Easter in Corfu town 2023 (Schedule of events)
Easter in Corfu town
(Schedule of events):
Friday, eve of Lazarus Saturday
18:00 Special event organised by the Lyceum Club of Greek Women at the Church of Saint John (Corfu town) with the participation of the Philharmonic Society of Corfu (Old Philharmonic Society).
11:30 Choirs from the entire island set off from the Church of Saint Nicholas of the Elders and Saint Lazarus (celebrated), singing the “Carols of Lazarus” in various spots of the historic centre of Corfu town. At 12:30 all choirs meet in front of San Giacomo, the old town hall, where they all sing together. The event is organised by the Corfiot Expression Organisation.
20:30 Concert performed by the band of the Philharmonic Society of Corfu, the oldest philharmonic on the island, in the Municipal Theatre.
Palm Sunday (Procession)
11:00 Procession of the sacred relic of Saint Spyridon. On Palm Sunday, after the mass in the Church of Saint Spyridon (the patron Saint of Corfu), the longest procession of the sacred relic is conducted, approximately alongside the old walls of the town, officiated by His Eminence the Metropolitan of Corfu, Paxos and the Diapontian Islands Nektarios. The procession is rooted in 1629, commemorating the miraculous salvation of the island from plague.
20:30 Concert by the Kapodistrias Philharmonic Society of Corfu with the choir of the Holy Metropolitan Church in the Church of Saint George (Old Fortress).
20: 30 Religious concert with the participation of all sections of the Corfu Choir at the colonnade of the Saints George and Michael Palace.
21:00 Concert by the Mantzaros Philharmonic Society in the Municipal Theatre.
21:00 Religious concert by the Kinopiastes Philharmonic Society in the Catholic Cathedral of Saints Jacob and Christopher (Duomo).
20:30 Religious concert by the “Brass Ensemble” music ensemble with the participation of the Demodocus Municipal Choir in the Church of Saint George in the Old Fortress.
21:30 An evening of poetry and music titled “From Calvary to Resurrection”, organised by the Corfu Events Organisation, at the colonnade of the Saints George and Michael Palace.
19:00 At the church of All Saints, the Saint Arsenios Church Music Choir of the Holy Metropolis chants at the Maundy Service, officiated by His Eminence the Metropolitan of Corfu Nektarios.
20:30 Church music concert by the San Giacomo Municipal Choir of Corfu in the Municipal Theatre.
20:00 Maundy rite (washing of the feet) in the Catholic Cathedral of Saints Jacob and Christopher (Duomo), during which His Eminence the Catholic Archbishop George Altouvas symbolically washes the feet of twelve children. The Holy Hour ceremony is performed late in the evening (the Eucharist adoration in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament).
All town churches organise their Epitaph procession, in specific order with the participation of music bands, choirs, schools, scouts, etc. The church choirs and especially the choir of the Metropolitan Cathedral, as well as the Municipal Choir, solemnly chant the Epitaph hymns, while the philharmonic bands perform relevant music pieces, including adaptations of classical works: Albinoni’s “Adagio” by the Philharmonic Society of Corfu (Old Philharmonic), Verdi’s “Marcia Funebre” by the Mantzaros Philharmonic Society (Blue Philharmonic), as well as Mariani’s elegy “Sventura” and Chopin’s “Marche Funèbre” by the Kapodistrias Philharmonic Society.
12:30 Church of St. Irene (Corfu General Hospital)
Church of St. Artemius (Police Headquarters – Old Hospital)
14:00 Church of Christ Pantocrator (Kambielo)
Church of Most Holy Virgin Mary Spilaiotissa (New Fortress). Organised by the Corfu Naval Base
15:45 Church of St. Nicholas of the Baths (St. Nicholas Gate). Organised by the Corfu Association for Culture, Sports and the Environment – Scouts Regional Ephorate of Corfu
16:00 Church of St. George (Old Fortress). Organised by the Corfu Events Organisation
16:30 Church of St. Panteleimon (Psychiatric Hospital)
17:00 Convent of St. Euphemia (Mon Repos)
17:30 Church of Most Holy Virgin Mary Kassopitra (Figareto)
Church of the Ascension (Hill of Analipsi)
Church of St. George (Mantouki)
18:00 Church of All Saints (Corfu old town)
Church of the Resurrection (1st Municipal Cemetery)
Convent of Saints Theodores (Stratia)
18:30 Church of St. Sophia (Jewish quarter)
Church of St. Paraskevi (Porta Remunda)
19:00 Church of St. Anthony (Spilia)
Church of Holy Trinity (Garitsa)
Church of Saints Constantine and Helen (Koulines)
Church of the Dormition of Most Holy Virgin Mary of Mamaloi (Kogievinas Hill)
Church of Saints Jason and Sosipater (Garitsa)
19:15 Church of Most Holy Virgin Mary of Vlacherna (Garitsa)
19:30 Church of St. Eleftherios (Kofineta)
Church of St. Spyridon in Saroko (Kotsela)
Church of the Three Martyrs (Garitsa)
Church of Most Holy Virgin Mary Faneromeni / Virgin Mary of the Foreigners (Plakada)
20:00 Church of St. Vasilieios (Pinia)
Church of St. John of Lazos (Kefalomantouko)
Church of St. Varvaros (Potamos)
Church of St. Nicholas in Alykes (Alykes)
Church of All Saints (Gouvia)
20:15 Church of St. Nicholas of the Elders (Kambielo)
20:30 Church of St. John (Piatsa)
20:45 Church of Saints Jacob and Christopher (Catholic Cathedral / Duomo)
21:00 Church of St. Spyridon. Procession of the Epitaph inside the church, accompanied by the Philharmonic Society of Corfu
22:00 Church of Most Holy Virgin Mary Spilaiotissa (Spilia) (the grandest procession).
Holy Saturday (Epitaph Litany and famous traditional Custom of ''Botides'')
06:00 Enactment of the earthquake after Christ’s Resurrection in the Church of Most Holy Virgin Mary Faneromeni (Virgin Mary of the Foreigners), at Plakada, following the relevant Gospel passage.
09:00 Procession of the sacred St. Spyridon’s relic and of the church’s Epitaph. This is the oldest procession of the Saint’s sacred relic, commemorating the miraculous salvation of the island from grain shortage, probably in 1553. According to a very old tradition, the procession of this epitaph takes place on Holy Saturday morning, since the morning following Good Friday is still mourning time. It is worth noting that Saint Spyridon is placed in the position of the preceding Bishop, following the Byzantine ritual tradition and especially that of Constantinople. The bands of all three philharmonic societies participate in the procession, performing the adaptation of the funeral march from the Italian composer Franco Faccio’s opera “Amleto” (Old Philharmonic), the also Italian composer de Michelis’ funeral march “Calde Lacrimae” [Burning tears] (Blue Philharmonic), and the adaptation of Beethoven’s funeral march “Eroica” (Kapodistrias Philharmonic).
Upon the procession, Saint Spyridon’s sacred relic is placed in an upright position at the entrance of the crypt for a three-day pilgrimage. This is also a very old tradition, possibly rooted in Constantinople, when the Saint’s relic was kept in the Church of the Apostles. In fact, during the Venetian rule, the days when the Saint was positioned at the entrance were considered days of immunity.
11:00 The procession is followed by the Vespers of Resurrection in the Holy Metropolitan Cathedral and when the Metropolitan chants the verse “Arise, O God; judge the earth”, all church bells in town ring joyfully and people throw old clay pots from their balconies.
This is the very old custom of the “First Resurrection” during which the “Botides” (clay pots) are broken. Possibly, the loud breaking noise symbolises the triumph of life over death. The Corfiots render a Christian meaning in this tradition, allegorically representing the prophet’s words “dash them to pieces like pottery”.
11:01 The custom of “Mastela” has lately revived at Pinia (Pinecone), the town’s old commercial centre. A half-barrel decorated with myrtle and ribbons is filled with water and placed on the street and passers-by throw coins in it making a wish. When the bells ring for the First Resurrection, the first one to jump in the “Mastela” collects its content, i.e. the coins and the… soaking. The event is organised by the Corfu Events Organisation.
21:00 The Easter Vigil services are performed at the Catholic Cathedral (Duomo), accompanied by the sounds of the pipe organ and the polyphonic choir, officiated by His Eminence the Catholic Archbishop, George Altouvas. The service is concluded at 23:00.
22:00 The Holy fire from the Holy Sepulchre is received at Pentophanaro (Liston) in the presence of the local dignitaries. The Holy Fire is transferred in a procession to the Church of St. Paraskevi (Porta Remunda), for the Easter Matins, officiated by His Eminence the Metropolitan of Corfu Nektarios. Lately, the Catholic Archbishop participates in the reception ceremony, halting the Catholic Service to receive the Holy Fire from the hands of the Orthodox Bishop during its transfer to the church of St. Paraskevi in Porta Remunda.
23.00 Commencement of the Easter matins in the church of St. Paraskevi, near the Upper Square.
23:40 A procession sets out from the church of St. Paraskevi towards the Upper Square Pavilion officiated by His Eminence the Metropolitan of Corfu Nektarios. At midnight, the “Christ is risen” troparion is chanted symbolising the Resurrection and the three philharmonic bands of the town play the march “Greeks do not fear” in a spectacular atmosphere.
The Easter Divine Liturgy is performed after midnight at the following churches: All Saints (town), St. Paraskevi (Porta Remunda), St. Sophia, Virgin Mary of the Foreigners, Saints Jason and Sosipater, Three Martyrs, Dormition of Most Holy Virgin Mary of Mamaloi (Kogevinas Hill), Virgin Mary Hodegetria in Alepou, Saints Constantine and Helen (Koulines), All Saints in Gouvia and in the monasteries and convents of Most Holy Virgin Mary Platytera, St. Euphemia, Most Holy Virgin Mary Kassopitra (Kanoni), and Saints Theodores (Stratia).
Easter Sunday (Litanies)
09:00-11:00 In most churches in Corfu, the Easter Divine Liturgy is performed in the morning, according to an old tradition based on the Gospel passage “…Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb”. Moreover, the procession of the Lord’s Resurrection icon takes place, according to the Byzantine tradition, also existing in Aegean islands and the Slavic Orthodox countries.
PROCESSIONS OF THE RESURRECTION ICON IN CORFU TOWN
07:30 Church of St. Sophia (Jewish quarter)
07:45 Holy Metropolitan Cathedral of Most Holy Virgin Mary Spilaiotissa (Spilia)
08:00 Church of All Saints (Liston)
08:15 Church of St. Spyridon (Kotsela)
08:30 Church of St. Eleftherios (Kofineta)
Church of the Ascension (Hill of Analipsi)
Church of St. George (Mantouki)
Church of Most Holy Virgin Mary of Vlacherna (Garitsa)
08:45 Church of St. Vasilieios (Pinia)
Church of St. Paraskevi (Porta Remunda)
09:00 Church of Most Holy Virgin Mary of Foreigners (Plakada)
Church of St. Nicholas of the Elders (Kambielo)
Church of St. John (Piatsa)
Church of St. Anthony (Spilia)
10:00 Church of St. Spyridon, with the participation of the Philharmonic Society of Corfu (Old Philharmonic) with R. Wagner’s “Tannhäuser” and the Mantzaros Philharmonic Society with Sotiris Kritikos’ “Marcia Trionfale”.
18:00 Church of Holy Trinity (Garitsa)
19:30 Vespers of Love in the Metropolitan Church, officiated by His Eminence the Metropolitan Nektarios, during which the Gospel is read in many languages.
Bright Tuesday (After Easter)
18:00 The sacred relic of Saint Spyridon is returned to its crypt, the so-called “Basmata”, accompanied by the local dignitaries and the town’s two oldest philharmonic bands.