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Representations of the Passions of Christ

On Good Friday in spring, representations of the Passions of Christ are performed on the quaint cobblestone streets of Marpissa, one of the most vibrant villages on Paros.

Hundreds of locals and visitors follow the procession of the Epitaph (the representation of the tomb of Christ) around and through the village. Twelve stops are made along the route, one for each representation inspired by the Passions. The children and adolescents play the main roles in the representations. It should be noted that each performance requires between 10 and 15 people.

The custom began in 1924, organized by Vasileia Kafourou-Asoniti, the village teacher. From that year to the present day, with the exception of the years of occupation, the custom has been celebrated every Easter. The residents of Marpissa not only preserved their beloved teacher's idea, but also enriched it with additional themes and events that culminate on Easter Sunday. According to the village elders, only girls participated in the four original representations. Today, the representations have tripled and require many more players. Hence, even youngsters attending school in Athens return to their village on Paros to supplement the numbers. The entire village participates in the preparations for the custom, led by the women of the local cultural association, the hoteliers, the Agricultural Cooperative, the Marpissa Sports Association and the KDEPAP (Municipal Corporation for the Cultural Development of Paros).

Should you be in Paros at Easter, be sure to follow the Epitaph of the Metamorfoseos of Sotiros church of Marpissa. Approximately forty village woman form the lamentation choir. Myrrh bearers in the Church sprinkle the Epitaph with aromas, while rose petals fall from the dome. Once the Epitaph exits the church, the first stop is in the center of the village, where the representation of the Resurrection of Lazarus takes place. An imitation cliff represents the tomb of Lazarus.

The entrance to Jerusalem is next. Jesus, on a donkey, is admitted into the city with the palms and branches. The penance of Mary Magdalene, who washes the feet of Christ, takes place near the village stadium.

A little further along is the representation of the Last Supper, which requires 13 people to sit at the table.

The next stop is the prayer on Mount Olive. Jesus prays under the olive tree as his disciples sleep nearby. Pontius Pilate washes his hands on a balcony, while the crowd below demands the crucifixion of Jesus. The representation of the Ascent to Calvary takes place on the hill near the mills of the village. Christ, with the Cross on his shoulders, bleeding after being whipped by the Romans, ascends to his crucifixion.

The gallows of Judah is set up in the woods near the village. The shocking representation of the crucifixion takes place above the public parking area, where three adolescents representing Christ and the robbers hang on the crosses. The Roman soldiers jeer below them. This is, perhaps, the most difficult representation, as the youngsters portraying Christ and the robbers must stay perfectly still in a state of undress on the crosses, despite the cold. The Descent from the Cross, where Jesus lies in the arms of Mary, is equally challenging.

The final representation takes place as the Epitaph returns the Church. The Burial. The scene is set at the entrance to the community center.

Events in Marpissa, however, are not limited to Good Friday. They continue through the second Resurrection, with the representation of the Resurrection of Christ and the burning of Judas at the village mills. On Easter Sunday, the entire village and guests celebrate at the stadium, with roasted lamb, eggs, Parian graviera cheese and local wine.

Representations also take place in the neighboring villages of Prodromos, Marmara, Lefkes and Aspro Chorio.

Events

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