photos and text: Pinelopi Gerasimou
My first contact was with Pastor Emmanuel. I found him on the sidewalk , talking with other believers and dared to ask him if I could photograph the ritual. I allowed and so I found myself in the basement. I stood for a moment to get a first taste and first thing I noticed is that the people there, they behaved much more freely than is typical in orthodox churches . They danced and sang in the presence of musical instruments. Little kids were running here and there. Not at all seemed to oppress their "wild" instincts . Others sat , some eating , some were talking on the sidelines of the main body of believers. There was diffuse a feeling of free will that " hugged " me and it drove out my initial fear that I walk into a heavy ritual. Then the music stopped. The pastor took the mic and informed the faithful for the reason of my presence to clear any suspicion, although the people seemed comfortable already. And the sermon began. Pentikostianism is a Christian movement that belongs to the wider doctrine of Protestantism. It is not a specific church, but is part of the movement of renewal-rebirth. Very basic feature of this dogma is that it is based more on experience than on theory of theology. His only basis is the Bible, considered infallible in total.
The African Church of Pentikostians is located in a basement at colorful and multicultural neighborhood of Kypseli, Athens, Greece, April 2014.