Greek town ritually burns Judas as Orthodox celebrate Easter

An effigy of Judas is set on fire during the ‘burning of the Judas’, in the port town of Ermioni, in the Peloponnese peninsula. The tradition, dating several centuries back, and observed throughout Greece, is a symbolic punishment of treason and avarice, the qualities associated with Judas, the disciple of Christ who accepted a monetary reward to betray his teacher. (AP Photo)
Updated 09 April 2018

Greek town ritually burns Judas as Orthodox celebrate Easter

  • The ritual burning of Judas is a custom also observed by Roman Catholics in parts of Latin America as a symbolic punishment for Judas’ betrayal of Christ for a monetary reward.
  • About 20 small boats circled around a raft bearing a wire model of Judas that floated off Ermioni and then the figure was set ablaze.

Ermioni: As Orthodox Christians around the world celebrated Easter on Sunday, a town on Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula observed the holy day by burning an effigy of Judas at sea.
The ritual burning of Judas is a custom also observed by Roman Catholics in parts of Latin America as a symbolic punishment for Judas’ betrayal of Christ for a monetary reward.
The tradition dates back centuries in some places. In the Greek town of Ermioni, it has been observed the past 25 years.
About 20 small boats circled around a raft bearing a wire model of Judas that floated off Ermioni and then the figure was set ablaze. More than 1,000 locals and visitors watched from shore and also listened to music and saw a laser show.
In older times, the Judas effigy was made of straw. Sometimes, topical variations on the theme are introduced. In at least two villages in Crete this year, the Judas figure was made to resemble Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
A darker side of the custom is an implied hostility in some cases toward Jews as the “killers of Christ.”
The tradition even led to an international incident in mid-19th century Greece.
Worried about offending James de Rothschild, founder of the French branch of the famous Jewish banking family who was in Greece to negotiate a loan, the government banned the burning of Judas in Athens in 1847. An outraged mob then ransacked the house of a Jew who was a British subject.
Britain demanded restitution equal to a sizeable percentage of the Greek budget. The Greek government refused, and Britain imposed a naval blockade in 1850. France and Russia took Greece’s side and the British lifted their blockade after six months. A restitution agreement was reached the following year.
Orthodox Easter came a week later than the holiday this year for Western-based Christian churches, with significant observances in Russia, Greece, Ukraine, Serbia and Kosovo.
About 4.3 million people took part in event, the Interior Ministry said. President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended Easter services at Christ the Savior Cathedral, Moscow’s largest church.
In Kiev, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attended Easter services at the Volodymyrskiy Monastery.
Serbia celebrated the day in a highly charged atmosphere over Kosovo, the former Serbian province whose predominantly Muslim, ethnic Albanian people declared independence a decade ago.
Kosovo is considered by Serbian nationalists to be the cradle of the Balkan nation’s statehood and religion. On the eve of Easter, Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej urged political leaders never to accept Kosovo’s independence, even if the price is abandoning the country’s proclaimed goal of joining the European Union.


Palestinian National Museum art show opens in Paris

Updated 18 September 2020

Palestinian National Museum art show opens in Paris

  • Art given to the exiled museum has been held in the IMA’s reserves in France since 2015
  • “It is a Palestinian museum in exile made up of donations from artists from a number of countries which we keep in our reserves,” Former French Culture Minister Jack Lang said

PARIS:An exhibition of art donated to the as yet only notional National Museum of Palestine has gone on show in Paris.
Works by the first couple of photography, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Martine Franck, as well as the street artist Jef Aerosol are featured in “Colors of the World,” which runs at the Arab World Institute (IMA) in the French capital until December 20.
Art given to the exiled museum has been held in the IMA’s reserves in France since 2015.
IMA chief and former French culture minister Jack Lang told AFP that so far the institute has been looking after some 400 works.
“It is a Palestinian museum in exile made up of donations from artists from a number of countries which we keep in our reserves,” Lang added.
He said he hoped a bricks and mortar Palestine museum “will be built one day in East Jerusalem.”
Palestine’s ambassador to UNESCO, Elias Sanbar, said the project “may seem utopian,” but similar museums in exile were set up for South Africa under apartheid and Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship.
Alongside the show, the IMA is also staging an exhibition of photos and videos by Arab artists called “Shared Memories” drawn from the vast donation of Lebanese collector Claude Lemand.