Ceremony to mark Orthodox Christian Good Friday

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1. Wide of Penteli Church interior with priest blessing a depiction of Christ nailed to a cross
2. Mid of priest blessing people
3. Close of figure of Christ
4. People kissing the figure of Christ
5. Believers lighting candles
6. Close of candles
7. Wide of people climbing stairs to kiss the figure of Christ
8. Close of people kissing the figure of Christ
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Ioannis, Bishop of Thermopylae:
"People will come in thousands. Why? Because people trust their Church. And they want some consolation from our words, and from the word of God, of course."
10. Wide of marching band, followed by priests and believers walking towards the figure of Christ, AUDIO: funereal music
11. Close of musicians and priests walking up the path, AUDIO: funereal music
12. Wide of people surrounding the figure of Christ, AUDIO: funereal music
13. Close of woman holding a book of psalms and a black bracelet worn by the faithful
14. Mid of priests near the figure of Christ on the cross
15. Close of deacon untying a rope to remove the figure of Christ from the cross
16. Mid of priests taking down the figure of Christ
17. Close of sheath with figure of Christ inside
18. Wide of people and the band looking on
19. Mid of people watching the ceremony
20. Mid of priests carrying the sheathed figure
21. SOUNDBITE (Greek) Maria (last name not given), Pensioner:
"This is very close to the conditions we are living through. It is dramatic. There are people today committing suicide, who are starving, this is very moving."
22. Wide of priests carrying sheathed figure
23. Close of red satin basket filled with rose petals and a gold chalice
24. Close of priests carrying sheathed figure
25. Close of a woman wearing a headscarf
26. Mid of priests putting the sheathed figure into a cave
27. Mid of sheathed figure in cave
28. Close of priests sealing the entrance to the cave with a large rock
STORYLINE:
Greek Orthodox Christians marked Good Friday by re-enacting the crucifixion and burial of Christ in a suburb of Athens.
Orthodox Christians, who follow the old, Julian calendar, mark Easter this week; Roman Catholic and Protestant congregations that observe the new, Gregorian calendar, held their Easter celebrations at the end of March.
The holiday commemorates the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and is spent fasting and attending prayer services in church.
The Holy Friday ritual in Athens began with a four-hour ceremony inside the Church of Penteli where believers listened to psalms and kissed a depiction of the body of Christ nailed to a cross.
Nearly one-thousand believers from different parts of Athens attended the ceremony, led by the Bishop of Thermopylae, Ioannis.
Following the ceremony inside the church, the priests led the believers towards a hill near the church, where a brass band played funeral hymns.
A thousand believers looked on as a depiction of Christ's body was taken off the cross and placed in a white satin funeral sheath carried by priests into a cave.
The re-enactment represents Christ's crucifixion and burial.
More than 95 per cent of native-born Greeks are baptised into the Greek Orthodox Church.



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