Belgrade, Easter 2001 (continued from post before)

This is continuation, from the same letter I posted from yesterday.  It is early for Easter but I thought the two posts should go together.

Easter, 2001

In front of St. Marko’s church are stalls selling Easter candies and beautifully painted, decorated and, in some cases, bejeweled (probably with zircon) eggs.  Nearby kids ride battery operated cars wearing their Easter wreaths.   An old woman approached me begging and I gave her a German mark.

St. Marko’s is Byzantine, a larger than scale model of the Serbian Monastery church in Gracinica, Kosovo, one of the holiest sites of Serbian Orthodoxy.  The church has a very high tower topped with a dome.  Inside it gives the feeling of reaching up, rather than a western church’s feeling of progressing forward.  This feeling is heightened by the iconostas that cuts off the altar end of the church from the nave.  Unlike the Cathedral we went to last night this church it is very Eastern.

On entering the church, however, the first sense that was stimulated is smell.  The whole, huge, interior is a cloud of vaporized candle paraffin and incense.  Light comes down from the dome in shafts through the smoke.

As we left an old man sold us an Easter card.  Outside balloon vendors tried to catch the after service crowds with balloons shaped like Tweety Bird a mobile phone.

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