What Does 'Christos Anesti' Mean?

Learn the Meaning Behind This Greek Easter Hymn and Paschal Greeting

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Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood or Church of Resurrection.

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During the Easter season when Christians celebrate the resurrection of their Savior, Jesus Christ, members of the Eastern Orthodox faith typically greet one another with this Paschal greeting, the Easter acclamation: "Christos Anesti!" (Christ is risen!). The customary response is: "Alithos Anesti!" (He has risen indeed!). 

This same Greek phrase, "Christos Anesti," is also the title of a traditional Orthodox Easter hymn sung during Easter services in celebration of Christ’s glorious resurrection. It is sung at many services during the week of Easter in Eastern Orthodox churches.

The Words of the Hymn

Your appreciation of Greek Easter worship can be enhanced with these words to the treasured Orthodox Easter hymn, "Christos Anesti." Below, you'll find the lyrics in the Greek language, a phonetic transliteration, and also the English translation.

Christos Anesti in Greek

Χριστός ανέστη εκ νεκρών, θανάτω θάνατον πατήσας, και τοις εν τοις μνήμασι ζωήν χαρισάμενος.

The Transliteration

Christos Anesti ek nekron, thanato thanaton patisas, kai tis en tis mnimasi zoin harisamenos.

Christos Anesti in English

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs, granting life.

The Promise of Resurrection Life

The lyrics of this ancient hymn recall the biblical message spoken by the angel to Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph after Jesus' crucifixion when the women arrived at the tomb early Sunday morning to anoint Jesus body:

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying." (Matthew 28:5-6, Additionally, the lyrics refer to the moment of Jesus' death when the earth opened up and bodies of believers, previously dead in their tombs, miraculously raised to life:

Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. (Matthew 27: 50-53, NLT)

Both the hymn and the expression "Christos Anesti" remind worshipers today that all the faithful will one day be raised from death to eternal life through belief in Christ. For believers, this is the core of their faith, the joy-filled promise of the Easter celebration.

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Fairchild, Mary. "What Does 'Christos Anesti' Mean?" Learn Religions, Aug. 29, 2020, learnreligions.com/meaning-of-christos-anesti-700625. Fairchild, Mary. (2020, August 29). What Does 'Christos Anesti' Mean? Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/meaning-of-christos-anesti-700625 Fairchild, Mary. "What Does 'Christos Anesti' Mean?" Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/meaning-of-christos-anesti-700625 (accessed March 31, 2023).