Sunday, 15 April 2012


Many Orthodox Christians in Australia celebrate Easter (Pascha) according to the Easter date in the Julian calendar, usually later than the Western Church Easter, which is calculated according to the Gregorian calendar. Easter is the most important event in the Orthodox church calendar. The Easter Sunday church liturgies are joyous as they celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection, according to Christian belief, as well as commemorating a spiritual victory.

Many Orthodox Christians in Australia fast during Lent prior to Easter. Easter Sunday is a time for families and friends to get together for a festive meal, where meat and dairy products can be eaten again. Lamb and tsourekia (or tsoureki), which is a type of Easter bread, are popular Easter dishes in many Greek Orthodox communities in Australia. Many people leave the city and go in the countryside to celebrate Easter and spit roast the lamb over an open bed of charcoal.

Here are some of early (2000) digital photos from my archive, showing some shots of the Easter we celebrated in Shepparton, Victoria, a city located on the floodplain of the Goulburn River in the north east of Victoria, Australia, approximately 181 kilometres north-east of Melbourne. It is the fifth largest city in Victoria with an estimated population of 48,926. It began as a sheep station and river crossing before undergoing a major transformation as a railway town. Today it is an agricultural and manufacturing centre and the centre of the Goulburn Valley irrigation system, one of the largest centres of irrigation in Australia. It is a major regional service city and is the civic administration centre for the City of Greater Shepparton.

There are quite few Greeks there and the parish church of St George, although small had a wonderful resurrection liturgy on the midnight of Easter Saturday. On Easter Sunday it was wonderful to roast the lamb on the shores of the river.

This post is part of the Scenic Sunday meme,
and also of Psalm Sundayhosted by Louis and Robert.

The following hymn is sung at the resurrection in Orthodox churches at the midnight liturgy. 
Usually even non-religious Greeks will attend this glorious liturgy and just before midnight, will observe all the lights being put out in the church except for a lone holy flame burning in the holy of holies. From this ever-burning light the priest will light his Paschal candle and go out into the church and call out: “Come take the light!” The faithful light their own Paschal candles from this and soon the whole congregation that spills out into the surrounds of the church carry aloft their lit candles waiting for the priest to chant the resurrection message, while firecrackers and fireworks are let off:

Χριστός Ανέστη εκ νεκρών,
θανάτω θάνατον πατήσας
και τοις εν τοις μνήμασιν,
ζωήν χαρισάμενος

Christ is risen from dead,
On death treading victorious,
And to those in the grave
Giving the gift of life.


  1. Your Sunday posts are always so well thought out. It is always a pleasure to visit.


  2. Interesting to learn about Greek Orthodox Easter.

  3. We live in an area of Toronto called Greektown and a lot of our neighbours are celebrating today.

  4. Far traveled light - thank you for sharing this 'part' of Greece, from down-under.

    Meeting up with family-in law today and searching eggs with our son.

    Thank you very much for your kind participation. Please have a good week ahead.

  5. Thank you for sharing the Greek Orthodox way of celebrating the resurrection of Christ! Too bad some of the Western Protestant church left off some symbolic and relevant reminders.


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