Monday, April 20, 2009

PASCHA: More than Easter

Dear Parish Faithful and Friends in Christ,


If you celebrated Easter yesterday, then today you awoke with the realization that Easter is already over. If, however, you are celebrating Pascha, then you realize that even though we have already been through the explosive paschal service of the other night/early morning, Pascha is actually a forty day celebration that is the counterpart and fulfillment of Great Lent and Holy Week. Bright Monday and the rest of Bright Week is the beginning of a sustained season that is dominated by our faith that

"Jesus is risen from the grave, as He foretold, granting us eternal life and great mercy."

However, experience may have already taught us that it is much easier to "keep" Lent than it is to "keep" Pascha. So we are faced with the challenge of not allowing Pascha to become Easter (at least as it is conventionally understood and celebrated). No simple solution to this dilemma because often our tired bodies fail to cooperate. But we should not feel helpless in the inevitable onslaught of the post-paschal parish swoon. Here is one possible remedy: As we try and do some "lenten reading" we can also do some "paschal reading." A new website is now up and running: "The Feast of Feasts - An Orthodox Christian Celebration of Holy Pascha and the Resurrection of Christ." It is co-sponsored by the OCA and Antiochian Archdiocese. It is filled with many remarkable articles by prominent Orthodox theologians, but also by many fine articles by various parish faithful who offer some excellent reflections on the place of our Lord's Resurrection in our lives.

As an example, the home page has a copy of the very Resurrection icon that we venerate in our parish, written by Fr. Gregory Krug, with an accompanying commentary on the icon's significance by our own parish iconographer, Fr. Andrew Tregubov. I would also suggest, under "articles," one written by Daniel Manzuk entitled "Great and Holy Saturday." This is an excellent explanation of the theological and spiritual meaning of Holy Saturday and how it relates to us the reality of the Resurrection.

Please take advantage of this wonderful website. This reading will provide you with many insights from many perspectives on the paschal mystery, concentrating on the resurrection of Christ. Our webmaster has already provided a link to it on the home-page of our own parish website. Otherwise, the address is:

In Christ,
Fr. Steven

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