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17 April 2020 | Athens, Athens [Yannis Vrakas] 

In the Orthodox tradition, they call it Great Friday. For them, this weekend is Easter, and for Yannis Vrakas in Greece, this means a time to reflect.


Greek Othadox churchIt is Great Friday today in Greece. On the top of the hill, close to our house, there is an old small Greek Orthodox church. Almost all the year round it stays closed and silent, but today someone has gone up there and has been ringing the bell for the last couple of hours. It is one dong at a time, dong… and again, dong… He continues for some minutes and then he stops to rest, and after a while he continues, dong… and again, dong…

It is Great Friday and as believers remember the passion of Jesus, His crucifixion and death, the bells ring in a sad monotonous way, spreading an audible solemn reminder. This is the saddest day in the Greek Orthodox calendar, it is when our Saviour tasted death.

A few days ago a friend called me to tell me that his grandmother been admitted to hospital after she suffered a stroke. He was finding hard to cope, as due to the coronavirus outbreak they would allow only one person to be in the hospital with her. That one person is his grandfather. Today when I called him to ask how things were progressing he told me that she had just passed away. Death.

Everyday news is full of numbers that bring sadness and despair. Infection! Suffering! Death!

I checked my email inbox and I found the #dearcoronavirus video of the week. I was looking forward to receiving it. It is dedicated to the medical professionals and the battle they give each day to save as many lives as they can from death.



Sometimes I may feel it less. Other times, like today, I feel it more. There are times that I am totally oblivious to it. But it is always there, taking place all around us. The battle between life and death.

Thankfully, we know that the end was neither the cross nor the tomb. We know that the Passover is not just a story of forgotten Israelite history. It is a reality to each of us as the Resurrection day of our Lord took place, and His second coming is not far ahead.

Death has been defeated, life has prevailed. Abundant life, everlasting life, together with God.

To all those who suffer these days due to illness, the loss of loved ones, or isolation. #YourAreNotAlone #GodIsWithUs 


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