Eastern Orthodox community celebrates the Easter storyBy DOUG ALDEN
New Hampshire Union Leader
April 08. 2018 9:17PM
MANCHESTER — New Hampshire’s Eastern Orthodox community celebrated the most holy time of the year Sunday with Easter services.
Parishioners at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral filed in for a quiet morning service, which followed a late night for many who had taken part in the midnight celebration of the resurrection and distribution of light, a symbol of Christ’s love and compassion for all.
“That’s the light of Christ, the light that delivers all in the darkness of this world,” the Very Rev. Agathonikos Wilson told members of the congregation, many of whom held lighted candles throughout the morning service.
“Take this light home with you today, but promise me you’ll take it and share it with somebody in the world — somebody who doesn’t know Christ or somebody who barely knows Christ.”
Orthodox Easter this year was one week later than the Western Christian celebration. Wilson said although the calendars don’t always align, the messages are similar and the Orthodox faithful celebrate it as a time of repentance, reflection and renewal.
“He took away our sins and he created for us a clean slate. We have a clean slate right now. Let’s use it wisely,” Wilson told the parishioners.
Bill Hughen, a parishioner and member of the St. George board of directors, said the midnight celebration is more of a “main event,” but many members of the congregation return for the Sunday morning services.
“It’s a late night, but you find yourself not as tired because you’re so into the culmination of everything in the church. It’s renewing and refreshing,” Hughen said.
The morning congregation was filled with families, many with young children who waited anxiously at the end to receive a blessed egg from Wilson.
The weather wasn’t very Easter-like, though, with temperatures reaching only into the low 40s, so the annual egg hunt scheduled for outside on the lawn was more of an indoor buffet, where kids got to take one egg from each of three baskets on the way out of the church.