Welcoming Ceremony at Athens Airport The Holy Light in Greece

The Hellenic Radio (ERA), Greece
May 1 2005

Welcoming Ceremony at Athens Airport The Holy Light in Greece
30 Apr 2005 19:48:00
By Annita Paschalinou

Orthodox Greeks are celebrating the biggest celebration of
Christianity, the Resurrection of Christ and Holy Easter. The Holy
Light arrived in Athens at 8pm on Easter Saturday from Jerusalem to
bring the jubilant message of the Holy Resurrection of Christ to all
the Greeks. A welcoming ceremony took place at Eleftherios Venizelos
Airport in Athens in a very emotional climate. It was then
transferred to the Holy Sepulchre in Plaka. Earlier, the Lighting
Ceremony in Jerusalem was marred by violent incidents. Armenians and
Orthodox Arabs had gathered outside the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem
and started launching threats against Patriarch Eirinaios.

Problems with Lighting Ceremony

A little before Patriarch Eirinaios entered the crypt of the Holy
Sepulchre to receive the Holy Light, a group of Armenian clerics and
pilgrims attacked him.

Clashes followed between them and the Patriarchs security men, while
the police had to intervene and pull away the Armenians.

A little after 2pm, the Patriarch entered the crypt and emerged 15
minutes later with the Holy Light.

His security men carried him on their shoulders from the Holy
Sepulchre to the Temple of Resurrection.

Inside the Temple, Mr Eirinaios handed the Holy Light over to the
Greek delegation, so it could be carried back to Athens.

A few minutes later, and while referring to the Armenians attacks, he
stressed that as was the case with previous years, once again the
Armenians tried to claim the Holy Light from the Sepulchre.

He added, however, that this cannot be allowed.

“We will shed our blood if we have to, to keep the Holy Land,” he
emphasised.

When asked to comment on the incidents that took place on Good
Friday, he said that they were prompted by a small group of Arabs.

More than 3,000 pilgrims travelled to Jerusalem from Greece, Cyprus
and Russia, to celebrate Easter, while the Greek government was
represented by Deputy Transport Minister Anastasios Nerantzis.

The Holy Light arrived in Eleftherios Venizelos Airport with an
Olympic Airways flight, while a grand welcoming ceremony followed.

It was then transferred to the Holy Sepulchre in Plaka.

The First Resurrections

In Athens, the First Resurrection took place at 9am in the St
Constantine Temple.

In keeping with tradition, the members of the congregation reenacted
the Resurrection earthquake with firecrackers, while some rocked the
chandeliers back and forth.

Tradition also has it that a First Resurrection is to take place on
the island of Kerkyra. As soon as the bells started to toll, the
locals started throwing terracotta urns from their windows.

Another morning Resurrection ceremony took place on the island of
Chios, as per a Byzantine ritual.

Christ won the battle with death and the priest in the church of St
Marina started throwing rose petals and palm tree leaves to the
worshippers.

Translated by Vicky Ghionis

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