Holy Saturday, or the Great Sabbath, was celebrated in an Orthodox Church in Izmir over the weekend for the first time in 93 years, with the iconic liturgy taking place at the preserved and renovated St. Voukolos (Agia Vukla) Cathedral.
The last time midnight mass celebrating the Resurrection of Christ was celebrated in the area, Izmir was still Smyrna, the jewel of the eastern Mediterranean, a cosmopolitan city combining the west and west.
The cathedral was filled with scores of pilgrims, Orthodox faithful from Greece and other countries, including from North America and Australia.
Archimandrite Kyrillos officiated at the deeply emotional ceremony, with the Roman Catholic emissary for the St. John the Theologian’s Catholic Church, Maximilian, by his side in show of interfaith Christian solidarity. .
Ecclesiastical chants were sung in Greek and Russian, while a reading from the scriptures was done, by the Archimandrite, in Greek, Homeric Greek, in Italian by the Catholic cleric Father Maximilian, as well as in the Russian, Turkish and English by laymen.
An after-mass dinner was offered by the Orthodox Community of Izmir in the municipality’s historic records office, which was provided gratis by the city.