Greece revisited. Part 2: Peeking into Greek Orthodoxy

There is more to tell about Kastrosikia before leaving for Ammotopos. So today was “Good Friday” (which I find kind of inappropriate considering that Jesus kind of died this day…”Black Friday” would be more adequate but that’s already taken by the retail business, which doesn’t make sense either. But anyway.). The local highlight was the visit of a the village church by dwellers of Kastrosikia and its immediate surroundings. Starting from around 7 PM and continuing for one or two hours, the priest and religious community started chanting a number of similar sounding songs in ancient Greek, interrupted by incense and holy water blessings. Everyone was standing in the little chapel around a kind of decorated altar which represented Jesus’ grave.

I felt like a strange mix of an entitled member, after my near death experience in a Greek Orthodox baptistry as a baby, and a stranger, and being noticed as such by my dress and the way I probably smirked at everything self-importantly. While this was also a social event, with many women clearly not wearing their high heels for Jesus but for other more alive men, I was impressed by the apparent sincerity of sentiments of many of the present and somewhat envied them for their capacity to have such an equally simplistic and satisfying belief system. How easy life must be, I thought, if the last question is always answered by an unquestionable supernational entity that can be used as a projection ground for all kinds of things. How nice to have a community like this to turn to, where cohesion, social standing and image is everything and the rules and priorities of everyday life are clearly defined. Whenever the priest turned my way and looked me in the eye while swaying his golden incense thingy towards me I felt guilty for not obediently crossing myself as everyone else did, but would have found it more sinful to pretend to be religious. So I just smiled at him awkwardly, which was not reciprocated, probably due to the gravity of the religious occasion where smiling was not the appropriate thing to do. Most of the people were wearing black by the way, as if mourning. At some point even my atheist ever cynical dad was touched by some passage in the singing which to me sounded the same as everything else but obviously must have contained some special meaning.

When things became too repetitive, we left and did not wait for the symbolic grave being taken out of the chapel, carried around and adored by the crowd, but decided to go back to our balcony and toasting to Jesus with a wine on our balcony instead.

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