Eve of Great and Holy Saturday, 2014
In the tomb with the body, in hell with the soul as God, in paradise with the thief and on the throne with the Father and the Spirit, wast Thou O Christ, filling all things with Thyself. Bearing life and more fruitful than paradise, brighter than any royal chamber: Your tomb, O Christ, is the fountain of our resurrection.
–Priest’s words at the Great Entrance during the Divine Liturgy
Since Pascha is the Feast of all Feasts, it is easy to miss all of the rich liturgical portions offered by Mother Church directly before the Easter extravaganza and directly afterwards. For me, especially dear is the service which acts as a kind of proto-Pascha, the Vesperal Liturgy usually chanted on the morning of Great & Holy Saturday, a service similar in content and purpose to what in the West is called the Easter Vigil. Continue reading
We fast for forty days. And here are all the Sundays: Orthodoxy, St. Gregory of Palamas, The Cross, St. John of the Ladder, St. Mary of Egypt, Palm Sunday and Pascha. We have Presanctified Liturgies on Wednesdays and Fridays. We use Palms on Palm Sunday and alms we give. Alms to the poor, blessings to all people blessings from God, And let all say Amen. Amen.
We go to church at nine o’clock to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. It is a happy day to all the people that pray. Joy and happiness to all the world. On Bright Monday our church has a traditional picnic at Auburndale Cove. A cove is a protected park next to a river. We play games and feast on Paschal food.
I ran this post last year around this time and was just listening to the audio plays again this morning as part of preparations for Holy Week. Our priest always challenges us to read the Gospels all the way through, if possible. But those who prefer to listen on an MP3 player or CD might find the following dramatic presentation a helpful bridge to the story of the Gospels.
Just before the beginning of Great Lent, I was thumbing through my library wondering again what would be the best thing to read in this season of the fast. It is a good and pious practice during the forty days of fasting not only to increase prayers and attendance to church services but to practice some form of media fast and engage instead in one good spiritual book that will help one reflect on the life of Christ and repent of sinful habits. It was then that I came across an article which highlighted the book or rather set of plays that C.S. Lewis frequently read during Lent. This and the name Dorothy Sayers both caught my attention. Sayers is popular for her saying that “the dogma is the drama”; i.e., contrary to popular opinion that learning right doctrine is for dull and doltish people who like dusty libraries and don’t know how to have a good time, the dogma of the Church, relating first and foremost to the identity and work of Jesus Christ as He reveals the worship of the All-Holy Trinity, is rather for those who wish to engage in the greatest of all dramas. Continue reading
He only said two words to me in his entire apostolic life, but they were the two most meaningful words I have ever heard a bishop utter. They were the same words he used to greet every wayward American pilgrim that had somehow found themselves at the doorstep of the ancient, apostolic Church. And they are the same words that we who love him the most now use to usher him in benediction on to his true and heavenly abode: WELCOME HOME. Continue reading
For those who might not have been close to the concert we did in New York/New Jersey, the Boston Byzantine Choir is doing the same program right here in the Boston area, and for the first time, in a non-Orthodox Church! Please join us at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Dedham on Saturday, April 5 at 4pm in the afternoon for a time of spiritual enlightenment and refreshment.
Our homeschool was excited to visit one of the places we studied in history, St. Paul’s Chapel. It is a beautiful place of prayer. We read Psalm 27, and when we went outside, we saw the Bell of Hope which was given by London to New York. We enjoyed the trip.