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Christos Anesti

Each Easter Sunday afternoon, when my grandmother was a little girl in Smyrna, she accompanied her mother to a special service held at the local cemetery in the Greek Quarter. The priest, having celebrated the Resurrection of Christ at the midnight liturgy with the living, would conduct an abbreviated liturgy in the cemetery chapel the following day.

At the conclusion of the service, the priest accompanied by a procession of acolytes and cantors would travel through the cemetery ecstatically singing Christos Anesti. Stopping by graves where family members stood, the priest proclaimed, Christ is risen! And the Greek chorus replied, Alithos Anesti, truly he is risen!

This procession, in a place normally associated with mourning and loss, triumphantly declared that agape not only survives death but transcends it.

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I went to a sunrise service in Winston-Salem at a Moravian Cemetary . They believe in equality in death so all the graves are identical except for the names. They even decorate them the same. As the sun rose the Minister proclaims. The Lord is Risen, The Lord is risen indeed. It is still a memory I treasure.