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As we enter Lent in preparation for Easter, I thought I bring to light a the word most affiliated with the season:

Christos (krĭs’ tō)

  • "Χρίστος", Chrístos, from the adjective "χριστός", christós, i.e., "anointed" (or "chosen one" as is the Christian theological term for the Messiah), and
  • "Χρήστος", Chrēstos, from the adjective "χρηστός", chrēstós, i.e., "useful".

Today both spellings are practically interchangeable and are pronounced virtually the same (with the stress on the penultimate syllable)

This however is different from Christós, Christ, which is accented on the last syllable.

Using the accent on the last syllable helps eliminates confusion as to whether someone refers to a regular person or to Jesus Christ. Although, I know there are some regular people who think highly of themselves.

Here you can see how another change in the accent location effects a personal name, e.g. "Σταύρος" (Stávros), from "σταυρός" (stavrós, cross).

So next time you come in to Mezes be certain to say “Hi Stávros”, and don't cross him.


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