NEW YORK PRAYS: christos anesti


Built in 1927 and located in Queens, Saint Demetrios Cathedral serves one of the country's largest and strongest Hellenic-American communities. 

Easter is the most sacred observance in the Greek Orthodox faith. The midnight Service of the Resurrection is an occasion attended by everyone who is able, including children, each holding a white candle. Crowds are so big that churches fill to overflowing as anticipation mounts.  

Shortly before midnight, all lights are extinguished and churches are lit only by the Eternal Flame on the altar. When the clock passes midnight, the Priest calls out "Christos Anesti" (Christ is risen), and passes the flame, the light of the Resurrection, to those nearest him. The flame is then passed from person to person, and it isn't long before the church and courtyard are filled with flickering candlelight.  

It is the custom to carry the Eternal Flame home and use it to make the sign of the cross on the door frame in smoke. The smoke cross is left there throughout the year, symbolizing that the light of the Resurrection has blessed the home. 

This series was shot during the midnight Service of the Resurrection and on Easter Sunday in April 2012.  

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