Chairetismoi to the Theotokos
(Salutations to the Virgin Mary)
2014 March 07, 14, 21, 28
2014 April 04
Easter is the most important religious holiday in Greece. Tradition ordains that one must fast for 40 days and go regularly to church to properly cleanse the body and soul before the miracle of the Resurrection. The services of this period are embellished with beautiful hymns, the so called “Chairetismoi to the Theotokos” (Salutations to the Virgin Mary). This is in fact one long poem, written in the 6th century AD, most probably by St. Roman the Melodist. The poem, beautifully versed, is full of praise and thanks; it talks about all the fundamental teachings of Orthodoxy and the role of the Theotokos in the salvation of mankind.
Set to music from the beginning – it belongs to a classical type of Byzantine music called “kontakion” – the poem is divided into 4 parts. One part is sung every Friday during the first 4 weeks of the Great Lent and on the 5th Friday the whole poem is heard during the service.
You need not be an Orthodox Christian or a Byzantinologist to appreciate its artistic value.
If you want to better experience the Greek Easter, attend one of the Great Lent Friday services.