Great & Holy Pascha:
The Resurrection of Our Lord
Thy Resurrection, O Christ Our Savior, the Angels in Heaven sing.
Enable us on Earth to Glorify Thee in Purity of Heart.
– Paschal Processional Hymn
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.
We come to our church like the women disciples came to the tomb on the first and glorious day; our church is darkened, we ask ourselves will darkness prevail? Is death really the end? Where have they taken Our Lord?
To all these questions, which we constantly ponder, comes the priest arrayed in bright white robes bearing the three branched candlestick symbolic of the Trinity from the Holy Altar chanting, “Thy resurrection O Christ our Savior…”, leading the procession out of the Church and circling the exterior till he comes to the front doors and with a loud voice proclaims, “Christ is Risen from the dead trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life”, in several languages.
Then with a mighty hand the Priest, knocks on the doors three times with the cross after which the doors swing open and we enter, reassured that the darkness of the night has been replaced with the light of the day, the new day of the Resurrection!
What joyous splendor, we the faithful witness, for the Lord has indeed conquered death and by His death has granted us eternal life with Him! This is the greatest of God’s saving acts, in the history of salvation; there was the Exodus, the crossing of the Red Sea, the giving of the Commandments from Mount Sinai, the coming to the promised land, and all the miracles of Christ’s earthly ministries. The Resurrection is the new creation, the power of the new covenant, and the ushering in of a new age. Because of the Resurrection, sin has been reversed by grace, mortality by immortality, death by life, the reign of Satan by the reign of the Christ, darkness by light. This is the new Exodus, creating a new and free people, the body of Christ, the Church, all seeking to enter into a new inheritance, the fullness of God’s Kingdom.
Pascha is the fulfillment of our deepest longings because through it God’s image in each of us is renewed. St. Simeon the New Theologian writes that if we are faithful and willing, Christ’s Resurrection becomes our own personal Pascha, a true celebration of Pascha is the Resurrection of the soul by the power of the Holy Spirit. You see my dear brothers and sisters, that the mystery of Christ’s Resurrection thus takes place mystically in us at all times.
For the oppressed it is liberation, for those in deprivation it is plenitude, for the persecuted it is comfort, for those in despair it is hope, for the sorrowful it is joy, for those who hate it is love, for those who are anxious it is peace, for those who are bitter it is sweetness, for those who are angry it is forgiveness, for the sinful it is righteousness, for the humiliated it is exaltation, for those who live in darkness it is light and for those who are dead it is abundant life!
May the radiant joy of this Feast of Feasts, be our source of healing, wholeness and renewal for, “the old has passed away, behold, the new has come”. (2 Cor 5:17)
Christ is Risen – Indeed He is Risen!