Pascha


The Rusyn wooden churches salvaged into the open-air museum of Lwów are not only exhibits. The St. Nicholas Church of Krivka, timbered in 1763 by Boyko masters in the Carpathians, just a few kilometers from the then Galician-Hungarian border, is still used for its original purpose. Every evening they keep vespers – the evening worship of the Greek Catholic Church –, to which the entrance into the open-air museum is free for the believers. Tonight, however, we arrive at an Easter meal consecration ceremony instead of vespers.

On the afternoon before the midnight Resurrection Mass, the Greek Catholic families carry their baskets filled with pascha – eggs, ham, sausage, kulich sprinkled with colored sugar, wine and brandy – in front of the church, where for long hours they form new and new circles waiting for the consecration of the food. This will be served for the breakfast tomorrow morning, after the family comes home from the Mass. Sitting in the dimly lit corner of the wooden church, I watch how they come in a long line to pay honors at the holy sepulcher arranged in the church, putting down a piece of sausage, a few slices of ham, a cake. Then they photograph each other in front of the church for the posterity in the Ukrainian folk costume taken up for the occasion. Much later, when going to the midnight Mass, I still see them walking home all over the city with the baskets covered with embroidered Ukrainian cloths.


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