Blessed Pascha, 2021!

My life has had a lot of ups and downs over the past half a year or so. I currently feel exhausted, and I don’t think I have the right mental state to write a detailed article or to even gather information from the internet and mix it into an article about Orthodox Easter.

I invite you to read about the holiday in the previous years’ articles (2019 and 2020), and I wish you a blessed Orthodox Easter (Pascha), filled with joy for Christ’s resurrection from the dead, and with gratitude for everything He has done for us.

Christ is risen!

The Holy Light from Jerusalem, 2021

Christ is risen, 2020!

Orthodox Easter in 2020 is on Sunday, April 19. In Orthodoxy, this day is called Pascha.

While Pascha and the western Easter are both calculated using the same formula, the end dates often differ because they have different starting points. Orthodox Churches still use the Julian calendar as the starting point for the Pascha calculation.

While the majority of Orthodox Churches adopted the modern Gregorian calendar, some retained the Julian. To maintain unity within the entire church, all Orthodox celebrate the feast of feasts on the same day throughout the world.

The old Julian solar calendar is 13 days behind the Gregorian’s at the moment and its lunar calendar is four to five days behind, causing the date for Pascha to often fall on a different date to that of Easter.

While Pascha normally falls either one or five weeks later than Easter, on occasion they can be four weeks apart and on some years the dates of Pascha and Easter coincide. The dates coincided most recently in 2017 and the next coincidence will be in 2025.

Pascha is the most joyous celebration of the entire year, as the community gathers together to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Except that, this year, in many Orthodox countries, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, people are prohibited from attending the liturgies and from gathering together in large numbers in any public places. Nevertheless, we can gather together in spirit and be united in prayer from our homes.

Happy Easter! Blessed Pascha! Christ in risen!

https://www.thegoodshepherd.org.au/date-orthodox-easter-2020
https://akroasis.org/2020/04/12/pascha-2020/
https://www.oca.org/reflections/misc-authors/the-pascha-no-one-wants

Orthodox Pascha, 2020

The Lord’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Orthodox Palm Sunday), 2020

Palm Sunday, also called the Triumphal Entry, is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, celebrated on the Sunday before Pascha. This year it falls on April 12. Palm Sunday is the day when the Orthodox Church celebrates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before the Jewish Passover. A mere few days before His crucifixion, Jesus Christ was received by adoring throngs at his entry into Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey.

Orthodox Palm Sunday, 2020

The believers meet him, and spread out before him his clothes and olive branches. When He and His disciples approached the city Jerusalem, He ordered them to go to the near-by village, and bring him the donkey and his little who were tied-up in the beginning of the village. If they were asked, they should say that the Lord needs it. When the people knew that the donkey was for Jesus, they did not prevent his disciples. They gave Him the donkey, and He solemnly entered Jerusalem. The news of the resurrection of Lazarus already got ahead and thousands of people went to Bethany to meet him.

You can find the event told in the four Gospels:

I invite you to read more about it on these websites:
https://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/LG/jerusalem.shtml
https://www.oca.org/fs/sermons/the-lords-entry-into-jerusalem
https://www.goarch.org/-/stewardship-the-entry-of-christ-into-jerusalem
https://pravoslavie.ru/69881.html

Christ is Risen! Happy Orthodox Easter!

Happy Easter (Pascha / Paşte or Resurrection Sunday) to all the Orthodox people in the world! Let’s celebrate Christ’s resurrection by rejoicing, praying and striving to be better!

In Romania and other European countries, one of the traditions is to boil and die eggs in red (and other colors, although they should generally be red because the color symbolizes Christ’s blood) and to crack them by tapping the end of one egg against the end of another. One person holds one egg and another person holds another. The first person says “Christ is risen!” and the second person replies: “Truly He is risen!”.

You can read more about the tradition by clicking the links below:

https://www.thespruceeats.com/greek-easter-egg-game-1705738

https://greece.greekreporter.com/2016/04/30/the-symbolism-of-cracking-red-eggs-on-easter/

This is how you say “Christ is risen!” and “Truly He is risen!” in Romanian:

Hristos a înviat! Adevărat a înviat!

And this is how you say it in various other languages:

https://orthodoxwiki.org/Paschal_greeting

An Orthodox prayer for Good Friday

Lord Jesus Christ, sweet Savior of my soul, on this day of Your crucifixion, when You suffered on the cross and accepted death for our sins, I confess before You that I myself have crucified You with my many sins. But I beseech Your indescribable goodness: Grant me Your grace, O Lord, so that I may endure suffering for the sake of the faith, hope and love that I have for You, just as You, in Your long-suffering, endured the passion in order to save me. Strengthen me, O Lord, that from this day forth I may bear Your cross with joy and repentance, and that I may thus hate my wicked thoughts and desires.  

Instill sadness in my heart at Your death, allowing me to grieve just as Your beloved Mother, Your disciples and the myrrh-bearing women did as they stood near Your cross. Illumine the senses of my soul so that they may awaken and comprehend Your death, just as you brought comprehension to the lifeless creation at the time of Your crucifixion, and it trembled; just as the faithful thief understood, repented, and confessed You, and with that confession, You led him into paradise. May Your grace, which You then granted to him, now forgive my sins, for the sake of You holy passion; and as I truly turn and repent, may that same grace place me together with the thief in paradise, for You are my God and Creator.

I bow down before Your cross, O Christ, and because of Your love for us, I cry out to it:  Rejoice, honored cross of Christ, upon which He was lifted and affixed with nails for the salvation of the world; Rejoice, blessed tree, for you held the Fruit of life Who has saved us from the death of sin; Rejoice strong bar which has shattered the gates of hell; Rejoice, royal key, which has opened the door of paradise.

O, my crucified Christ, how You suffered for us! How many wounds, spitting, mockery and insults You endured because of our sins, giving us an example of true patience in times of suffering and troubles which we must endure in this life?! Since God sends these to us because of our sins, that we may correct ourselves and draw near to Him, He thus chastises us for our own good during this life. Therefore, I pray to You, O Master: during times of troubles, temptations and pain that come upon me, grant that I may increase in patience, strength and gratitude. For I confess that I am helpless if You do not strengthen me; blind, if You do not illumine me; bound if You do not set me free; fearful, if You do not make me brave; lost, if You do not seek me; a slave, if You do not redeem me with Your abundant and divine power and with the grace of Your holy cross, which I venerated and glorify, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Source: http://otftd.blogspot.com/2014/11/a-prayer-for-friday.html

Blessed Easter to Catholics and Evangelicals

As Catholics and Evangelicals celebrate Easter today, I want to wish them a blessed Easter Day! Khristós Anésti! Christ has risen!

I also want to invite everyone to pray for the people in Sri Lanka, after several terrorist attacks at 3 SriLankan churches & 3 luxury hotels killed over 185 people and wounded more than 400. May the Lord comfort those suffering. Those who have been killed, eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. Jesus has risen! May they find strength in Him on this most holy day. We ask this in Jesus’ name.

Bishop Barron – about pain

As Catholics celebrate Good Friday, I invite you to read a very interesting article about the metaphysics of pain, written by Bishop Robert Barron. I will quote this part, which has really caught my attention through its profoundness:

“Once we understand that God’s love is more powerful than suffering, we have lost, at least in principle, the motivation to sin.”

Let me know your opinions about the points brought into discussion by Bishop Barron in the article.

The Great (Orthodox) Lent

While I have written about Lent in general in a previous article, because I am an Orthodox, I thought I would also write an article mentioning that today is the first day of the Great Lent, the Eastern-Orthodox Lent for 2019.

One of the most important Orthodox holidays (alongside Christmas), and probably the most sacred one, Easter is celebrated by Eastern Orthodox believers by means of several movable feasts that commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, from the dead following His crucifixion and burial.

The Orthodox Easter in 2019 falls on Sunday, April 28. Eastern Orthodox churches follow the practice of early Jewish Christians and have first observed Easter on the fourteenth day of Nisan, or the first day of Passover. According to the Gospels, it was during this time of the year (the Passover season) that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead. Through the connection between Easter and Passover, the origin of another ancient name for Easter can be explained: Pascha. This Greek term is derived from the Hebrew name for the festival. In Romanian Easter is called “Paşte”.

Because it is a movable feast, the date of Orthodox Easter changes every year. To this day, Eastern Orthodox Churches use a different system than Western Churches to calculate the day of the observance, which means Eastern Orthodox churches often celebrate Easter on a different day than Western churches.

In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the Easter season starts with Great Lent, the period of 40 days of self-examination and fasting (the 40 days include Sundays). Great Lent starts on Clean Monday (today) and ends on Lazarus Saturday.

Falling seven weeks before Easter Sunday, “Clean Monday” signifies the cleansing from sinful attitudes that will take place in the hearts of believers heart throughout the Lenten fast. Lazarus Saturday, which falls eight days before Easter Sunday, signals the end of Great Lent.

Palm Sunday follows after Lazarus Saturday, exactly one week before Easter, and it commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. Palm Sunday ushers in Holy Week, which ends on Easter Sunday, or Pascha.

It is customary for Easter celebrants to partake in a fast throughout Holy Week. Many Orthodox churches observe a Paschal Vigil, which ends on the evening before Easter. To be more specific, the Paschal Virgil ends just before midnight on Holy Saturday (also called Great Saturday), the last day of Holy Week. Commemorating the placing of Jesus Christ’s body in the tomb, Holy Saturday also has a Vigil, which typically begins with a candlelight procession outside the church. As worshipers enter the church in procession, there is a pealing of bells that marks the beginning of the Easter morning prayers.

Easter services begin with Paschal Matins, Paschal Hours, and the Paschal Divine Liturgy, immediately after the Vigil. Paschal Matins may consist of either an early morning prayer service or an all-night prayer vigil. Paschal Hours is a brief, chanted prayer service reflecting the joy of Easter, and Paschal Divine Liturgy is a communion or Eucharist service. These solemn celebrations of Jesus Christ’s resurrection are considered the most holy and significant services of the ecclesiastical year in Orthodox Christianity.

After the Eucharist service, the fast ends, and the feasting of Easter begins.

Eastern Orthodox believers greet one another on Easter (usually starting at midnight, after Holy Saturday ends) with these words: “Christ is risen!” (“Christos Anesti!” / “Cristos a înviat!”). The traditional response is, “He is risen indeed!” (“Alithos Anesti!” / “Adevărat a înviat!”). This greeting echoes the words of the angel to the women who found the tomb of Jesus Christ empty on the first Easter morning, according to Matthew 28:5–7.

I wish you all a peaceful Great Lent season. May God bless you!

Article based on information from: https://www.thoughtco.com/orthodox-easter-dates-700615.