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Question 151

Kalimera Pater, I would like to ask a question which has been troubling me for some years with our local priest.  What it is over the Easter Period he never puts a Black sheet to cover the Icons.  Is this the norm for a Greek Priest.  When asked about it the reply was each Priest is different.  In your opinion what do you think         

 

Answer to Question 151

 

In reality icons shown not be covered, they are there to be venerated and should be in full view at all times. The custom of covering up the icons with a black cloth during Good Friday is mainly a Cypriot custom and observed only in a few places in Greece. There is no theological explanation for covering the icons other that it adds an extra atmosphere of mourning because Christ has been Crucified and his body is laying in a tomb. I suppose that it also adds a bit of drama when they are removed during the Holy Saturday morning service when the Priest exclaims "Arise, O God, judge Thou the earth..." (Ἀνάστα, ὁ Θεός, κρίνον τὴν γήν...). If your priest is from Greece then this would explain why he doesn't follow this custom.