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.
Category Archives: Holy Week & Holy Pascha
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
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
The services of Holy Week transform us into eyewitnesses and direct participants in the awesome events of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In readings taken from both Old and New Testaments, in hymns, processions, and liturgical commemoration, we see the fulfilment of the Messianic prophecies, and the mighty acts by which God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, grants us forgiveness for our sins, and rescues us from the pain of eternal death.
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We Must Enter into Christ’s Death In Order to Rise with Him: A Homily Near the End of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church
We go to great lengths to insulate ourselves from the realities of suffering and death. Consequently, people who experience profound loss and sorrow often find themselves alone. Surely, it is difficult to be in the presence of those in great pain of any kind, especially those who are dying, for we often feel helpless before them and are reminded of our own mortality. At some level, we know that something similar is in store for us.
Perhaps these tendencies have at least something to do with why so few of our Lord’s followers stood at the foot of His cross as He suffered and died. The Theotokos, the other women, and St. John refused to abandon Him, but the rest of the disciples fled in fear. Surely, they had good reason to be afraid for it had to be dangerous to be associated publically with someone who was crucified as a traitor to the Romans after being rejected as a blasphemer by the leaders of the Jews. But the Theotokos, the other righteous women, and St. John did not flee. They refused to allow their shock and sorrow to cause them to abandon their Saviour, even in the midst of His horrible suffering and death. Continue reading
The faith of the thief, born of his esteem for Christ’s moral greatness, proved stronger than the faith of the Apostles . . .
The Apostles wavered in their faith in Jesus as the Messiah, because they anticipated and desired to see in Him an earthly king, in whose kingdom they could sit at the right and the left hand of the Lord.
The thief understood that the Kingdom of Jesus of Nazareth, despised and given over to a shameful death, was not of this world. And it was precisely this Kingdom that the thief now sought: the gates of earthly life were closing after him; opening before him was eternity. He had settled his accounts with life on earth, and now he thought of life eternal. And here, at the threshold of eternity, he began to understand the vanity of earthly glory and earthly kingdoms. He recognized that greatness consists in righteousness, and in the righteous, blamelessly tortured Jesus he saw the King of Righteousness. The thief did not ask Him for glory in an earthly kingdom but for the salvation of his soul. Continue reading