Easter Tuesday (Lambri Triti) at Olympos village

The biggest ceremony of the year in Olympos village of Karpathos. During this Byzantine custom, the Icons from the main church are being carried on people's shoulders around the village to perform memorials at the other churches and the cemetery.
Photography / Text: Michael Pappas

It was Monday right after Easter, I was in the island for a week already to attend the Easter ceremonies and I was waiting to see the custom of Easter Tuesday.

I was in the village's church since early in the morning, some people started taking the icons out of the church of the village to carry them around the streets of the village.

We started from the narrow streets of the village but I liked it a lot when we got out of the village and I could have a clear view of the whole village.

We reached the cemetery where the priest read a blessing over each grave. The women of the village had made sweets for treats. Entering the ossuary was a special moment, the priest read blessings in the heavy atmosphere of incenses. The smoke was almost suffocating but at the same time made the whole scene very mystic. We left the cemetary after some hour had passed.

The icons were put back on the shoulders of the people who had started walking via small paths passing from the canyon below the village. The scenery had no trees, only rocks and undergrowth. We continued passing from many small chapels in each of which we stopped for the priest to read a blessing. During the whole litany, the women of the village were wearing the traditional costume. Only a very young girl wore shoes that were not part of the costume because the original ones were too difficult for her to wear and she made me promise not to photograph her shoes. 

We had descended too low and then we had to walk our way up to the village. Father John, even though he was 80 year old at the time and even though he had been chanting during the whole litany, he followed the litany without showing any hint of tiredness.

Entering the village, many people stood still watching the people carrying the icons passing by. There were also many tourists. All the girls were dressed formally and they stood in front of the church. That was the spot where the icons were placed in order for the believers to come and grovel. After that there was an auction: the one who would offer the most, he or she would have the privilege to put the icons back in the church.  

Tired from the whole route, after the custom ended, I ended up in a local store for some nice local food and good wine.

#byzantine #ancient #easter #church #icons #litany #memorial #tuesday #religion


Easter Tuesday (Lambri Triti) at Olympos village

Epar.Od. Pl. - Zakrou, Sitia 723 00, Ελλάδα
Karpathos island, South Aegean, Greece