Domenico Laviano – Olympos
Olympos is a village nestled in the mountains of Karphatos, one of the most remote islands of Greece in the south-east of the Aegean Sea inhabited by a few hundred inhabitants. A place where it seems that time has stopped, also, because it preserves ancient traditions. A unique place, nestled between the mountains of the island, overlooking the rugged Greek landscape and the Aegean Sea.
Orthodox Easter in Olympos, follows the Byzantine rite and also includes the remembrance of the dead on the Tuesday after Easter, which is known as the “Tuesday of Souls”.
During Holy Week, the church of Olympos is filled with faithful who participate in religious services, including evening prayers, processions and the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
On Holy Thursday the Liturgy of the Last Supper is celebrated, during which the Eucharistic bread and wine are blessed.
On Good Friday, during the day, the church is the site of a truly moving tradition: the women of the village dressed in black decorate the coffin of the Epitaph with flowers and pin photographs of friends and family who have disappeared in the last year, along with dedications. Late in the evening, the Epitaph is taken to all the houses of the village, stopping at those who have lost loved ones, where the names of the deceased are read.
Saturday is the day dedicated to the preparation of Easter lunch. The women make bread in the ancient ovens and the goat is cooked, a typical dish of this festival. In the evening the Easter rite begins, which lasts for hours, in a church full of people.
On the Tuesday after Easter, the community goes to cemeteries to commemorate their deceased loved ones. The faithful bring candles, flowers and food to the graves of their deceased and pray for them. This gesture symbolizes hope in the resurrection and faith in eternal life.
In summary, the community of Olympos, gathers around its priest (Pope) and participates in the celebrations of the Divine Liturgy, the procession of the Epitaph, the midnight mass, the Easter banquet and the Tuesday of Souls. These are rituals and celebrations that have remained unchanged over time in the Orthodox community of Olympos and unite, citizens and non-citizens, in a festive celebration.