Philadelphia, PA – It’s the little church that commemorates Anastasi with a big bang. Fireworks have become part of their annual tradition of the late evening mass that unites the parishioners at Evangelismos Greek Orthodox Church in Northeast Philadelphia.

The tiny church on Bustleton Avenue swelled last night with families and members of the community. And then, minutes before midnight, Father Alexandros shared the flame with the children that had gathered at the altar. Alexandros marched with candles and children to the balcony of the church outside, where hundreds more looked on. There, at the stroke of midnight, the service reached its climactic point. Xristos Anesti! Shouted Father Alexandros.

And with those words, an incredible fireworks display echoed the theme. From across the street, on an empty baseball field, young parishioners from the neighborhood lit off firework after firework. Father Alexandros then repeated the words in English. Christ has risen! Each time a thundering boom magnified the words and the sky filled with colored lights. Minutes later, the crowd joined in as Alexandros led them in prayer. Hugs and exchanges of “Christos Anesti” were shared before they returned to the church for the rest of the service.