EXPAND YOUR READING!!

"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

Google+ Badge

Friday, 3 May 2013

ORTHODOX EASTER SUNDAY by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, Father Alexander Men & Protopriest Alexander Schmemann



Christ is risen!
by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom
of Sourozh

When Christ first rose from the tomb and appeared to His disciples and the myrrh-bearing women, He greeted them with the word "Rejoice!". And then later when He appeared to the Apostles His first words were "Peace be unto you!"; peace, because their confusion was very great - the Lord had died. It seemed as though all hope had perished for the victory of God over human wickedness, for the victory of good over evil. It would seem that life itself had been slain and light had faded. All that remained for the disciples who had believed in Christ, in life, in love, was to go on existing, for they could no longer live. Having tasted eternal life they were now condemned to expect cruel persecution and death at the hands of Christ's enemies. "Peace be unto you", proclaimed Christ. "I have arisen, I am alive, I am with you, and henceforth nothing - neither death nor persecution - will ever separate us or deprive you of eternal life, the victory of God". And then, having convinced them of His physical resurrection, having restored their peace and an unshakable certainty of faith, Christ uttered words which may in the present age sound menacing and frightening to many, "As the Father sent Me, so I send you". Only a few hours after Christ's death on the cross, not long after the fearful night in Gethsemane, the betrayal by Judas when Christ had been taken by His enemies, condemned to death, led out beyond the city walls and died on the cross, these words sounded menacing. And it was only faith, the conquering certainty that Christ had risen, that God had conquered, that the Church had become an invincible force that transformed these words into words of hope and triumphant God-speed.

And the disciples went out to preach; nothing could stop them. Twelve men confronted the Roman empire. Twelve defenceless men, twelve men without legal rights were out to preach the simplest message, that divine love had entered the world and that they were willing to give their lives for the sake of this love, in order that others might believe and come to life, and that a new life might begin for others through their death. [I Cor. IV :9-13]

Death was indeed granted them; there is not a single apostle except St. John the Divine who did not die a martyr's death. Death was granted them, and persecution and suffering and a cross (II Cor. VI: 3-14).

But faith, faith in Christ, in God Incarnate, faith in Christ crucified and risen, faith in Christ who brought unquenchable love into the world, has triumphed. "Our faith which has conquered the world is the victory."
This preaching changed the attitude of man to man; every person became precious in the eyes of another. The destiny of the world was widened and deepened; it burst the bounds of earth and united earth to heaven. And now we Christians, in the words of a western preacher, in the person of Jesus Christ, have become the people to whom God has committed the care of other people; that they should believe in themselves because God believes in us; that they should hope for all things because God puts His hope in us; that they should be able to carry our victorious faith through the furnace of horror, trials, hatred and persecution - that faith which has already conquered the world, in the faith in Christ, God crucified and risen.

So let us also stand up for this faith. Let us proclaim it fearlessly, let us teach it to our children, let us bring them to the sacraments of the Church which, even before they can understand it, unite them with God and plant eternal life in them.

All of us, sooner or later, will stand before the judgment of God and will have to answer whether we were able to love the whole world - believers and unbelievers, the good and the bad - with the sacrificial, crucified, all-conquering love with which God loves us. May the Lord give us invincible courage, triumphant faith, joyful love in order that the kingdom for which God became man should be established, that we should truly become godly, that our earth should indeed become heaven where love, triumphant love lives and reigns. Christ is risen!


modified on 28 December 2007 at 14:00 ••• 2,431 views
Victory over Death

This and Concerning Eternal Life are sermons given by Fr Alexander Men. Victory over Death is an Easter sermon, simple but with some touches of interest, from a defunct website of Roman Pomarenko.
With the setting of the sun on April 8th the Sabbath rest had come to an end but the women still had to buy the aromatic powders and ointments which were used to embalm. Thus visitation of the tomb was postponed to the morning of the following day. Of the guards they knew nothing; they were only bothered by the thought: Who will help us roll away the heavy stone?
Mary Magdalene came earlier than her friends. In the twilight of the dawn, coming up to the cave, she stopped in confusion: the stone had been rolled away.
What did this mean? Were not the enemies of the Teacher satisfied even after His death?
Meanwhile Salome and Mary, the mother of James arrived and, looking into the cave, were convinced that it is empty. In tears Mary Magdalene ran to Peter and John and told them the horrible news: “They have taken the Lord from the tomb and we do not know where they have put Him.” Both disciples hurriedly left the house where they were hiding and ran after Mary to Joseph's garden.
At first they ran together, but late Simon fell behind and John reached the cave first. Seeing that Mary was right he got caught up in speculation: Who would violate the law and embitter a place of eternal rest? The youth leaned towards the opening but strongly hesitated to enter.
When Peter arrived at the enclosure he was virtually out of breath but he was not the sort of person to think things out at length. Not stopping, he immediately entered the dark cavern. That emboldened John and he followed Simon. Next to the stone mat they saw the shroud and a cover for the face. The one who had been buried had disappeared.
The disciples were afraid to ask questions, protest or seek the body. They returned to the city filled with sorrowful doubt. Clearly, their enemies had decided to make fun of them as long as possible.
Mary Magdalene remained at the tomb alone. Immersed in her owe, she did not notice that the rest of the women had gone somewhere. Literally not believing the misfortune, Mary again drew near to the opening of the cave and unexpectedly saw there two unknown persons in white robes.
“Woman, why do you weep?” they asked.
“Because you have taken my Lord and I do not know where you have laid Him.”
A hope awoke in her: maybe these people will explain to me what happened? But at the same moment Mary Magdalene felt the presence of someone standing behind her and she turned around to see who it was.
“Woman, why do you weep? Whom do you seek?” asked the stranger.
Thinking only about her concern, Mary decided that standing in front of her was a gardener who would definitely know where the body was.
“Sir”, she said pleading, “if you have taken Him away, tell me where you have placed Him and I will take Him.”
“Mariam!” shouted out a painfully familiar voice. Everything inside her went topsy-turvy. There was no doubt. It is He…
“Rabuni!” cried Mary Magdalene and fell at His feet.
“Do not touch me”, Jesus warned her, “for I have not yet gone to my Father; but go to my brethren and tell them: ‘I go up to my Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’”
Driven crazy with joy, barely understanding what had happened, Mary ran out of the garden. The herald of the rare, unheard of news ran into the house, where mourning reigned, but not one of her friends took her amazing words seriously. All decided that the poor woman had gone out of her mind. They thought the same thing when, after her, there appeared Joanna the wife of Chuza, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. They, speaking all at once, began to give testimony that the Teacher is alive, that they had seen Him with their own eyes. They told of how when they had gone down into the cave, as Mary Magdalene was leaving to call the disciples, and found there the youth in a white robe.
“Do not be frightened!” he said. “You are seeking Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified One. He is risen, He is not here. There is the place, where He was laid. But go and tell His disciples and Peter, that He will precede you to Galilee. There you will see Him, as He said to you.”
The women admitted that at first it was horrible for them to speak of this vision, but that later Jesus Himself appeared to them on the road and repeated the order for all of them to go to Galilee.
The apostles just looked at each other, listening to this account. Luke notes that to the apostles “this story of the women seemed pure nonsense, and they did not believe them.” After the recent disaster, the disciples were far from hoping for a miracle and least of all did they expect that soon God would transform them from people who had been shaken and nearly destroyed by catastrophe into the proclaimers of a new faith.
The annals of history contain much what is incomprehensible, but one can safely say, that the least probable historical event is the life of Jesus of Nazareth and the mystery which crowned His life. It is correct to say that this mystery goes beyond the bounds of what is accessible to human reason. Even so there are observable facts, found in the field of vision of a historian. At the same time as the Church which had barely been born seemed to have perished forever, when the project put forth by Jesus lay in ruins and His disciples had lost all faith—everything suddenly changes radically. Exultant joy replaced disappointment and despair; those who had only recently abandoned the Teacher and denied Him, boldly proclaim the victory of the Son of God. Something happened, without which there would be no Christianity.
That “something” was the revelation of the Son of God in glory, which Jesus Himself had foretold to Caiphas at His trial. The high priest perceived blasphemy in His words, and the tragic end of the Nazarene was to confirm the opinion of the Sanhedrin. To the Apostles the paschal appearances showed the truthfulness of prophecy. Jesus revealed Himself now not only as the Christ and the Teacher, but as the Lord, the Lord who is the incarnate Living God.
Neither Pilate nor the members of the tribunal saw the Risen One. If it had been the irrefutable and obvious nature of a miracle which would have forced them to confess Him, that would have been an injustice to the spirit which is free to oppose God. Only those who loved Christ, who were chosen by Him for service, could “see His Glory, the Glory that is His as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
For the apostles the Resurrection was not only the joy of again finding the Teacher; it meant victory over the powers of darkness, it became the guarantee of the final triumph of God's Truth, sign of the invincibility of the Good personified in Jesus of Nazareth.
“If Christ is not risen,” says the Apostle Paul, “vain is our preaching and vain is our faith.”
This is the thought by which Christianity will live, for on the day of Pascha the Church does not merely confess faith in the immortality of the soul, but the overcoming of death, darkness and disintegration.
“Christ is Risen, and Hades is overthrown! Christ is Risen and the demons have fallen! Christ is Risen and the Angels rejoice! Christ is Risen and Life reigns!”



Victory over Death
by Father Alexander Men

This and Concerning Eternal Life are sermons given by Fr Alexander Men. Victory over Death is an Easter sermon, simple but with some touches of interest, from a defunct website of Roman Pomarenko.
With the setting of the sun on April 8th the Sabbath rest had come to an end but the women still had to buy the aromatic powders and ointments which were used to embalm. Thus visitation of the tomb was postponed to the morning of the following day. Of the guards they knew nothing; they were only bothered by the thought: Who will help us roll away the heavy stone?
Mary Magdalene came earlier than her friends. In the twilight of the dawn, coming up to the cave, she stopped in confusion: the stone had been rolled away.
What did this mean? Were not the enemies of the Teacher satisfied even after His death?
Meanwhile Salome and Mary, the mother of James arrived and, looking into the cave, were convinced that it is empty. In tears Mary Magdalene ran to Peter and John and told them the horrible news: “They have taken the Lord from the tomb and we do not know where they have put Him.” Both disciples hurriedly left the house where they were hiding and ran after Mary to Joseph's garden.
At first they ran together, but late Simon fell behind and John reached the cave first. Seeing that Mary was right he got caught up in speculation: Who would violate the law and embitter a place of eternal rest? The youth leaned towards the opening but strongly hesitated to enter.
When Peter arrived at the enclosure he was virtually out of breath but he was not the sort of person to think things out at length. Not stopping, he immediately entered the dark cavern. That emboldened John and he followed Simon. Next to the stone mat they saw the shroud and a cover for the face. The one who had been buried had disappeared.
The disciples were afraid to ask questions, protest or seek the body. They returned to the city filled with sorrowful doubt. Clearly, their enemies had decided to make fun of them as long as possible.
Mary Magdalene remained at the tomb alone. Immersed in her owe, she did not notice that the rest of the women had gone somewhere. Literally not believing the misfortune, Mary again drew near to the opening of the cave and unexpectedly saw there two unknown persons in white robes.
“Woman, why do you weep?” they asked.
“Because you have taken my Lord and I do not know where you have laid Him.”
A hope awoke in her: maybe these people will explain to me what happened? But at the same moment Mary Magdalene felt the presence of someone standing behind her and she turned around to see who it was.
“Woman, why do you weep? Whom do you seek?” asked the stranger.
Thinking only about her concern, Mary decided that standing in front of her was a gardener who would definitely know where the body was.
“Sir”, she said pleading, “if you have taken Him away, tell me where you have placed Him and I will take Him.”
“Mariam!” shouted out a painfully familiar voice. Everything inside her went topsy-turvy. There was no doubt. It is He…
“Rabuni!” cried Mary Magdalene and fell at His feet.
“Do not touch me”, Jesus warned her, “for I have not yet gone to my Father; but go to my brethren and tell them: ‘I go up to my Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’”
Driven crazy with joy, barely understanding what had happened, Mary ran out of the garden. The herald of the rare, unheard of news ran into the house, where mourning reigned, but not one of her friends took her amazing words seriously. All decided that the poor woman had gone out of her mind. They thought the same thing when, after her, there appeared Joanna the wife of Chuza, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. They, speaking all at once, began to give testimony that the Teacher is alive, that they had seen Him with their own eyes. They told of how when they had gone down into the cave, as Mary Magdalene was leaving to call the disciples, and found there the youth in a white robe.
“Do not be frightened!” he said. “You are seeking Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified One. He is risen, He is not here. There is the place, where He was laid. But go and tell His disciples and Peter, that He will precede you to Galilee. There you will see Him, as He said to you.”
The women admitted that at first it was horrible for them to speak of this vision, but that later Jesus Himself appeared to them on the road and repeated the order for all of them to go to Galilee.
The apostles just looked at each other, listening to this account. Luke notes that to the apostles “this story of the women seemed pure nonsense, and they did not believe them.” After the recent disaster, the disciples were far from hoping for a miracle and least of all did they expect that soon God would transform them from people who had been shaken and nearly destroyed by catastrophe into the proclaimers of a new faith.
The annals of history contain much what is incomprehensible, but one can safely say, that the least probable historical event is the life of Jesus of Nazareth and the mystery which crowned His life. It is correct to say that this mystery goes beyond the bounds of what is accessible to human reason. Even so there are observable facts, found in the field of vision of a historian. At the same time as the Church which had barely been born seemed to have perished forever, when the project put forth by Jesus lay in ruins and His disciples had lost all faith—everything suddenly changes radically. Exultant joy replaced disappointment and despair; those who had only recently abandoned the Teacher and denied Him, boldly proclaim the victory of the Son of God. Something happened, without which there would be no Christianity.
That “something” was the revelation of the Son of God in glory, which Jesus Himself had foretold to Caiphas at His trial. The high priest perceived blasphemy in His words, and the tragic end of the Nazarene was to confirm the opinion of the Sanhedrin. To the Apostles the paschal appearances showed the truthfulness of prophecy. Jesus revealed Himself now not only as the Christ and the Teacher, but as the Lord, the Lord who is the incarnate Living God.
Neither Pilate nor the members of the tribunal saw the Risen One. If it had been the irrefutable and obvious nature of a miracle which would have forced them to confess Him, that would have been an injustice to the spirit which is free to oppose God. Only those who loved Christ, who were chosen by Him for service, could “see His Glory, the Glory that is His as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
For the apostles the Resurrection was not only the joy of again finding the Teacher; it meant victory over the powers of darkness, it became the guarantee of the final triumph of God's Truth, sign of the invincibility of the Good personified in Jesus of Nazareth.
“If Christ is not risen,” says the Apostle Paul, “vain is our preaching and vain is our faith.”
This is the thought by which Christianity will live, for on the day of Pascha the Church does not merely confess faith in the immortality of the soul, but the overcoming of death, darkness and disintegration.
“Christ is Risen, and Hades is overthrown! Christ is Risen and the demons have fallen! Christ is Risen and the Angels rejoice! Christ is Risen and Life reigns!”



Easter in the Liturgical Year
by Father Alexander Schmemann

In the center of our liturgical life, in the very center of that time which we measure as year, we find the feast of Christ’s Resurrection. What is Resurrection? Resurrection is the appearance in this world, completely dominated by time and therefore by death, of a life that will have no end. The one who rose again from the dead does not die anymore. In this world of ours, not somewhere else, not in a world that we do not know at all, but in our world, there appeared one morning Someone who is beyond death and yet in our time. This meaning of Christ’s Resurrection, this great joy, is the central theme of Christianity and it has been preserved in its purity by the Orthodox Church. There is much truth expressed by those who say that the real central theme of Orthodoxy, the center of all its experience, the frame of reference of everything else, is the Resurrection of Christ.

The center, the day, that gives meaning to all days and therefore to all time, is that yearly commemoration of Christ’s Resurrection at Easter. This is always the end and the beginning. We are always living after Easter, and we are always going toward Easter. Easter is the earliest Christian feast. The whole tone and meaning of the liturgical life of the Church is contained in Easter, together with the subsequent fifty-day period, which culminates in the feast of the Pentecost, the coming down of Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. This unique Easter celebration is reflected every week in the Christian Sunday, which we call in Russian "Voskresenie" (Resurrection Day). If only you would take some time to read the texts of Sunday Matins you would realize, though it may seem strange to you, that every Sunday we have a little Easter. I say "Little Easter," but it is really "Great Easter." Every week the Church comes to the same central experience: "Having seen Thy Resurrection..." Every Saturday night when the priest carries the Gospel from the altar to the center of the church, after he has read the Gospel of the Resurrection, the same fundamental fact of our Christian faith is proclaimed: Christ is risen! St. Paul says: "If Christ is not risen, then your faith is in vain." There is nothing else to believe. This is the real center, and it is only in reference to Easter as the end of all natural time and the beginning of the new time in which we as Christians have to live that we can understand the whole liturgical year. If you open a calendar, you will find all our Sundays are called Sundays after Pentecost, and Pentecost itself is fifty days after Easter. Pentecost is the fulfillment of Easter. Christ ascended into heaven and sent down His Holy Spirit. When He sent down His Holy Spirit into the world, a new society was instituted, a body of people, whose life, though it remained of this world and was shared in its life, took on a new meaning. This new meaning comes directly from Christ’s Resurrection. We are no longer people who are living in time as in a meaningless process, which makes us first old and then ends in our disappearance. We are given not only a new meaning in life, but even death itself has acquired a new significance. In the Troparion at Easter we say, "He trampled down death by death." We do not say that He trampled down death by the Resurrection, but by death. A Christian still faces death as a decomposition of the body, as an end; yet in Christ, in the Church, because of Easter, because of Pentecost, death is no longer just the end but it is the beginning also. It is not something meaningless which therefore gives a meaningless taste to all of life. Death means entering into the Easter of the Lord. This is the basic tone, the basic melody of the liturgical year of the Christian Church. Christianity is, first of all, the proclamation in this world of Christ’s Resurrection. Orthodox spirituality is paschal in its inner content, and the real content of the Church life is joy. We speak of feasts; the feast is the expression of joyfulness of Christianity.

The only real thing, especially in the child’s world, which the child accepts easily, is precisely joy. We have made our Christianity so adult, so serious, so sad, so solemn that we have almost emptied it of that joy. Yet Christ Himself said, "Unless you become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of God." To become as a child in Christ’s terms means to be capable of that spiritual joy of which an adult is almost completely incapable. To enter into that communion with things, with nature, with other people without suspicion of fear or frustration. We often use the term "grace." But what is grace? Charisma in Greek means not only grace but also joy. "And I will give you the joy that no one will take away from you..." If I stress this point so much, it is because I am sure that, if we have a message to our own people, it is that message of Easter joy which finds its climax on Easter night. When we stand at the door of the church and the priest has said, "Christ Is Risen," then the night becomes in the terms of St. Gregory of Nyssa, "lighter than the day." This is the secret strength, the real root of Christian experience. Only within the framework of this joy can we understand everything else.


(Excerpts from the lecture "The Sanctification of Life" on the Third Annual Church School Conference sponsored by the Metropolitan Council Religious Education Committee, July 1963.)



EASTER IN RUSSIA

 Пасха (“Pashka”) is how Russians call Easter, the single most important day in the Orthodox calendar and what makes it really special is the over 1,000 year history of Christianity in Russia. Important traditions are celebrated in the various regions of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus during this holy holiday. The name Пасха (Pashka) means “great night” of which the idea is of the night of Christ’s passion in the garden before his death. The Orthodox Easter liturgy begins on Saturday night and flows through Sunday morning with the pictorial of the death, burial and then resurrection of Christ. At church don’t be surprised to see friends kissing (gender doesn’t matter) three times on alternating cheeks. As we’ve written previously, the Russian word for Easter is taken from Greek and is Пасха (“pahsh-ka”). 

 The signs proclaim Христос воскрес! Christ has risen! (photo: Tatyana Alekseeva Shino) Whether Христос воскрес (Christ is risen) is said as a greeting from one person to another or when in a service is shouted by the priest, the congregation responds with Воистину воскрес (va-IST-in-oo vas-KRES) which means “truly risen!.” Easter liturgy inside a Russian village church. (photo: Tatyana Alekseeva Shino) Another greeting is c Пасхой (SPAS-khee), literally meaning “with Easter.” It could be also understood as “with Christ” or “with Christ’s resurrection at Easter.” In historic Christianity the early Orthodox church understood that the only way to participate personally in the hope of resurrection was to be “with” or “in” Christ. To be found outside of Christ, outside of the resurrection, was to be without hope in eternal life. So as we approach the final days of holy week, the Mendeleyev Journal extends the faithful greeting to those who have ears to hear. Христос воскрес! (Christ is risen) Воистину воскрес! (Truly risen) Here is an updated list of Orthodox Easter dates: 2013 – Easter Sunday – May 5th 2014 – Easter Sunday – April 20th (same as Roman Catholic) 2015 – Easter Sunday – April 12th In Eastern Europe and Asia, Easter is usually celebrated at a later date than in the West. This happens because Easter dates are determined by different calendars. The Russian Orthodox Church uses the old Julian calendar, whereas the Roman Catholic (and its daughter/breakaway Protestant churches) switched to the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century.

No pews in an Orthodox Church, faithful stand for the 2-3 hour liturgy service and generally a woman’s head is covered with a scarf. 40 days of fasting before Easter: For 40 days before Easter many Russians observe the Great Lenten fast in which no meat, meat products, milk, eggs, alcohol or oil is consumed in meals. This tradition which is marked by all the Orthodox churches worldwide calls believers to prayer and repentance and is a small picture of the isolation and plain diet which Christ experienced during the 40 day period prior to his resurrection. The fasting begins with Maslenitsa (Масленица): This is also known as Cheesefare Week, Butter Week, or Pancake week is a Russian religious and folk holiday. It is celebrated during the last week before Great Lent—that is, the seventh week before Pascha (Easter). Maslenitsa signals the coming of the fast and celebrates with feasts of pancakes. Sometimes it is called “Cheesefare” week, the last week when cheese is okay for consumption. The previous week was called “Meatfare” week for the same reasons. During Maslenitsa week, meat is already forbidden to Orthodox Christians, making it a “myasopustnaya nedelya” (мясопустная неделя) “meat-empty week” or “meat-fast week”. During Lent, meat, fish, dairy products and eggs are forbidden. Furthermore, Lent also excludes parties, secular music, dancing and other distractions from the spiritual life. Thus, Maslenitsa represents the last chance to partake of dairy products and those social activities that are not appropriate during the more prayerful, sober and introspective Lenten season. Setting aside certain foods, parties and celebrations, ( some couples abstain from sex, or curtail frequency during the fast), etc, have to do with self discipline, a key Eastern principle almost completely unheard of in the West. This explains to baffled Westerners why a normally nonreligious person will join in the Orthodox Nativity fast for 40 days before Christmas and the Pashka (Easter) fast 40 days before Easter. Its part of the Eastern belief that self discipline is good for the body, good for the soul, and good for mental health. In countries such as Russia, Bulgaria, Belarus, and Ukraine, etc, the government changes it’s diet for the Easter fast. In Moscow the Kremlin kitchens are among the nation’s largest producers of Easter bread/cakes. The Easter time celebration is by far the most important in the Russian Orthodox Church. Preceding Easter is the month-and-a-half-long Lenten fast. In Russia, Lent starts on Monday instead of on Wednesday, and is traditionally preceded by a whole week of pancake dinners, called Maslenitsa. Although not everyone observing Lent do to church on a regular basis, people observe the Orthodox Lenten fast, which is entirely vegan (no meat or animal products), which is of sufficient popularity that most restaurants advertise “fasting” dishes during this time. The week before Easter, Palm Sunday, is called “Pussywillow Sunday.” Russia doesn’t have too many palm trees, and traditionally pussywillows, which begin to bloom right around Easter, symbolized triumph and victory, just like palm trees did in ancient Palestine. Leading up to Palm Sunday, you can buy pussywillows all over town.

Христос Воскресе! = Christ is risen!


Many Orthodox churches in hold services twice a day, morning and evening.  During Holy Week there is a huge increase in church attendance.  Preparations for Easter include lots of cooking and cleaning and inviting company over for a large Easter dinner.  Eggs are decorated, and traditional dishes include kulich, a special Easter cake, and paskha, a creamy cheese dish that is kind of like to cheesecake without the crust.  Eggs and cakes are frequently decorated with the letters XB (in English, KH V, short for “Khristos Voskres,” Christ is Risen!) Orthodox believers take kulich and eggs to the church on Saturday to have them blessed.


RECEIVING THE HOLY FIRE WHICH HAS BEEN FLOWN FROM THE HOLY SEPULCHRE IN JERUSALEM
 Easter Week (Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday) 
Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday, is a time of great activity in Russian homes, including spring cleaning and baking Easter bread. On Holy Thursday, Russians paint their Easter eggs using their traditional method of boiling onion peels and scraps of silk together with the eggs. On Holy Saturday, a strict day fasting in which no food may be eaten at all, families are nonetheless busy preparing for the Easter feast. The feast, served to break the fast after the midnight mass, includes the Paskha Easter cake, baked on Holy Saturday.
Easter liturgy in an Orthodox church begins on Saturday night. Worshippers congregate in a totally darkened church, which symbolises the despair of a world without faith in Jesus Christ. Historically, the eve of Holy Saturday was considered a haunted time, in which satanic creatures tormented townsmen. People were afraid to go out after dark, but persevered to attend Liturgy, since Church was considered a safe haven.

HRISTOS VOSKRESE CHRIST IS RISEN: A SERBIAN EASTER SONG 
 GOD
Post a Comment

Search This Blog

La Virgen de Guadalupe

La Virgen de Guadalupe

Followers

My Blog List

Fr David Bird

Fr David Bird
Me on a good day

Blog Archive