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Orthodox Christians to mark Holy Friday

Thousands of Orthodox Christians in Charlotte will mark Jesus’ crucifixion Friday night with a Divine Liturgy service inside and a procession outside Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Dilworth.

Catholics and Protestants, who follow a different sacred calendar than Orthodox Christians, commemorated Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday in late March, then his Resurrection on Easter Sunday on March 31.

Orthodox Christians – including many Americans of Greek, Russian and Serbian ancestries – will celebrate Easter, or “Pascha,” this Sunday. The major Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity will be at midnight Saturday.

Orthodox Christianity, also called Eastern Orthodoxy, is rooted in national churches in the Middle East or Eastern Europe.

The Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches were united until 1054, when the Great Schism occurred, mostly as a result of disputes over papal authority.

The term Orthodox was adopted by the Eastern churches to show their adherence to the original apostolic traditions, teachings and style of worship. The Orthodox service – which includes the Eucharist, incense, chants and the veneration of icons – is called the Divine Liturgy.

Holy Trinity, founded in 1923 by Greek immigrants, is also home to the popular Yiasou Greek Festival in September.

Leading the church is its Greek-born dean, the Rev. Michael Varvarelis.

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