Orthodox Christians around the world celebrate Easter - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Orthodox Christians around the world celebrate Easter

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CHICAGO -- Millions of Orthodox Christians around the globe celebrated Easter on Sunday.

People participated in Easter services in countries including Ethiopia, Eritrea, Serbia, Russia, Greece, and the United States among others. Some folks participated in a service in Carbondale at St. John of Damascus Orthodox Christian Mission Church.

This fell one week after several Western churches marked the holiday, as many Orthodox Christians follow a different and ancient calendar (Julian).

In Chicago, hundreds of Orthodox Ethiopians gathered at Debre Tsion Medhanealem Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, including Almaz Seyoum.

"It's special because it's Christ's resurrection day, one, the second one is we've been fasting for the last 55 days and we're eating and we're breaking the fast," Seyoum said.

Leading up to Easter, also known as "Fasika" in Amharic (one of the main languages of Ethiopia), most members of the church commit to a 55-day fast. That fast involves no eating animal or dairy products and extended periods of worship and prayer.

Throughout the nearly 6-hour overnight church service, candles are lit among other acts to show faith and drums come alive as the choir sings and rejoices while expressing praise. 

Following the service, loved ones gather for feasts and traditional coffee ceremonies.

"For dinner I have 40 people coming home, friends and family, we're celebrating together," Seyoum said.

*Photos and videos shown in this story come from churches in Chicago and Atlanta. A special thanks to Saba Ejigu and Martha Mekonnen for sharing pictures from their church services.*

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