Olive oil and Orthodoxy

There are plenty of references about the sanctity of olive tree and olive oil in the Old and the New Testament.

In Genesis, for instance, olive oil is characterised as a symbol of power, tranquillity, peace, "divine mercy" and spirituality, while after the Flood God sent to Noah's Ark a dove carrying an olive tree leaf, a symbol for God's mercy and the reconciliation and peace taking place between the Earth and the Sky. There are more than 170 Biblical references of the olive tree in total.

It is only some years ago that in Peloponnese, Crete and Euboea, people placed at the foundations of the church near the Altar or the Sanctuary a large hanging-oil lamp, around which they left notes with the names of those participating in the ceremony.

Finally, olive oil plays a very important role in three religious sacraments. The Baptism, the Holy Unction and the Friday of the Holy Oil.

Left photo: Oil is the necessary material for the lighting and maintenance of the hanging oil-lamp.

Photo above: Greek country chapels are surrounded by olive trees on the top of hills.


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