April 4, 2020

Thousands of Cypriots Chant the Akathist Hymn From Their Balconies

Orthodox Christians in Limassol, Cyprus went out on their balconies Friday evening, 3 April 2020, holding candles and chanting the Akathist Hymn, accompanied by a live radio broadcast of the service from the Cathedral Church of Agia Napa.

Thousands of worshipers accepted the call of a group of Limassol citizens who took the initiative for this group prayer and sent the message that "this virus will not defeat us, it will not shake our faith."

Only a priest and chanters and a sexton are allowed in churches of Cyprus during the coronavirus pandemic. This event took place with the blessing of Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol.

With this taking place 16 days before Easter, one can only imagine with what creative ways Easter will be celebrated by Orthodox Christians this year when the churches will be closed to them. Some are already planning on doing the same thing for the Lamentations on Good Friday.

It should be noted that this was also done throughout much of Greece also, and has been done for the past few weeks each Friday, such as in Nafplio (see third video below), Skiathos, Megalonisos and Rhodes among other places.

It sort of reminds one of that ending from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, when all the Whos of Whoville gathered together to celebrate Christmas even though everything they physically associated Christmas was stolen by the Grinch. Their spirit couldn't be shaken. Here, the virus is the Grinch who tried to steal the celebration of the Akathist Hymn, but the Cypriot and Greek people kept it the best way they could despite not being able to go to church and practicing social distancing.