Christ is Risen: The Passion and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Maria Athanasiou

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 24 Price: (paperback) $15.99 ISBN: 9781469142548 Reviewed: December, 2018 Author Website: Visit »

Golden-hued icons adorn Maria Athanasiou’s simple retelling of the last week of Jesus Christ’s life on earth in this unique picture book for children and adults.

By combining Scriptures with beautiful original Greek icon artwork, Athanasiou breaks down the essential moments of Holy Week. At just under 25 pages, her “show and tell” book is an easy way to teach children the story of Christ’s death and resurrection and offers accompanying descriptions of Greek Orthodox traditions.

For example, a colorful painting of Judas embracing Christ under a peaceful starlit sky visually reinforces why “every Wednesday is a day of strict fast…in remembrance of the day [Christ] was betrayed.” Other traditions as well as religious terminology such as “disciple,” “kyrios,” “sacrament” and more are explained in like manner.

Readers will delight to find that rather than regurgitating long passages of Scripture, Athanasiou punctuates her paraphrased retelling of Christ’s last days with red-letter Scripture passages that enhance the accuracy of her work and highlight Christ’s words (although the author also chose to print Bible passages in blue, so the two colors can be distracting against the black ink of her commentary).

Athanasiou’s writing is free of typographical and grammatical errors, adding to its ease of use. However, she jumps right into the storytelling without an introductory explanation of the book’s purpose or tips for effective use. Athanasiou’s artwork is the focal point of each page, taking up considerable room in an already brief work; some readers may prefer a bit more exposition on each topic.

Despite such minor missteps, Greek Orthodox families will find Athanasiou’s Christ is Risen a valuable way to explore the meaning, importance and religious traditions of Holy Week.

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