Greetings in the afterglow of the Glorious Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord. In the ecclesiastical cycle of the Church, this Sunday, the 7th Sunday after Pascha, we celebrate the Feast of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council in Nicea (325 AD). It is through the Fathers of this Council, that God has given us the Creed of our Faith, the Nicene Creed which we proclaim at each and every liturgy.
Christ is Risen! Today is the last Sunday before the Feast of the Ascension, ten days before the Feast of Pentecost. Throughout the Paschal season the Priest holds the lighted three Branch Candlestick symbolic of the light of the Resurrection. We know from attending services during this period that the liturgical texts and hymns resound with the words of light, glory, brightness, radiance, and splendor. The paschal theme of light is the focal point for this Sunday of the Blind Man.
The Sunday following the Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women is called the Sunday of the Paralytic. The reading for this Sunday is from the Gospel of John 5:1-15 concerning the paralyzed man who was unable to reach the pool near the Sheep Gate when the waters were stirred.
The Second Sunday after Pascha, the Ante-Pascha, is dedicated to the memory of the doubting Apostle, Thomas. Three important themes ring out to us on this Sunday, the theme of peace, mission and the theme of faith and doubt. Let us recall the first words of the Risen Christ to His disciples, “Peace be with you.”
Pascha, the Feast of Feasts, the Feast of Glory, the Feast of Light, the Feast of Joy, for Christ has risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and open those in the tombs bestowing life Eternal! Every celebration, year after year, is the celebration of the First Pascha.
On the Thursday of the Sixth week after Pascha, we in the Orthodox Faith celebrate the Great Feast of the Ascension of our Lord and God. The Feast marks the end of Christ’s post resurrection appearances, for it signifies the enthronement of Jesus Christ as our Lord who exercises sovereignty over all things.