Greek Atheists Association (GAA) organized a Meat Supper on April 29 or Great Friday, when the country’s Orthodox Christians observe a stringent Lent, even avoiding the consumption of oil.
“We refrain from mourning and fasting but not from logic, and especially from the representatives’ commands of alleged supernatural beings,” the organization said in a statement while inviting everyone to join them for dinner at Grill Taverns in Athens, Thessaloniki and Xanthi on April 29, 2016.
GAA described the event as the Disclosed Supper in juxtaposition to the Last Supper, which Greeks typically refer to as the Secret Supper. The organization threw an open invite to every person in the country, specifying details about the venue and timing on its website. According to the listed information, the event commenced at 8 pm, only an hour before the Epithaphios procession, where the faithful along with priests carry a large embroidered cloth of “Lamentation upon the Grave” through the streets of Orthodox Greece.
Great Friday is the parallel of Good Friday as observed by Orthodox Christians in Greece, who remember the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion and death at Calvary. The Orthodox dates typically differ from those observed by western churches because most orthodox churches continue to follow some version of the Julian calendar that predates the Gregorian calendar, which is commonly used today.
Since the sacrifice of Christ through his crucifixion is commemorated on this day, the Divine Liturgy is not celebrated on Great Friday unless it coincides with the Great Feast of Annunciation, which falls on the fixed date of March 25 on the Julian calendar and April 7 on the Gregorian calendar. On this day, the clergy refrains from wearing red or purple that is customary through Great Lent and dons black vestments instead. As opposed to the West, there is no stripping of the altar on Great Thursday and all church decorations are changed to black until the Divine Liturgy takes place on Great Saturday.
As the faithful relive the events of the day through public reading of certain Gospels and Psalms and singing of hymns pertaining to Christ’s crucifixion, rich visual imagery and symbolism accompanied with stirring hymnody constitute remarkable elements of these observations. According to Orthodox understanding, the events of Holy Week are not merely a yearly commemoration of past events but the faithful truly participate in the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ.
Great Friday is observed as a stringent fast, with adult Byzantine Christians being expected to abstain from all foods and drinks the entire day as long as their health permits them to do so.
Photo Credits: Time and Date