At St. Nikolas Church in Athens, Greece, a community near the Acropolis gathers to celebrate the last day of lent. In Greece, the culmination of Megali Evdomada (the week before the final celebration) Kyriaki Tou Pascha (Orthodox Easter) is the most important holiday of the year; more important than Christmas. Greek Orthodox churches follow the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar; hence, Orthodox Easter is celebrated a week later than most other western countries.
The service lasts for hours, and just before midnight all lights are turned off, representing Christ’s death. At midnight, the priest lights a candle, which represents the holy flame. He then announces that Christ has risen. Parishioners light their candles off the priests and then share their flame with others. What is unique about the holy flame in Greece, is that a priest from the Greek Orthodox Church has brought a candle lit from the Church of the Holy Grave in Jerusalem. The initial flame is then shared throughout Greece on the last day of lent. After the flame filled celebration, Greeks break lent and have a huge feast at midnight.