Sunday, April 8, 2007

It's Greek to Me...

...but of course, it was Greek to everyone today as the Greek Orthodox Patriarch (pictured above - click on the pic to see him up close!) on his splenderous throne receiving the adoration of hundreds of worshippers celebrated Greek Orthodox Easter today - which happens this year to fall on the exact same day as what we know as "Roman Catholic" (i.e. Latin) Easter Sunday.*
The faithful with candles ablaze (huge fire hazard FYI) wept and sang as the Patriarch and his Bishops and Priests blessed the crowds, who could only fit about 300 at a time into the relatively small space of the Greek Orthodox section of the Church of the Holy Sepulchure. Hundreds more waited their turn to be dazzled by the sights, smells and sounds.
Smoke from incense and candles obscured the air within the Church, and undoubtedly I was the only Jewess among the crowd...but thankfully un-noticed, as I deliberatly dressed very "American" today as not to be religiously identifiable.
Arabic, German, Italian, English, French, Yugoslavian, Russian, and tounges of which I have no knowledge all rose together to proclaim: "Krystos Vostinyu! Vosgracy, Vostinyu!" ("Christ is Risen - Indeed, He is Risen!").
(Many apologies to any reader who actually knows how to pronounce this transliteration correctly)

*For inquiring is it that the two branches of Orthodox Christianity (Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus on different calendar days? That's another story, and best answered (for those who really want to know) by reading a short but wonderfully informative book called "Calendar: Humanity's Epic Struggle to Determine a True and Accurate Year" by David Ewing Duncan. I'll summarize by saying that the Jews have had a true and accurate calendar for 5767 years so far but when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire a great deal of effort, time and trouble was expended to create a "New and Improved" calendar that would not depend on the Jewish people as the newly Christian (post-Pagan) Romans were certain that Jews would shortly no longer exist, and that they needed a "Christian" way of telling time. Note to readers: Roman Empire = GONE. Jews = still here, still counting years the old fashioned way! :)

1 comment:

Jim Gleason said...

For inquiring minds:
The Roman Catholic Church (realizing its downward decline circa 800 b.c.(I think thats the right time frame)) decided to manufacture the God's son was Jesus issue) and subsequently preached to many different religious faiths and sects and in order to have those folsk comfortable with things, adopted many of these pagan holidays as "Christian". Hence, we have an egg laying bunny rabbit as an Easter Icon, along with Christmas, generally believed by most Roman Catholics as Jesus' birthday. Halloween (coined all Saint's/Soul's Day by the RC) celebrated in place of celebrating the day of the dead.