CHRIST IS RISEN! INDEED HE IS RISEN!
Holy Pascha, the Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord, is the Feast of Feasts! We prepare for its celebration especially during forty days of Great Lent – a period of repentance, prayer and fasting. Great Lent is followed by the Holiest of Weeks, when each day, we remember the last events of Our Lord’s earthly life – the Mystical Supper, His betrayal, His Passion, death and burial.
Even while we stand before the Tomb of Christ on Holy Friday evening, we sing the beautiful Canon of Holy Saturday, already experiencing the Life Giving Tomb! We hear, “Let creation rejoice! Let all born on earth be glad! For hateful hell has been despoiled. Let the women with myrrh come to meet me; for I am redeeming Adam and Eve and all their descendants, and on the third day shall I arise!” (Ode 9, Canon of Holy Saturday)
Our photos capture some scenes from Vespers of Holy Friday and the procession on Holy Friday evening. Then, at the midnight service Saturday night, all the faithful carry lit candles in procession three times around the church, bells ringing, singing: “Thy Resurrection O Christ our Savior, the angels in heaven sing, enable us on earth to glorify Thee in purity of heart.” Finally arriving at the door of the church, just as the Myrrh-bearing Women arrived at the Tomb of Christ, the priest proclaims, “Christ is Risen!” All reply, “Indeed He Is Risen!”
Upon entering the church at midnight, we celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. All is illumined by the joy of the Resurrection!
We gather again for Paschal Vespers on Sunday. With the faithful following in procession, the priest proclaims the Gospel in different languages on all sides the church!
We sing again and again, “Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs, bestowing life!”
~ Paschal Troparion