Greek Orthodox Celebrations on Holy Saturday

This past weekend the Greek Orthodox Church celebrated Easter, a week after Western Christians celebrated Easter. There is a liturgy held Holy Saturday morning to celebrate the first announcement of Christ’s resurrection. This celebration includes the tossing of laurels to parishioners in the congregation. Fr. Christophoros Gourlis celebrated this in this best way possible:

Nothing gets the parishioners more excited about a liturgical celebration than an enthusiastic celebrant.

Later in the day, another tradition is celebrated on Holy Saturday where people throw water-filled jugs in Corfu, Greece. Families gather on their balconies and throw the jars down to the streets below as thousands of onlookers get sprayed by the water as the jars break.



  1. How active compared to our Western Holy Saturday watching and meditating at the tomb! I think the Orthodox have it all over us in the West when it comes to Holy Saturday.

    1. I’ve only seen watches at the tomb in Polish parishes in the USA, where the church is open on Holy Saturday and the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, covered by a veil in a representation of the tomb with a statue of the body of the buried Savior. Most parishes around here are bustling about setting up and decorating on Holy Saturday and don’t have the quiet meditation that you speak of.
      These videos are example of folk religion and not liturgical practice. The Triodion does indeed call for the celebrant to scatter bay around the church before the reading of the first Resurrection gospel at the Vespers and Divine Liturgy of St. Basil on Saturday morning, but here it seems that the people are in it to ‘get something.’ It’s kind of a kin to the recent you tube video going around of a priest asperging the people with a super soaker. This Liturgy is extremely long and it’s doubtful that most will stay for the whole thing, though many do make their ‘Easter duty’ at this Liturgy rather than on Pascha itself. As with the midnight service, where many come for the procession to receive the Light but don’t stay for the Matins service and the Divine Liturgy which follow.

  2. A tip of the cap to ROCOR’s Church of S. John the Baptist in D.C. for their excellent live streaming of the Pascha Service as well as other services. I was very edified by the devotion of the people who remained to the end. Indeed I could not but think of the phrase, the blessed company of all faithful people, as the camera panned out over the congregation which shone forth with ‘gaudia paschalia.’

    A quick word of praise to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem for their regularly posted videos of various ecclesiastical events. It is quite exciting to see familiar places being sanctified by these divine services.

    I do wish that the Catholics had an equally interesting video site for their holy land services are beautiful and should be better known

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