The Resurrection is the biggest event in the Greek religious calendar. Unlike the Protestant view of the story of Easter which is about sin, its redemption and the consequent view that Jesus receives the punishment that is due to us and is crucified, the Orthodox church does not obsess with sin and Jesus' suffering. The emphasis is on Jesus 'leaping from the grave, not hanging on a cross. It's about life triumphant over death'. The resurrection is what matters, not the crucifixion.
Giles Fraser in his excellent article in the Guardian, that you can see here , makes some interesting connections between the story of Easter and the present Greek debt:
'The western church typically criticises the eastern view for having a 'free lunch' view of salvation. No pain, no gain, insists Anselm. The eastern church says that the west fetishises suffering and is more committed to some iron logic of cosmic necessity than to God for whom all things are possible.
Atheists such as Alexis Tsipras, the Greek leader, may think both of these are fantasies. But for present purposes that's beside the point. It's worth recognising that these two completely different stories support two contrasting moral worldviews and different attitudes towards economics in general and capitalism in particular. Tsipras - like me - is very much more in the Greek Orthodox camp when it comes to salvation. And the Lutheran minister's daughter Angela Merkel is very much in the western one. He wants to leap free from death-dealing debt. She believes it must be paid back, no matter how much blood and pain is involved'.
Wanting to celebrate the resurrection but needing a quiet time after all the crowds on Good Friday we decided to go to our local church, Agia Sotira in Kalamaki.
At midnight the bells started tolling and the first candle lights appeared at the entrance of the church. The light that arrives from Jerusalem and is distributed to all the churches in Greece is passed on from the priest to members of the congregation who then share the light out. For more about this go here .
There's a lot of sharing whilst the priests chant Christos Anesti, Christ has risen.
And then that's it, except for the fireworks
Most people start heading home, making sure their candles don't go out, so that they can light their kandili in front of the family icon.
The little boy on the right in this picture obviously did not manage to sell all the candles.
The service will go on until the early hours of the morning, but only the very devout will stay until the end.