Friday, 17 April 2009


“Where man sees but withered leaves, God sees sweet flowers growing.” - Albert Laighton

Today is the Greek Orthodox Good Friday, which is the most solemn and sorrowful day in the Christian calendar. No work should be done on this day of prayer and reflection when one should mourn for Christ’s death on the cross. No iron tools should be handled and hammers and nails are to be avoided especially it is said, lest you crucify Christ anew. If clothes are washed on this day, a member of the family will die. As the clothes hang out to dry they will be spotted with blood. This belief is from the apocryphal story that relates of a washerwoman mockingly throwing dirty washing water on Christ on his way to Calvary. Parsley seed can be planted on this day, provided a wooden spade is used.

The Greek Orthodox religion is particularly rich in tradition on this day. During the whole day, church masses are said with the most moving and mournful chanting ( The church icons are covered with dark purple cloth and the mighty church bells fall silent until Easter Sunday. The Epitaphios (a symbolic representation of Christ's bier), is decorated with flowers and the faithful parade past it in order to worship a embroidered icon with the dead Christ depicted on it. On Good Friday evening, the Epitaphios is ceremoniously carried through the parish in a magnificent candlelit procession, followed by the priest and the entire congregation who hold lit candles.

Fasting is mandatory and only fruit, vegetables and boiled pulses are to be eaten without any trace of oil. It is customary to drink some vinegar on this day to remember the vinegar Christ was given to drink on the cross when he was athirst.

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