President Karolos Papoulias, speaking in Corfu where he celebrated Easter at the naval station, expressed certainty that the Greek people will overcome the present difficult days as they possess inexhaustible powers.
"The days are difficult, but I believe that our difficulties will be overcome. The Resurrection of Christ will help us, the Greek people to pass their own Golgotha. I am certain, I believe in this, the Greek people have inexhaustible powers," he said. President Papoulias also referred to the armed forces, the navy and the air force, stressing that it is they that defend the borders and discourage whoever of thinking of something against the country's integrity.
President Papoulias arrived on the island at 13:15 with the presidential aircraft from the city of Ioannina, his home city,where he has been since Palm Sunday.
PM Papandreou's Easter message
Prime Minister George Papandreou, in a message on the occa-sion of the Easter holiday, stressed that "Greece is changing today and is being reborn despite the difficulties," adding that "Easter symbolises for Hellenism, for all of us, the beginning of a new life."
In his message from the island of Hydra, where he arrived for Easter, the prime minister pointed out that "through the difficulties and the efforts of all of us, we are changing menta-lities and conceptions and we are thinking responsibly of the common benefit, of our children, of tomorrow."
The prime minister expresses optimism that "despite the difficulties, we are walking together on this path, we are breaking pessimism and fatalism and taking change in our hands, certain that we shall succeed."
Lastly, Papandreou stresses that "we shall succeed in the end in having a country of justice and growth for which we shall be proud. Optimistically, decisively, we are making Greece of creation."
PM Papandreou holds telephone conversation with Archbishop Ieronymos
Prime Minister George Papandreou held a telephone conver-sation, on the occasion of the Easter holiday, with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos on Saturday evening and exchanged best wishes with him.
The Archbishop wished the prime minister courage and success in his efforts, while they agreed to meet when their commitments permit them to do so.
ND party leader's Easter message
Main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras, speaking after the resurrection service he attended at Agios Georgios Cathedral in the city of Nafplio, said that "the triumph of the Resurrection is bringing the hope that is not written in the sand or in the air, but is bound to the sturdy rock of realism, self-confidence and responsibility."
Samaras visited an armed forces facility in the city of Tripoli and exchanged best wishes with officers and servicemen.
Speaking afterwards, he said "in the eyes of the young people I see the anxiety for their future and our responsibility to give them tangible and not theoretical hope. Hope that will be applicable, so that they can regain self-confidence and hope for tomorrow."
Samaras wished that "optimism will come again to every home" and expressed the conviction that "with the strength of God all will be well."
Political party leaders' Easter visits
President Karolos Papoulias celebrated Easter on the island of Corfu, at the islands's naval station.
Prime Minister George Paopandreou visited the island of Hydra, while main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras spent Easter Day in the city of Nafplio.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga and Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) president Alexis Tsipras remained in Athens, while Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis went to the city of Atalanti.
Greek delegation receives the Holy Light
The Greek delegation and the representatives of the Church of Greece received the Holy Light from Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem shortly after it was lit at the Holy Sepulchre Church of the Resurrection of Christ in early afternoon on Holy Saturday.
Addressing Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Dollis, head of the Greek government delegation, the Patriarch underlined that “in the present conjuncture of disappointment, confusion and despair, the Resurrection of Christ is the hope of light, salvation and resurrection for our nation”.
On his part, Dollis stressed that it is “a great honor to receive the Holy Light on behalf of the Greek people and the Greek government”.
The Holy Light will arrive around 7:00 p.m. at Athens’ “Eleftherios Venizelos” International Airport on a government executive flight where it will be received with heads of state honors.
After its arrival in Athens, the Holy Light will be conveyed on special flights by C-130 Air Force planes throughout Greece for the midnight Resurrection services.
Holidaymakers gradually returning home
Easter holidaymakers were returning home on Monday evening, while the traffic police were on standby at both national road networks. According to assessments by traffic police officers, the return to the capital will take place gradually during the week and will be completed on Sunday May 1.
As regards the Athenians' exodus, 840,000 cars passed from the Elefsina and Afidnes tollgates from Holy Monday until dawn on Easter Sunday, a figure that was slightly less than last year's.
Over the past four days about 50,000 passengers left the port of Piraeus for the islands, an increased number, according to port authority officers, by 25 percent compared to the corresponding period last year.