CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Millions of Orthodox Christians across the world and many in our area will be celebrating Easter on Sunday. At Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Springfield Easter was celebrated all weekend.
There were services on Friday and Saturday including a resurrection service Saturday night which had more than 300 people and concluded after 2 a.m. Sunday morning is when the most important prayers are said.
“It’s the culmination of a whole week of services where we look at what has happened, look at what Christ came to tell us about, but more specifically how our relationship is with God,” expressed Charlie Knight of Springfield.
Both Easter Sundays celebrate the resurrection of Christ and observe the Holy week leading up to Easter. However, the dates for these celebrations are different based on which calendar is used.
While Western Christians use the Gregorian Calendar created by Pope Gregory in 1582, Orthodox Christians use the Julian Calendar designed by Julius Caesar in 45 BC. Unlike Easter celebrated by Catholics and Protestants, Orthodox Easter always happens after the Jewish festival of Passover.
“We’re all Christians, we all believe in a trinity. It’s really a calculation that one week falls different from another, but overall we believe in Christ that he rose from the dead and he died for our sins, and we celebrate it,” explained Fr. Dionysios Koulianos, the Cathedral Dean at Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
The actual celebrations of the two Easters are very similar, but there are some differences in traditions. In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the preparations begin with Great Lent, 40 days of reflection and fasting, which starts on Clean Monday and ends on Lazarus Saturday.