Ioannina, Greece – Hand-carved and designed by the fathers of the Holy Monastery of Tsouka, the newly created Epitafio is unique and part of Holy Friday’s liturgy service.
It was inspired in memory of Theocritus of Ioannina, the deceased Elder Metropolitan, and was constructed by Giorgos Paliagkas and Aris Pagounas at their Ioannina workshop earlier this year.
Four Angels in a “Deesis” position support the Epitaph on their heads as they carry the “Shroud” with which the Body of the Savior Christ is wrapped for his Burial. The four columns in the “abbot” style raise upward, becoming thinner, while it projects a mourning ribbon in the middle.
Angels-Exapteryga is placed at the top of the columns. Behind them begins the support of the arches. The four inner arches with double-sided carvings are oak branches with fruits that end at the “Glory” support on which the “thorny crown,” one of the symbols of Passion, rests.
The four exteriors are decorated with flowers, and in the middle, the mourning Virgin Mary is depicted on the front of a medal. Situated on the back is Saint Peter with the lament of his repentance for rejecting the Master, and on the two sides are the Blessed Joseph and Saint Nicodemus, who took part in the Burial.
Robustness in motion and lightness depict the gravity of the signified event of God’s part in the pain of the death of human tragedy.
God Jesus Christ dies according to His human nature in reality and not according to “evidence” seemingly only apparent. That is why he is the only Philanthropist because he really “communes” with the pain of the death of our human nature.
But His death is “done”; it takes place in one of His Divine personas, that of the Deity. In other words, it is a death that takes place “in the Resurrection” since death does not touch His divine persona.
The Orthodox Church teaches how the Resurrection of Christ concerns us because since God Jesus Christ fully embraced human nature. All of us united it in a separate yet whole, inviolable, and unchanging way with his divine nature in ONE Person, though, that of Deity, then death does not take over Life. After all, our Life is the One who becomes human, i.e., the Risen Jesus Christ.