph was a simple table in the center of the temple, without a canopy, with the shepherd’s cloth and the sacred gospel, the “carved and black” icon of Christ and a few flowers that assembled in the morning by pilgrims.
The Resurrection sequence commences at about 2 am and ends at dawn, with the bells joyfully ringing. After the end of the Sequence, the monks and the faithful join the Bank for the Easter table consisting solely of fish-soup and fish, and at around 12 to 1 at noon to midnight where the Holy Gospel ‘Vespers of Love’ is read with the bells endlessly ringing.
On Easter Monday the procession of the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary (Axion Esti) takes place in Karyes, the capital of Mount Athos. The Divine Liturgy ends in the Temple of Protaton and follows the periphery of the icon, along with the Mount Athos leadership including monks and hundreds of pilgrims. It takes about 5 hours and 30 minutes with the bells chanting in cheer.
Happy Easter to everyone from the center of Christianity and all of its divine glory.