Category Archives: Holy Week & Holy Pascha

The Disorienting Shock of an Empty Tomb: Homily for the Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women in the Orthodox Church

We all know what it is like to receive shocking news. Sometimes it is simply impossible to be prepared to hear an astounding message that we did not expect at all. Today we commemorate the people who received the most shocking news of all time from the angel: “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified. He is Risen. He is not here…Go tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”

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His Bodily Wounds and Ours: Homily for Thomas Sunday in the Orthodox Church

Sunday of Thomas, John 4: 5-42

Christ is Risen!

I was surprised a few years ago in one of my college classes when even the best students were surprised to learn that Christian hope for eternal life includes the resurrection of the body. They were comfortable thinking of human souls experiencing eternal life, but doubted that our actual physical bodies would have any part in the Kingdom of Heaven. Especially on this Sunday of St. Thomas, we celebrate how Christ’s bodily resurrection is the basis of hope for our own. Today we proclaim that our Savior brings healing and transformation to whole, embodied persons, for that is how He conquered death on the third day.

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The importance of the Resurrection

Fr. Dumitru Staniloae explains in his book, Orthodoxy, Life in the Resurrection, the importance of the Resurrection for the Orthodox Church, stating that:

“The deepest foundation of the hope and joy which characterise Orthodoxy and which penetrate all its worship is the Resurrection. Easter, the centre of Orthodox worship, is an explosion of joy, the same joy which the disciples felt when they saw the risen Saviour. It is the explosion of cosmic joy at the triumph of life, after the overwhelming sorrow over death – death which even the Lord of life had to suffer when he became man. ‘Let the heavens rejoice and the earth exult, and let all the world invisible and visible keep holiday, for Christ our eternal joy is risen’ All things are now filled with the certainty of life, whereas before all had been moving steadily towards death. Orthodoxy emphasises with special insistence the faith of Christianity in the triumph of life”.

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ST VASILIOS SERVICES – HOLY WEEK/PASCHA 2018

Click here for the 2018 Holy Week Program

Readings:

Fr Ephraim and Fr Athanasios, The Church Committee,
the Ladies’ Philoptohos Group, the Sunday School Teachers
and Christian Youth Group of our Church
wish all the community a
BLESSED HOLY WEEK AND JOYOUS HOLY PASCHA

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Paschal Hours 2016

From Easter Sunday until the Saturday of Renewal or ‘Bright’ week, in place of morning and evening prayers, compline, and the thanksgiving prayers after communion, the Paschal Hours are read.

Paschal Hours 2016 in Greek and English

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Entering into the Joy of the Resurrection: A Homily for St. Thomas Sunday in the Orthodox Church

Christ is Risen!

On this Sunday of St. Thomas, we have only begun our celebration of Pascha, of our Lord’s victory over death in His glorious resurrection on the third day. Perhaps one of the reasons that Pascha is a season of forty days is that it takes us a good while to let the good news sink in. For not only is Christ raised from the dead, we are too. The tomb is no longer a shadowy place of separation from God or a disappearance into oblivion, but an entry way to the Kingdom of Heaven where the departed are in the presence of the One Who has conquered death. Yes, the Risen Lord calls every human being to life eternal, including you and me and all our departed loved ones. Continue reading

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Pascha – An Explosion of Joy

Christ is Risen!

“Let all creation celebrate the rising of Christ”

The bright night of Pascha has finally arrived. The priest has put on his most splendid and bright vestments, the Resurrection icon in the Church has been decorated with flowers, altar boys are holding candles, censors and banners. Literally thousands of people have come Church dressed in their finest clothes, holding candles and waiting for the priest to announce the resurrection of Christ. Now everything is dark and silent.

The priest suddenly comes out inviting all to come and receive the true light who is Christ. The priest then makes his way to the front of the church where he will sing along with the choir: “Christ is Risen from the dead, by death trampling upon death and on those in the tombs bestowing life”. Continue reading

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