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Wantagh annual Greek festival uncertain

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The annual festival at St. Markela Greek Orthodox Church in Wantagh is in question this week, as the COVID-19 crisis continues to disrupt the lives of local residents.

“It will most likely be postponed, but we don’t know yet when it will be held instead,” said the church’s pastor, the Rev. George Kolios. The festival, which usually runs for five days in mid-June, is one of the parish’s most important annual events and a major source of the parish’s revenue.

St. Markela’s ceased serving live services two weeks ago, in line with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order banning large gatherings. “I am staying at home, just as you are staying home,” said His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros (Lambrinadis), the leader of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. “It is the least we can do for the safety of our neighbors, of our friends and of our families.”

Like most local churches, St. Markela streams its services live. Barring any unforeseen developments, the church will remain closed to outsiders during Holy Week, which runs from April 12-19. The Paschal vigil and liturgy will be streamed live and celebrated by the church’s clergy.

Eastern Orthodox churches often celebrate Easter on different dates than in most Western churches, and the feast can be as much as a month later.