Pascha: The Feast of Feasts


Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

In the Orthodox Church, the feast of Christ's resurrection is commonly referred to as "Pascha" (PAS-ka), the Greek term for "Passover." Jesus' rising from the dead is the point of reference for all Eastern Orthodox thought and life. Every Sunday is dedicated to the resurrection of Christ, so that we never lose sight of the centrality of Christ's victory over death. Yet in the Feast of Feasts--after a period of fasting and spiritual preparation that lasts almost two months called Great Lent-- the Orthodox faithful celebrate the greatest of all holy days, Pascha. "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!" we sing.

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The Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom

 

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave!  ...read more

 

Rising Victorious

by Frederica Mathewes-Green

 

At one mesmerizing moment, the news of Christ's resurrection was held by a handful of women who were too scared to tell anyone. But tell they did, and the story went on unreeling, till half a world away and two thousand years later it rings out with loud joy. Hundreds of times in the season of Pascha we will sing: "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!" ...read more

 

The Feast of Feasts: Pascha

by a monk of St. Tikhon’s Monastery, in The Holy Orthodox Church: Her Life and Teachings, Copyright 1986 by the St. Tikhon Seminary Press

 

The Resurrection of Christ the Redeemer is the completion of the Great Work for the redemption of mankind from enslavement to Satan and corruption; the power of sin is destroyed and Death itself is abolished. The Resurrection of Christ grants every one the right to call himself a child of God; it is the return of Paradise lost, the threshold of the Holy of Holies of immortal life and communion with God. St. Paul tells us that if there had been no Resurrection then our Christian faith would have been deprived of any foundation or value: If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.... If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins (1 Cor. 15:14, 17).  ...read more

 

 

Easter Sunday: The Holy Pascha

by Fr. Thomas Hopko

 

At midnight the Easter procession begins. The people leave the church building singing: The angels in heaven, 0 Christ our Savior, sing of Thy resurrection. Make us on earth also worthy to hymn Thee with a pure heart. The procession circles the church building and returns to the closed doors of the front of the church.This procession of the Christians on Easter night recalls the original baptismal procession from the darkness and death of this world to the night and the life of the Kingdom of God. It is the procession of the holy passover, from death unto life, from earth unto heaven, from this age to the age to come which will never end. Before the closed doors of the church building, the resurrection of Christ is announced.  ...read more

The Dying of Eggs

by Matushka Ioanna Callinicos Rhodes

 

There are many customs and traditions that pertain to Pascha world-wide, but the most common one is that of dyeing and decorating eggs. Whether you are from London, Jerusalem, or Moscow, this custom is universal. ...read more

 

 

We Are Always Going Towards Pascha

by Janice Bidwell

 

The pace and beauty of Holy Week brightens my faith, and keeping this light bright throughout the year is the focus of my journey toward God. The seed of Pascha is now planted in my soul, but I must nourish this seedling throughout the year. ...read more

 

On Death and Resurrection in Christ

by St. Gregory the Theologian

 

We needed an incarnate God, a God put to death, that we might live. We were put to death together with Him that we might be cleansed. We rose again with Him because we were put to death with Him. We were glorified with Him because we rose again with Him. A few drops of Blood recreate the whole of creation! ...read more

 

 

Resurrection

by Fr. Thomas Hopko

 

Christ is risen from the dead! This is the main proclamation of the Christian faith. It forms the heart of the Church's preaching, worship and spiritual life. "... if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" (1 Cor 15:14). ...read more

 

Behind Closed Doors

by Fr. Stephen Freeman

 

From the point of view of Christ’s resurrection – the doors are slammed and locked from the other side. The gates of Hades are not closed by God, but by those who would keep God out. The gates Christ smashes are the gates that would refuse entry to the Light of Life.  ...read more

 

A Waiting for the Miracle

by Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.

 

It is on this Great and Holy Saturday that the Holy Fire will be received from God, not human hands, by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, His Beatitude Theopilus III, as it has been done every year, on the same day, in the same manner, at the same time, at the same holy place of Christ's Life Giving Tomb. This is the miracle that allows us to believe that Christ is alive and offers eternal life. ...read more

 

Dachau 1945: The Souls of All Are Aflame

by Douglas Cramer

 

In 1945, a Paschal Liturgy like no other was performed. Just days after their liberation by the US military on April 29, 1945, hundreds of Orthodox Christian prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp gathered to celebrate the Resurrection service and to give thanks.  ...read more

 

Easter in the Liturgical Year

by Fr. Alexander Schmemann

 

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.  ...read more

 

The Paschal Service of the Eastern Orthodox Church

by Fr. Paul Lazor

 

Pascha is the inauguration of a new age. It reveals the mystery of the eighth day. It is our taste, in this age, of the new and unending day of the Kingdom of God. Forty days are, as it were, treated as one day. Together they comprise the symbol of the new time in which the Church lives and toward which she ever draws the faithful, from one degree of glory to another.  ...read more

 

 

The Story

by Fr. John Oliver

 

The curtains fill with faint breeze and tease away from the open window, then hang still again. I cannot sleep. In several minutes the clock beside my bed will ring as I have programmed it to do. I hear no sound but the soft rustle of swaying leaves. Time has passed unnoticed. It is night-one hour before the Easter Pascha Liturgy.  ...read more