Pascha: The Orthodox Easter

Orthodox AltarOrthodox Christians are ready to celebrate Easter, finding deep reasons for joy even amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As people gather in-person or online to worship together, different nations and diverse communities are coping with vastly different circumstances and challenges. Even amid this, Orthodox communities are drawing together to celebrate the risen Christ and the value of the human person.


Archimandrite Bartholomew Asteriadis, serving the Church of Saint Theodores in Orestiada (Greece) and Abbot of the Monastery of Agia Paraskevi (Nea Vyssa), said that Orthodox communities will not deviate from their holy days and traditions. “The services of the Orthodox Easter are performed normally throughout the Holy Week,” he said. “With great care and distinction, however, we follow the measures proposed from the authorities, out of respect and love for the faithful and our communities.”

Asteriadis said that the scientific community, healthcare workers and governments across the globe have gone through an unprecedented struggle for humankind. “We can support them by showing our solidarity, sacrificial love and spiritual strength,” he said. “The Orthodox Church can always find the way to resolve practical difficulties, having at the core of its teachings the cross.”

He added: “The love of Christ and the value of the human person, are the measures that guide us through these challenging times.”

Orthodox Altar

It has been difficult this year to visit beautiful places of worship such as the Church of Saints Theodores, Orestiada, Evros, Greece. Photo: Stamatis Grozoudis/WCC
Orthodox Passion of Jesus
Holy days have been reverently observed, whether in-person or online. Depicted here, the Monastery of Saint Paraskevi and Holy Protection. Photo: Stamatis Grozoudis/WCC
Orthodox Pascha
People gather with feelings of resiliency, finding comfort in each other’s presence in whatever way they can at the. Monastery of Saint Paraskevi and Holy Protection. Photo: Stamatis Grozoudis/WCC

During 2020, and now in 2021, the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians are celebrating Easter, carrying forth time-honored traditions even in difficult times. Orthodox churches are respecting their traditions while equally respecting government rules put into place to stop the spread of COVID-19. In 2021, some restrictions have eased as infections drop in some nations, while others are suffering under new waves of COVID-19.

Veneration of the Cross

A woman prays by an icon inside the Church of Saints Theodores, Orestiada, Evros, Greece, wearing a mask in view of the restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Stamatis Grozoudis/WCC

Orthodox Pascha
Professing their common faith in the crucified and risen Christ at the Church of Saints Theodores, Orestiada, Evros, Greece. Photo: Stamatis Grozoudis/WCC
Procession

Transmitting the light of hope and fearlessness that Christ gives us from one heart to another, at the Church of Saints Theodores, Orestiada, Evros, Greece. Photo: Stamatis Grozoudis/WCC
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Orthodox Pascha
Still connected by tradition at the Church of Saints Theodores, Orestiada, Evros, Greece. Photo: Photo: Stamatis Grozoudis/WCC

Many families still missed traditional travels out to ancestral villages, but many are celebrating Easter surrounded by immediate family or small groups. With the hope of eternity in their hearts, they radiate resurrection and hope.

 

Orthodox Altar
Orthodox communities are moving through Holy Week preparing for their traditional Easter celebrations, albeit amid challenging circumstances. Photo: Stamatis Grozoudis/WCC

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