An early Pascha and an unusually long winter combined this year to frame a snow-white Paschal celebration.
Beginning with Great and Holy Thursday’s foot-washing service conducted by our Rector, Archimandrite Luke, the final days of Lent were filled with liturgical services, including Passion Matins (with the readings of the Twelve Gospels), Royal Hours, Great Friday Vespers (with the procession with the Holy Winding Sheet), Holy Saturday Lamentations at 2:00 a.m., the reading of the entire New Testament book of Acts of the Apostles on Holy Saturday evening followed by Midnight Office. Since heavy snow fell as a backdrop to these services, monks were clearing the snow as priests, other monastics, seminarians, and the faithful were processing around the Church for the 2:00 a.m. Lamentations!
To link the beginning with the end, Holy Saturday 2018 marked the rare correspondence of the Great Feast of the Annunciation with Holy Saturday, a juxtaposition inspiring mystical contemplation of the beginning of the Son of God’s economy of salvation in the womb of the Theotokos and the culmination of His earthly ministry His death on the Cross and Resurrection from the tomb.
The wintry weather made a poignant ending to Great Lent and a delightful Pasha!
After the rigors of Passion Week with its intense but prayerful focus on the sacrifice of Christ, Pascha broke forth into joyful triumph at precisely midnight on April 7. Following the procession around the church, we celebrated the Paschal Matins and Divine Liturgy for the Feast of Feasts, proclaiming “Hristos Voskrese!” and “Christ is risen,” and singing the Paschal troparion repeatedly. The Pascal breakfast that followed around 4:30 a.m. was festively complete with kulich, holodetz, and cheese paskha.
We thank the Risen Christ, and we thank you, our supporters, during this Bright Week!
Hristos Voskrese! Christ is Risen! Christos Anesti!