Easter in Kythera island

Every year during the Orthodox Easter, a massive litany takes place at the island of Kythera. People follow the Icon of Virgin Mary around the island for about two weeks.
Photography / Text: Michael Pappas

I was at Kithira for Easter, I had visited a friend that worked there.

We attended the Procession ceremony in the Chora of Kithira, the Resurrection ceremony in Agia Pelagia and on Sunday morning we descended again to Agia Pelagia in which we found locals roasting 12 lambs on the beach, the spits in a row.

The next day I was woken up by church bells. I asked the landlady what was happening and she told me that the Monday after Easter is the day when the litany of the Holy Mary the Mirtidiotissa starts its "journey" to all over the island!!I left my friend sleeping, I took my camera and I headed for the church of the village to watch the ceremony and get more information about it.  

A lot of people had gathered there, the Mass had already started. After a while the litany commenced. The band of the island was in the head of the litany and behind them the icon in the hands of the believers. The litany passes through the streets of the village, the river, the nursing home, the hospital, chapels, the cemetary, before it exits the village to the next one.

The route to the next village was very interesting. By the time we arrived the night had already fallen and I had to find a way to return. I tried to hitch-hike back but all the cars were leaving the village packed. My friend did not have a car to come and pick me up so I started walking my way back. No cars in sight. Fortunately, after some time I heard a car approaching and the driver stopped.

The next day I had to be in the last village where the litany had stopped, early in the morning, since the litany would go on from there to the next village.

The litany lasts for almost 2 weeks in order for the icon of Holy Mary to pass from all villages of the island. I managed to stay only for a week, I did not know how long it would last in the first place so I hadn't programmed accordingly.

Certainly I want to go back and follow the litany in its full, 2 weeks, time.

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Easter in Kythera island

Epar.Od. Agias Pelagias-Kapsaliou Potamos
Kithira, Ionian Islands, Greece