Pascha

Christ is risen!

The highlight of the Christian year is Pascha, a.k.a. Easter.  This is the feast of feasts.  In the East every Sunday is a little Pascha and thus every Friday is a little Holy Friday.  We fast on Friday because Our Savior died for us on that day and He rose from the dead on Sunday.  This is why Pascha is always on a Sunday.

We have midnight service which starts at 11:30 with Nocturns.  This is the only time that Nocturns in served today.  At midnight we announce the Resurrection and we process outside the temple and around it in most cases.  We then come back to the empty tomb.  When the stone is rolled away, all the lights in the temple are burning.  All the doors to the Altar are open.  The deacon goes in and out through the Royal Doors all week. 

The late Archbishop Dmitri said that once we announce the Resurrection of Christ we start eating and we don't stop.  After the services there is a big meal.  The table is laden.  Those who fasted and those who have not fasted are invited.  Those who came from the first hour and those who came at the last hour are invited.  We forgive each other in the Resurrection.

Later in the morning Deacon James fetched me and we went to St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington for the Agape Vespers presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon.  At this service the Gospel is read in as many languages as we can.  Deacon James does it in German and I do it in Latin.  Metropolitan Tikhon does it in English and French.  A woman does it in Indonesian.  Fr. Valery usually does it in Russian.  Reader John did it in Greek and Arabic. 

After this service there is another big meal.  It was just after this service in the 1970s that Archbishop Dmitri made his comment.

When we finish, Deacon James takes me to Ten Hill where I have Pascha dinner with the same family that has invited me for centuries. At the end of the day Russ takes me home.

Now on Monday I go to Holy Cross for Bright Monday Liturgy.  I used to serve at my own parish, but we no longer have it at the temple.  Instead, we have it at Cathedral Gardens.  It is considerably easier for me to get to Holy Cross.  Plus this gives me an opportunity to spend time with my Antiochian family.
 

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