Cherry Hill, NJ – There is no doubt about the fact that taking part in the important traditions surrounding Holy Week and Pascha was different for all Greek Orthodox families in 2020.

Typically, on Good Friday, the children of St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church in Cherry Hill, NJ, take part in a retreat organized by the St. Thomas Orthodox Faith Sunday School. Of course, they were unable to do so this year, but the kids and their families were not deterred and were able to create some new traditions. Many made crafts at home observing this solemn day, such as their own epitaphios and kouvouklions featuring paper flowers and icons.

The craft was first introduced at St. Thomas during the Holy Friday retreat in 2015 by long-time Sunday School teacher Pattie Panagos who passed away last month, and the catechists were happy to see her influence carrying on, even though the group could not be together at the church.

It has been weeks since the Sunday School has gathered for traditional Sunday morning classes, the children have utilized technology to connect with their teachers and Father Christoforos Oikonomidis. Although the group cannot be together for services during this crisis, they feel very fortunate to be able to be together in spirit, and by enjoying some of the same Pascha traditions and activities.