Eastern Orthodox Easter
Easter ended on Sunday for Protestants and Roman Catholics, but it falls on this Sunday, April 19, for the world’s 200,000+ Eastern Orthodox. And for this version of Easter, red eggs are better than chocolate bunnies.
Start with Fact Monster. It’s a surprisingly lucid yet accurate explanation of why the Greek, Russian and other Orthodox churches don’t celebrate Easter along with their Catholic and Protestant counterparts. If you do want a more detailed explanation, you can get it here.
Of course, there’s no substitute for the original sources. For that, there’s the Orthodox Christian Network, with Podcasts and streaming videos. They’re produced by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Fort Lauderdale, which has a production studio onsite.
Also click this link, from a newspaper in southern California, for a rundown of Easter that takes in several Orthodox branches — including Russian, Serbian, Antiochian and others. The story is also handy for the pop-up notes for terms like “subdeacon” and “Holy Saturday.”
A heartfelt article by actress Rita Wilson, wife of Tom Hanks, tells of Easter preparations growing up in her Greek household: the blood-red eggs, the braided cookies called koulorakia, the funeral procession as worshipers follow the Epitaphio, a stylized casket for a Christ icon.
Along the way, you’ll learn some fascinating lore. Like how Russian jeweler Peter Carl Faberge created those incredibly ornate eggs that bear his name. And how a priest reads the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter in as many languages as he can manage.
Finally, click this link for an Orthodox Church in Anaheim, Calif., and see all the translations — “Christos Anesti,” “Chrestos Voskrese,” “Al Massi eh Kam,” “Kristo Ame Fu Fuka,” “Ua Ala Hou ‘O Kristo,” ” Ha Ri Su To’ Su Fuc Katsu” — that mean “Christ is Risen.” That will give you a taste of how universal the Eastern Orthodox Communion is.