Orthodox Pentecost is celebrated in Greece seven weeks and a day (50 days) following Easter. This puts Orthodox Pentecost in late May to mid-June in Greece, and the feast traditionally lasts for three days, Sunday through Tuesday. A public holiday is provided for Whit Monday.
|2019||16 Jun||Sun||Orthodox Whit Sunday|
|17 Jun||Mon||Orthodox Whit Monday|
|2020||7 Jun||Sun||Orthodox Whit Sunday|
|8 Jun||Mon||Orthodox Whit Monday|
Pentecost, also called “Whitsunday” in many other Christian denominations, corresponds to Jewish feast of Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks). In Greece, Pentecost is one of the “Great Christian Feasts” of the year, being second in importance only to Pascha (Good Friday). It is celebrated with much fanfare, such that it seems to many almost like “a second Easter.”
According to the Bible, Pentecost marks the day on which the Holy Spirit descended on the members of the Church of Jerusalem, including the Apostles, and led to their speaking in other languages to Jews of many lands gathered in Jerusalem to worship. Thousands converted and were baptised, and the Christian faith continued to grow and expand from that point on.
In Greek Orthodox doctrine, Pentecost was the fulfilment of Jesus’ mission on Earth and the beginning of the “Messianic Age of God’s Kingdom.” It is considered the birthday of the Church, but the Church is thought of as the place where Jesus is “mystically present” and reigning over the earth.
Pentecost marks to the Orthodox believer the coming of the Spirit, the full revelation of the Trinity, and a day to celebrate membership in God’s family. Fasting is forbidden during this time, even the usual weekly fasts on Wednesday and Friday, because it is a time of great joy.