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April 6, 2010

Paschal Litany on Mount Athos for Bright Week

On Bright Monday some monasteries on Mount Athos and Karyes hold litanies with their miraculous icons and holy relics. The others do this on Bright Tuesday.

For centuries the litany with the miraculous icon of Axion Estin in Karyes takes place after the Divine Liturgy on Bright Monday. The procession, the route of which was established in 1508 and is still for the most part followed faithfully, leads to all the surrounding monasteries, sketes and cells from its center in Protaton. Offerings of bread, cheese and wine are made at their stops. At each stop a Gospel is read and the Apolytikion of the Saint honored by each monastery, skete and cell. A stop is made at Koutloumousiou where everyone spends the night and the return is made on Bright Tuesday. Upon the return to Protaton a Trapeza is offered. In 1488 the fathers of Dionysiou Monastery criticized these processions as being for gluttons and drunkards, but then their crops and gardens were destroyed by hail and they were rebuked. Koutloumousiou Monastery did the same, but then sickness struck and buildings such as the Trapeza of the monastery were destroyed.

It should be noted that the monasteries consider these litanies essential for the good production of their gardens and vineyards. When it was not done in the past, the "wrath of God" was manifested.