To Πάσχα (Greek Easter or Eastern Orthodox Easter) is the most important cultural and religious event of the Hellenic (Greek) calendar. The Friends of Te Papa and Hellenic New Zealand Congress (HNZC) are delighted to share Greek Easter with you in an intimate look at how Hellenic communities celebrate Easter. While it is similar to Western Easter, there are some major differences including no chocolate Easter eggs! HNZC President, Dr David Philips will welcome guests to the event and introduce our 3 speakers.
Dr Dimitrios Mitsotakis
Remembering Through a Child’s Eyes: Our speaker will talk about personal experiences of Easter in Greece as a child. Even in Greece, there are regional differences in how Easter is celebrated. It is a magical time with special foods, fasting and family gatherings. Our speaker Dr Dimitrios Mitsotakis is a Greek Kiwi, born and raised in Greece. He studied Mathematics at the University of Crete and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He left Greece in 2007 to serve science in France, the USA and New Zealand. He happily made New Zealand his new home from 2014. Among his most significant contributions to science, is a set of mathematical equations for the description of tsunamis in the ocean, the only rigorously justified tsunami model until now.
Easter Traditions: While Greek Easter is closely associated with church, there are a number of traditions and customs that occur outside of the church and in the home. We’ll explore how families prepare and celebrate Greek Easter from cleaning the house to coming home after midnight service and breaking fast. Stella Bares is a recipient of the Queen Services Order (QSO) for services to the Greek community. She is a fabulous cook and past president of various Greek organisations including the Greek Orthodox Community.
Father George Kanellis
Holy Week: Μεγάλη Εβδομάδα (Holy Week or Big Week) is a revival of Jesus’ last days, his death and resurrection. Reverend Father George Kanellis will talk about the church services and ceremonies on Palm Sunday, Holy Wednesday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Father George Kanellis is a Greek Orthodox Priest of the Holy Metropolis of New Zealand. He is Australian born and educated however since 2016 calls Aotearoa New Zealand home. He is the Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Auckland. He is also a Missionary Priest serving the Metropolis in its ongoing work in the Pacific in particular in Samoa where he also has family ties, as well as supporting missionary efforts in Tonga and Fiji. He has worked extensively in the Waikato with Tangata Whenua baptising Maori into the Orthodox Faith. He holds the ecclesiastical rank of Oikonomos. His Greek roots trace back to the Island of Crete and Mytilini and Smyrna in Asia Minor.
Feature image: Detail from: Candles in the church of Saint Nikolaos of Giannakopoulos, at Megalochori of Santorini.