No words can describe what it was like to stand in a crowd of thousands, while a mournful churchbell clanged over and over, signifying the death of Christ. Very somber. The woman we went with (to the left of Laurie in the photo) took us to a spot near the bottom of the church steps. All around, under a starlit sky, were families, waiting. The bell continued to ring as people lit individual candles. The mood was one of quiet reverence. A young girl in front of me kept trying to snuff out her mothers candle. Members of a civic band appeared in their dark blue uniforms with gold braid. The tuba player with long scraggly hair stood like a tree above the rest of them. Occasionally the drummer would play a quiet roll. As we waited, people were going in and out of the church. Then a contingency of police arrived and parted the crowd. Now there was a path from the church to the band. Suddenly a fifteen foot high cross with three candle holders and a purple wreath on it appeared in the doorway. The procession had begun. Next, a giant flower covered float appeared in the church doorway, juggled by six sailors in their black uniforms and white hats. It dipped and swayed as they manuvered the flower covered coffin under the doorway. Spectators crowding the church steps threw handfuls of flower petals as the coffin passed. Behind the coffin were the Greek Orthodox priests in the black hats, long gray beards and gold vestments. With the band playing a dirge, and the coffin right behind, the massive crowd slowly followed. We circled the church, walking on a major road which had been closed for the event. The woman who went with us explained that the evening represented a funeral for the dead Christ. It was an experience Ted nor I will ever forget. Ted took his camera, expecting to take photos of the flower covered coffin. It was not appropriate though, even though we were outside. So the only photo is the one above.
Ted took the photo. We met up with the college president and his family after the procession around the church. Camera was on nighttime setting. (Lens was open longer.)