Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Surprising Splendor of Easter in Russia

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia performs the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow © Sergey Pyatakov / Sputnik

Although officially a secular state with a multi-confessional population, Russia celebrates Easter with vigor and style. RT takes you through some traditional ways of marking the events that have a religious origin but are happily followed by non-believers as well.  (RT:  A guide to Easter in Russia)

The magnificence of it quickly reminds of the Vatican but the colors make me think of Greek Orthodox.  For some types of religious occasions, there would be a parade in the street with their big smokes suited up in full kit just as in the image above.  They would slowly parade down the street with some carrying banners on poles showing Jesus things of some kind on them.  Even a small parade was magnificent.

American Christianity is whatever you make of it but it's not much colorful whereas that was not true with the Greeks or, apparently, the Russians.  All of them are Christians and I assume the evolution was Christianity / Catholicism and then Greek Orthodox then Russian Orthodox branches grew from that.  Unknown for sure but it seems logical.  All believe mostly the same things but the way they do it differs tremendously.

Here's a taste of the really gorgeous stuff in the RT article and the interested student ...

Easter Table, 1915 by Aleksandr Makovskiy

Painted eggs are a big part of the festive table and are not only a source of much-needed protein after the fast, but also provide entertainment.  To start with, decorating boiled eggs awakens all kinds of creativity. Food paint, boiled onion peel, stickers, gold leaf, rhinestones - anything goes.  Hitting eggs with table neighbors to see whose egg stays intact by the end of the dinner tournament is also a thing.  And then there's rolling eggs to see whose goes the furthest, usually played by children.

There's much more in the original article for the interested student ...

Note:  I've glommed onto this interested student bit because I think interested students are the most interesting people around and age / education have nothing to do with that.


Anonymous said...

Since most of Russia and Greece are Eastern Orthodox The ceremonies should be very similar

Peas InOurThyme said...

I'm a bit of a thud since I don't know how that evolved but I'm curious now.

Anonymous said...

I would think that since Greece is basically one of the Balkan States It wod be geographically a short walk

Peas InOurThyme said...

That's why it seems the path of the evolution. All things started in Rome but really started in Jerusalem so that was a cool stunt right off the top. The puzzle is whether Eastern Orthodox was part of Rome and then schismed it's way out or if they never went there at all. It seems it must have been a schism of some kind when the customs are so much alike.