Preparing for Holy Week and Pascha

As we all prepare for Holy Week and Pascha, if you have not already done so, try to make arrangements so that you can attend as many of the Passion Week and Paschal services as possible...

Perhaps time will have to be taken off from work or schedules altered in other ways, and it is best to plan for this ahead. The services of Passion Week and Pascha are the most important in the Christian Year and every conscientious Orthodox should try his or her best to prepare for them, participate in them, to confess, and to receive the Holy Mysteries.

Breaking a Fast

TRY to remember to keep Pascha holy. This might seem an odd and unnecessary tip, but it happens that at all the greater festivals, and particularly at Christmas and Pascha, one finds that after the fast, there is a temptation simply to let go. True, we can start eating non-lenten products again, but this does not mean that we should plunge into gluttony or drunkenness. The church services are shorter and the typicon less demanding, but very often one notices that there is a veritable apostasy after a major feast.

If we have gained anything spiritually in the course of the fast, let us try to hold it fast and not to lose it heedlessly. In this way, step by small step, with each fast and each feast we shall be able to make some little progress spiritually, using each as the rungs of a ladder.

Changes for Pentecost & Kneeling in Church

REMEMBER that during Pentecost—the fifty days between Pascha (Easter) and Pentecost or Trinity Sunday—we do not kneel in church at all, nor do we make prostrations. It is as if every day was a Sunday. This is a very ancient practice of the Church dating back at least to the second century, and a canon of the First Ecumenical Council (Nicea, 325 A.D) confirmed the practice. Our not kneeling indicates that we have risen with Christ and is a proclamation that we look forward to the future Resurrection and the life of the Age to come, when our bodies will be resurrected and stand in the Kingdom.

Pascha Baskets

Following the Resurrection Matins and Liturgy it is traditional among the Slavic peoples (and now Holy Apostles) to bring a Pascha Basket. Traditional items for your basket may include Pascha or Kulich, cheeses, various meats, salt, eggs, chocolate milk. It is nice also to share what you have in your baskets with others. Click here to download instructions for assembling a traditional Pascha Basket (courtesy of St. Nicholas Church of San Anselmo, CA)

As we prepare ourselves for Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection, let us remember, with God’s help, to focus on the true meaning of this spiritual feast. Our Lord Jesus Christ, with His great love and joy which fill the souls of the faithful during His holy feast days, exalts us spiritually and truly resurrects us. All we need to do is participate in these feasts and celebrate them with a spiritual appetite; for once we taste the heavenly wine to which the Saints will treat us, we will become drunk in spirit.

Let us enter into this feast of feasts, the most significant day in the life of the Church with a prepared heart and a joyful countenance. “Let no one be fearful of death, for the death of the Savior has set us free ... O Death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is Thy victory? Christ is Risen and Thou are overthrown. To Him be glory and power from all ages to all ages.

Χριστός ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!