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

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.