Sunday, April 15, 2012


Christ is Risen!
Truly He is Risen!

It is the day of Resurrection! O people, let us glory in splendor! Pascha, the Lord's Pascha! For Christ our God has transported us who sing the triumphal hymn from death to life, and from earth to Heaven.

Today we celebrate Pascha, the feast of feasts. In the Orthodox Church we use the Greek word for Passover, from the Hebrew Pesach, and thus our celebration of the Resurrection is called Pascha. It is truly the high point of the year for us, one of much joy and celebration. 

Just before midnight, we wait with quiet and joyful anticipation. The church is dark, like a tomb. And then a single light is held high, and our priest chants "Come, receive the light, from the light that is never overtaken, and glorify Christ, who is risen from the dead." We all take up the cry and the light is passed to each of us until we are bathed its radiance. 
As we receive the light, we take our candles and continue singing as we walk outside the church building. There we listen to the gospel reading about the women coming early to the tomb, only to find that Christ was risen.
We all sing joyfully and with triumph the Paschal hymn:
"Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down death, and upon those in the tombs He has given life!"
I sit on a planter and hold my sweet tired Raphael. Erik held Pearl while taking pictures, and Peregrine joined the group of chanters. After we sing and pray outside everyone returns to the church for the Paschal liturgy, and then enjoy a meal together. With our children being young, we usually leave when everyone goes inside. This year we brought our Paschal light home and lit an oil lamp with it. We hope to keep it burning continually for the 40 days of the Paschal season, until we celebrate Christ's Ascension. 
My kids didn't get the memo that when you go to church in the middle of the night, you get to sleep in! We had a lovely festal breakfast before heading back to church around noon. 
We join with our parish family for the Agape Vespers. The Great Commission is read in several languages, signifying that the Good News is truly for all people. Father Jerry read this also, for the benefit of those of us who didn't stay to hear it early this morning. I was so glad, as it is beautiful, and it's read in all Orthodox churches on Pascha. I love that Orthodox Christians the world over are celebrating in the same way, attending the same services, reading the same portions of Scripture. It gives a great sense that we are one body. 
The church is beautiful in its Paschal splendor. The bay leaves release their fragrance beneath our feet and mingle with the scents of beeswax and incense, while flowers add their loveliness to this feast. The cross is empty, and so is the tomb. Christ is Risen!
The Resurrection banner.
The icon of the resurrection is not simply a picture of an empty tomb or of the Risen Christ; it is theology in color.  This is Christ, who has opened the gates of paradise through His death, pulling Adam and Eve from Hades. For a wonderful explanation of this icon, you can click here
We were blessed with a beautiful day. Unfortunately we didn't get any great pics of the kids, who for once looked clean and not too much like little ragamuffins. Alas, trying to get them all to sit reasonably still and look pleasant is too much to ask after a night with not enough sleep, a day with too much sugar, and a general feeling of excitement and festivity in the air! 

Blowing bubbles with my sweet little Brigid.
"It is the day of Resurrection! Let us shine forth in splendor for the Festival, and embrace one another. Let us say, "Oh brethren, even to those who do not love us; let us forgive all things in the Resurrection, and thus, let us exclaim: 'Christ is Risen from the dead, by death trampling down death, and upon those in the tombs He has given life!' "

For the next forty days we will sing the joyful hymns of Pascha and greet one another with "Christ is Risen!" It has truly been a glorious day of  joy and celebration. 


  1. I am not very familiar with Orthodox Christianity. I so enjoyed getting a better understanding of your Resurrection Celebration.
    Very cute kids too :o)

  2. What a lovely feast day! Our kids missed the sleep in memo as well ;)
    We were happy that the kids FINALLY were all healthy by Good Fridy- its been a rough winter!

    1. Seems like a lot of people had a rough winter. Glad you were all well for Pascha!

  3. Christ is Risen!
    Gorgeous photos!

  4. I ♥ the picture of you sitting at your table together. Happy Pascha!!!


I love hearing from you and try to respond to your comments here on the page.