ONE @ 50: Truly He Is Risen

In honor of ONE magazine’s 50th-anniversary year, the CNEWA blog series, ONE @ 50: From the Vault, aims to revive and explore the wealth of articles published in ONE magazine throughout its history. In anticipation of Easter on the Julian calendar on Sunday, read about the celebration of Easter on the Greek island of Patmos.

Read an excerpt from “Truly He Is Risen” below, then read the full story.

No one celebrates Easter better than the Greeks. And nowhere in Greece is Easter more special than on Patmos — one of the 12 Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea, near Turkey.

Pilgrims from mainland Greece dominate Patmos during the paschal season … At the end of a trip that takes about 10 hours, Greeks pour off countless ferries that originate at the Athenian port of Piraeus.

I have arrived on Patmos after spending Palm Sunday in Khania on Crete, where I stop in at the government tourist office to “get directions” to the Greek Orthodox Easter services. I am handed a sheet of paper — in Greek — listing the liturgies that will take place during the week.

My own notes, taken from guidebooks and with notes made during chitchat with local Patmians, soon fill the sheet’s margins — along with details of festivities and feasts I do not want to miss.

My drawings of an egg and fireworks are indicators of a few of the distinctive traditions to come. There is some scribbling regarding a special flame arriving from Jerusalem by helicopter on Holy Saturday. I add a question mark to remind myself to check this out further.

Ironically, I have learned that many Greeks choose to spend Easter on Patmos because of a first-century visitor, a visitor who traveled there against his own will.

Read more

Marilyn Raschka is a frequent contributor to these pages.

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