Fr. Luke Melackrinos Explains the Differences & Similarities of the Western & Eastern Orthodox Churches Celebrating Easter
Father Luke Melackrinos is a spiritual leader at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Paul Hempstead, NY. He says the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates for Easters in a different way than the Western Churches. The two Churches celebrate on different days based on two different calendars. Easter in both churches always fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring, but the Western Church follows the Georgian Calendar while the Eastern Follows the Julian Calendar. Easter for the Greek Orthodox is always after Passover. The word Pasche meaning Easter is derived from the Greek word Passover.
The Churches do follow similar Holy Weeks leading up to Easter, there is the Last Supper and Good Friday but the Greek Orthodox does those events after sundown. The other big difference is that the music is the backbone for Greek orthodox Easter. The Greek Orthodox Church chants the majority service and people come expecting certain hymns. Fr. Luke Melackrinos says that it is an amazing moment marking the realization that Easter has come. The church remains dark except for one candle until that moment when everyone sings and raises their candle up. Food is involved in both Easter celebrations. Easter eggs play an important role in Greek Orthodox celebration, but the eggs are red in color signifying blood of Christ. Besides eggs, the celebrations also include ‘lamb’.
Fr. Luke Melackrinos is very kind hearted and selfless, and believes in serving the community. He has been the driving force in the initiation of many vibrant, Christ-Centered Ministries at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Some of these ministries are: the St. Paul’s Nursery School, Vacation Church School, and the Little Angels Program. Fr. Luke is actively involved with the Mary Brennan Inn, a soup kitchen that serves the local Hempstead community.