Holy Saturday, only a few hours separating us from the Pascha!!!!
In the morning Holy Saturday Vespers and a Divine Liturgy of St. Basil are served, accompanied with reading of Psalms and Resurrection hymns that describe Christ’s descend into Hades, celebrated as the First Resurrection of Adam and the conquering of Death. This service was the primary Pascha service of the Church of Constantinople. In Jerusalem the Orthodox Patriarch breaks the seal of the door of the tomb of Christ, in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and emerges with the Holy Fire. The Holy Fire then flies from Jerusalem accompanied by priests and government officials to the Athens airport, where is met with a reception of honor guards. From there on, it is distributed to entire Greece.
This day – and actually this entire week – is probably the worst time of the year for being a housewife! My mother always used to say that “we clean our house, just as we clean our soul”, but the connection between the soul and the polished furniture is really beyond me!
Throughout the week there is a fever of preparation for just about everything! And I mean everything, people! Houses, yards (front and back), clothes for the family, food…..
Starting about Holy Wednesday, we have to prepare tsourekia a kind of brioche, paschal koulouria – a pretzel-cookie hybrid – and all sorts of pies which, of course, will be eaten after the Resurrection. We also prepare the ingredients for the traditional mageiritsa soup made from the lamb’s organs (bowel, liver, lungs and heart) with egg and lemon sauce. To those unfamiliar with the Greek cuisine it might seem a little….eeeeew!, but I assure you, it is a true delicacy*! This soup will be consumed after the Paschal liturgy and is a traditional dish in many orthodox countries.
Holy Saturday almost at an end!
Now comes Pascha!