The celebration of the Resurrection of Christ in the monastic republic of Holy Mountain is a great event for the Athonite monks and for the pilgrims who come to Athos every year on the eve of Easter. For many centuries the peninsula has been famous for the special atmosphere of this great feast and the unchanging traditions of its celebration.
Resurrection in Mount Athos
There are temporal differences between the religious ceremonies in the churches of Mount Athos and those that take place outside the peninsula. Here the canons according to the sacred traditions and scriptures are observed, and there is no equation with the dates imposed for practical reasons, but long observed, which are generally accepted in Greece and throughout the Orthodox world.
In Athos, the Epitaphios procession does not take place on Good Friday night, as it does outside the monastic republic, but on Good Saturday morning.
The epitaph does not use a canopy, as in other churches, but only a cloth depicting the body of Jesus Christ, held by the ends by four monks. At noon on Good Friday, the fabric of the epitaph is placed in the Catholic church of each monastery on a plain table. Athos wildflowers are arranged around it, and at the end of the services the monks take a few flowers each for a blessing.
The Easter service begins in the temples of the monasteries at midnight and lasts until 6 am. All over the peninsula the joyful ringing of bells and chants are heard.
The Holy Fire on Holy Sunday is delivered by boat to the port of Daphne, and from there distributed to monasteries, sketes, and cells.
Monastic cuisine during the Lent
Vegetables, fruits, legumes, olives, halva and tahini are the main ingredients in the diet of the monks during Holy Week, as during the whole Lent period. Eggs and dairy products are not on the menu of monks for the entire period of Lent.
Fish is served once during Lent - on Annunciation or Palm Sunday, which depends annually on the date of Easter, since in some years the Great Resurrection coincides with the day of the Annunciation.
On Easter Sunday, after the festive service, perch or bream is served in monasteries. The priest gives the blessing for the consecration of eggs and cheese.