Monday, April 28, 2008

Holy Week and Pascha 2008
"Let all the earth worship and praise Thee!
Let it praise Thy Name, O Most High!

We celebrated our second Holy Week and Pascha with Father Sergius Clark, who comes to us from Saint Justin Martyr Orthodox Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Services were held from Great and Holy Thursday through Pascha.

The Plaschanitsa, or Shroud of Christ, was adorned with flowers and venerated by the faithful on Holy Friday. On Holy Saturday, the Shroud was removed from the middle of the Church and taken to the Altar, where it will remain throughout the Paschal season.

During the Holy Saturday Vesperal Liturgy, the analogia (icon stands) and the altar were covered in purple. At the time of the Epistle Reading, the purple was stripped away revealing the white hangings for the Paschal season.

Father Sergius was assisted several times during the week by Bandali Akkawi, a graduate student at Louisiana State University.

Father Sergius reads the final dismissal at the end of the Liturgy, before the faithful break forth into another singing of the Paschal Troparion:

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing Life!

After the blessing of the baskets and the distribution of the antidoron and the red eggs, the congregation shared a number of traditional Pascha foods.

Special gift bags with icons and crosses were distributed to the children after the service.

During the time of fellowship, we announced our plans to move to a new location this summer. Our new location at 8775 Jefferson Highway will be much more centrally located and more easily accessible.

Seeing the children at the Liturgy was a wonderful delight. By the end of the services, they were joining in the singing of the Paschal Troparion and responding to the Paschal Greeting:

Christ is Risen!

Indeed He is Risen!

Before the dawn, Mary and the women
came and found the stone rolled away
from the tomb.
They heard the angelic voice:
"Why do you seek among the dead as a man
The One who is everlasting Light?
Behold the clothes in the grave.
Go and proclaim to the world:
The Lord is Risen, He has slain death,
As he is the Son of God,
Saving the race of men!"

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling down death by death!
And upon those in the Tombs,
Bestowing Life!

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Khristos Voskrese! Voistinu Voskrese!