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         April 10,  2009

Easter among Chaldeans in Greece

By Baghdadhope

Like in Jordan and Egypt also in Greece the Chaldean Catholic community will celebrate Easter on 19 and not on 12 of April.
Baghdadhope asked why to the Chaldean Procurator to the Holy See and the Apostolic Visitator for Europe Msgr. Philip Najim before his leaving for Athens.
"Since 1994, when the church of Mater Misericordiae in Athens was canonically erected as a Chaldean parish at the Byzantine Greek Catholic exarchate the liturgical calendar of the majority church of the country, the Greek Orthodox one, has always been followed. The explanation is in the desire of brotherhood and ecumenism that the whole Christian community shares. In Greece, the Chaldean community is small - 2500/3000 faithful - and keeping different dates would not favoured its integration because it would isolate it from the joy but also from the deep spirituality that pervades the country for the main Christian celebrations."
How the Easter rites will be celebrated?
"To the Byzantine Greek Catholic exarchate refers, in addition to the Chaldean community, also a small community of Ukrainian and Romanian Catholic. The rites are then celebrated in the three different traditions. On Good Friday the celebration will see the three communities combined. Each of them will held a celebration according to its own liturgical tradition and then all the celebrants will gather around the Exarch of Greece for the faithful of Byzantine rite, Msgr. Dimitrios Salachas, for a procession with songs and prayers of the three traditions."
In recent days Baghdadhope wrote about the tradition of Gayasa, the representation of the dispute between the cherub who prevents the sons of Adam to entry into Paradise and the redeemed thief who, strong in the cross of Christ he brings, has the better and since then replaced in the Syriac tradition St. Peter as the guardian of Paradise.

Will this tradition be followed in Greece too?
"Certainly, during the Easter Mass the Gayasa will be performed after the Gospel and before the homily."
But in not all the churches the dispute is represented in the same time ...
"Yes. It 'true. Gayasa is a tradition and as such it does not have a defined liturgical time. It' s just typical of Easter and is a link with our culture and our past that does not disappear in diaspora. Something that makes us happy and proud."