Books: Lycovrissi Parable

THE GREEK PASSION (432 pp.)—Nikos Kazantzakis—Simon & Schuster ($4).

The Greek Orthodox priest and elders of the Turkish town of Lycovrissi found it easy, a year ahead of time, to fill most of the parts in their Passion play. A coarse-faced wife-beater was picked to play Judas. The role of Mary Magdalen fell to the village prostitute. Plain men of good will were chosen for the Apostles, and it was finally agreed that a fresh-faced young peasant named Manolios was best fitted to play the part of Christ.

Yet the chosen actors never gave their Passion play. Instead, along with their fellow...

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