EASTER IN SYROS
Easter in Syros island is a unique co-existence of Orthodoxy and Catholicism, a wonderful combination of senses, aromas, tastes and experiences
Easter in Syros is a special occasion and an absolutely unforgettable experience!
Here, Easter is always celebrated by both Orthodox and Catholics (regardless of the date of Catholic Easter) and it is one of the few occasions in the world that these two different Christian communities celebrate this holiday simultaneously.
Upon your arrival in Syros during the Holy Week, you feel as a protagonist in a story that evolves into a cosmopolitan setting, dominated by Medieval and Cycladic architecture, Orthodox and Catholic churches, spring and Easter scents.
From the first moment you step on the island, you get really fascinated!
The island’s imposing churches are your compass and the point of reference in the course of this mystagogical exploration.
“Agios Nikolaos” church at “Vaporia” district welcomes you when the ship approaches the port and before you manage to capture this majestic spectacle, you get captivated by the magnificent view towards the church of the Transfiguration of the Savior (Metamorphosis) on the hill of Hermoupolis and on the opposite side the church of Saint George, known as “San Giorgis”.
Start with short daytime wanderings in the labyrinthine streets of Hermoupolis, which these days are overwhelmed by the smells of Easter cookies, Easter bread (tsoureki) and traditional desserts, emphatically announcing the Resurrection of Jesus.
On Holy Tuesday, after a walk in “Vaporia”, the prestigious neighborhood of Hermoupolis, which travels you back in the 19th century, when refugees arrived at Syros and built their mansions, you reach the church of Agios Nikolaos. Its lavish interior and its famous chorus chanting the Kassiani hymns fascinate whoever enters the church.
On Holy Friday afternoon, between 4:00 and 5:30pm, at Agia Varvara Monastery in the village of Kini, during the Divine Liturgy and the procession of the bier of Christ, we experienced peace, blessing and devotion, in an area dominated by the scents of spring.
The simultaneous celebration of the Catholic and Orthodox Easter in Syros gives a unique grandeur to the island. And you realize that when you find yourself in Ano Syros, during the procession of the Catholic epitaphs from the temples of Saint George (San Giorgis) and Agios Sevastianos (Saint Sebastian); it’s a unique and different experience.
But as time passes, the moment for the procession of the three Orthodox Epitaphs and their meeting at Miaoulis Square in Hermoupolis is approaching. Choose to stand on the stairs in front of the Town Hall to watch the event. The hymns of the choir of Agios Nikolaos and the band of the Municipality announce their arrival, along with the crowd of faithful who accompany them in a religious way. At the moment when the epitaphs and the crowd following them meet, you realize that devotion, silence, inwardness and expectation for the climax of the divine drama prevail in the atmosphere. The scenery is mystical and emotionally charged. The divine drama culminates in a way that generates amazement and the feeling that this event is taking place for the first time, before your eyes!
The First Resurrection is celebrated in the morning of the Holy Saturday, while at the same time faithful in Orthodox churches announce the event in their own way: hitting the pews vigorously, in a pandemonium of sounds, resurrection hymns, and a rain of lemon leaf scattered by the priests.
The evening of the same day, at the announcement of the Resurrection of Christ, Hermoupolis, the elegant lady of the Aegean, shines under the fireworks set off from the hill of the Resurrection, revealing the island’s unique elegance and splendor and radiating the resurrection message across the Aegean.
This evening ends ideally with a gourmet meal. The traditional “mageiritsa” (Greek Easter soup) and the roast lamb with lemon potatoes are waiting for you at all local taverns.
In the morning of Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday) the smells of skewered lambs and kokoretsi (lamb or goat intestines wrapped around seasoned offal) are spread all over the island. Whether you stay in Hermoupolis or choose one of the beautiful villages of Syros, you will come across very hospitable people who will invite you to join them to taste delicious appetizers and Syros wine.
In the afternoon, after the Vespers, watch the burning of Judas in the church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary. Remember that in this temple Dominikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) painted the icon of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
During Easter time Syros can offer you many intense and cinematic moments that create experiences and memories of a lifetime! What you surely feel when you are in Syros during Easter time is that you don’t want to be anywhere else except there!