Pascha – The Feast of Feasts — April 15, 2012

On Holy Saturday night at 11:30 p.m., the Nocturnes are served; ushering in the stroke of midnight.
At the approaching hour of midnight all things are made ready and we stand in anticipation. Then the Royal Doors are opened and the priest carrying the Paschal Light invites all present to take light from the True Light, Christ, Who rises from the dead.

pascha iconThe Procession now finds its way outside the Church that has served as the Tomb of Christ over these past days. We carry our lit candles – reminding us of our Baptism into the Death and Resurrection of Christ – and like the myrrh-bearing women, we come to the doors of the Church – to Christ’s tomb – and find it empty.

The Holy Gospel according to St. Mark 16:1-8 is proclaimed and we hear the angel ask the myrrh-bearing women: what is it that you seek? They are told that Christ is not here but HE HAS RISEN!

The doors of the Church are opened, the bells are ringing, the Temple is filled with light, the Holy Table of the Altar is seen by all as the Royal Doors of the Iconostasis are thrown open. The Holy Table always has two covers on it: the under cover is white and symbolizes the linen shroud that Christ was covered with in the Tomb and the outer cover is always of a fine and ornate material symbolizing the glory of the Risen Christ

The Resurrection Matins is celebrated. This Service is called the “RUSH SERVICE”. The melodies are sung quickly with the joy and the excitement of the women and the apostles “running” to spread the Good News that

CHRIST IS RISEN!

The Diving Liturgy immediately follows the Resurrection Matins. The Sermon of Saint John Chrysostom at the end of the Matins invites us to reaffirm our Baptism in the Death and Resurrection of Christ by coming into deep union with Him by receiving Holy Communion: “No one is to go away hungry for the Altar Table is fully laden with the Divine Food of the Body and Blood of Christ.”

From this point on, our celebration of Pascha – the Feast of Feasts – continues for forty days and then for the entire year as we live in the Presence of our Lord in Light, in Life, and in Joy.

Leave a Comment

*