Easter in Skiathos, the Epitaph Ceremony and Arate Pylas
In Skiahtos, the ceremony of the Epitaph starts at Holy Saturday 01:00 a.m. - not at Holy Friday 10:00 p.m. as in most regions of Greece. The ceremony lasts for three hours and then, at 04:00 a.m., the procession of the epitaph in Skiathos town streets begins. The priest walks before the people, reciting religious chants and the people behind him repeats the psalms. The procession takes about one hour and at 5:00 a.m. and the epitaph returns to the church where another ceremony takes place. The ceremony of "Arate Pylas".
Usually, "Arate Pylas" ceremony takes place at a new church. However, in some regions of Greece, the ceremony takes place also at the early morning of Holy Saturday. The priest keeps in his hands the body of Jesus Christ and walks at the door of the temple (wich is closed) chanting the "Arate Pylas" psalm. At the same time, someone inside the church (where all lights are turned off) pretends the Devil and tries to disincline the priest. Finaly, after a dialogue between the 2 men, the priest will kick the door in order to enter the church by force. Then all church lights are switched on and the Epitaph ceremony continues.