Not even the economic crisis can dent the importance of Orthodox Easter in Greece.
Shops have been busy in Athens, suggesting many Greeks will not let the recession stop them from celebrating the event this weekend. Godparents traditionally offer a decorated candle to their godchildren during Holy Week.
But whereas some stores have maintained relatively high prices on candles and other decorative items, in downtown Athens this Easter they face more competition than ever from a range of discount shops. Candles that used to cost upwards of 20 euros are now going for bargain basement prices.
“Imagine the distress and financial problems experienced by the average Greek when they ask for a discount on a one-euro candle,” said store manager Harris Inglesis.
Three days before Easter, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilus III was in Jerusalem for a traditional ceremony. He washed the feet of 12 of his clergymen at the Holy Sepulchre Church, as Jesus did with his disciples prior to the Last Supper before he was crucified at the site, according to Christian faith.
Worshippers and onlookers included Palestinian Christians and pilgrims from all over the world.