Pascha’s End

Christ is Risen!
Pascha has come and gone again. The bright sadness of Lent has ended and Orthodox Christians across the world are living in the newness of Christ’s Resurrection. I was able to go to all of the Holy Week services except Holy Tuesday. On Thursday there was a rather long service for the reading of the 12 Gospels but we still had a good crowd, and on Holy Friday when Christ is taken down from the cross and is buried we had a good crowd. This year Father Jonah made a tomb from flowers and placed it on a bier to be carried in procession.
Everyone placed flowers to decorate Christ’s tomb. This is my godson Isaiah laying his flowers on.
Later the Lamentations were sung for the death of Christ. This is an MP3 clip from Holy Friday Lamentations Stasis 3 called O, Nobel Joseph, which speaks of how Joseph gave his tomb for Christ to be laid in.

Our Pascha services take longer than some because many of the hymns are read in English and Chinese and chanted in Slavonic. I hope one day soon we will have enough talented Chinese people that we can sing all the hymns in Chinese. At the Pasca service we only had a few Chinese compared with foreigners. Three or four Chinese Orthodox who live in Taipei came, and some people came with their friends. The as the evening went on the church became so crowded many people had to stand in the back. There are always some people I only see at Pasca and Christmas. Some live far away and can only come rarely, others come only for the sake of tradition. But whoever comes the only important thing is that Christ is risen and we live in the joy that by His incarnation, death, and resurrection we who have been baptized into Christ can live with Him and all other in unity.
After the service we feast in celebration of Christ’s victory over death. This is a real treat for those of us who have been fasting for any amount of time during lent. In the tradition of the Orthodox Church we fast from all animal products for 40 days. This is always hard for me because I’m not a very good cook so I’m limited in what I can eat, that and I love eating meat. I always lose a bit of weight during Lent. At the feast there was a mix of Greek, Slavic, and Chinese foods with a little of everything else.

And so, I will end with the end of St. John Chrysostom’s Pascal Homily

O Death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and thou art overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.
For Christ, being risen from the dead,
Is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be glory and dominion
Unto ages of ages.

Amen.

Full Text of the Homily

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