Sunday, April 27, 2008

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

These are the words we use to greet each other at our Pascha (Easter) midnight Service, which was last night. This past week has been our Lenten Holy Week. The Eastern Orthodox still go by the old Julian calendar in calculating the date of Pascha, although we use the new calendar for all the fixed feasts.

Just before we are dismissed from our Pascha service each year, the Paschal Sermon by St. John Chrysostom (347-407) is read from the pulpit. Here it is in its entirety.

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A PASCHAL SERMON by St. John Chrysostom (347-407)

Are there any who are devout lovers of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!

Are there any who are grateful servants?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary from fasting?
Let them now receive their due!

If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their reward.

If any have come after the third hour,
let them with gratitude join in the feast!

Those who arrived after the sixth hour,
let them not doubt; for they shall not be short-changed.

Those who have tarried until the ninth hour,
let them not hesitate; but let them come too.

And those who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let them not be afraid by reason of their delay.

For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
The Lord gives rest to those who come at the eleventh hour,
even as to those who toiled from the beginning.

To one and all the Lord gives generously.
The Lord accepts the offering of every work.
The Lord honours every deed and commends their intention.

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!

First and last alike, receive your reward.
Rich and poor, rejoice together!

Conscientious and lazy, celebrate the day!
You who have kept the fast, and you who have not,
rejoice, this day, for the table is bountifully spread!

Feast royally, for the calf is fatted.
Let no one go away hungry.
Partake, all, of the banquet of faith.
Enjoy the bounty of the Lord's goodness!

Let no one grieve being poor,
for the universal reign has been revealed.

Let no one lament persistent failings,
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.

Let no one fear death,
for the death of our Saviour has set us free.

The Lord has destroyed death by enduring it.
The Lord vanquished hell when he descended into it.
The Lord put hell in turmoil even as it tasted of his flesh.

Isaiah foretold this when he said,
"You, O Hell, were placed in turmoil when he encountering you below."

Hell was in turmoil having been eclipsed.
Hell was in turmoil having been mocked.
Hell was in turmoil having been destroyed.
Hell was in turmoil having been abolished.
Hell was in turmoil having been made captive.

Hell grasped a corpse, and met God.
Hell seized earth, and encountered heaven.
Hell took what it saw, and was overcome by what it could not see.

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?

Christ is risen, and you are cast down!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life is set free!
Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead.

For Christ, having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Christ be glory and power forever and ever. Amen!

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Is that an inspiring Easter sermon or what? And to think it was first delivered 1,600 years ago and it has been read every Easter service since then! After this sermon is read, we give the greeting in many different languages. Here are a few of them:

Arabic:
Al-Maseeh Qam!
Haqqan Qam!

Greek:
Christos Anesti!
Alithos Anesti!

Slavonic:
Christos Voskrese!
Voistinu Voskrese!

French:
Le Christ est Resucitee!
Vraiment est Resucitee!

Italian:
Cristo e Risorto!
Verito e Risorto!

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

8 comments:

Who am I said...

Gemma,

Thanks for sharing this. It is really encouraging. It is great to have a small window into other parts of the Christian community.

Sensuous Wife said...

OH!
Thank you Jesus!

Gemma, you dear woman.
Thank you too.

Oh the good news of Jesus is too good to be true.
But it is.

Oh I have tears in my eyes.
Thank you
thank you
thank you

Gemma said...

Whenever I hear that sermon read aloud or when I read it aloud myself, it brings tears to my eyes.

Dd#1 was telling me the other day that the reading of this sermon is 1 of her 2 favorite parts of our Easter service each year. I think it's the same for me.

Who am I said...

I reread this today. I personally have always been more inclined to very simple expressions of faith, with little liturgy, etc. My father's family were Quakers and I now attend a house church.

However, at times I am encouraged and inspired by some traditions from other churches.

I need to dig in my Bible a little bit more to see what it really says about Christ descending into hell- it is rarely talked about what happened or what it means.

I appreciate you sharing this.

Gemma said...

"Who am i", GR and I grew up Roman Catholic, then became Protestant and then, 8 years ago, we became Eastern Orthodox. So we've been involved in all 3 Christian Faiths. The study of Early Church History was the hook that brought us to Orthodoxy.

Coincidentally, it was the year 2000 that we became Orthodox and that was the same year that my sexual awakening began to come together. It was the very first time that I began owning my sin of refusing sex.

Who am I said...

Just curious, when you were a protestant, were you primarily associated with any denomination?

What was the main reason you went to Eastern Orthodox?

Gemma said...

:::Just curious, when you were a protestant, were you primarily associated with any denomination?

Our association with Protestant denominations was "Assembly of God" for about a year, followed by approximately 19 years in nondenominational churches. We moved several times so it was several nondenom churches. Basically I spent approx 23 years in Roman Catholic Faith, 20 years in Protestant Faith and now 8 years in (Christian) Eastern Orthodox Faith. I emphasize the "Christian" part because many Protestants do not recognize Eastern Orthodoxy as being a Christian Faith.

:::What was the main reason you went to Eastern Orthodox?

Our main reason was a developing interest in Early Church History. As GR and I dug into the history, we discovered so many rabbit trails that all led up the Eastern Orthodox Church. The E. Orthodox Church has done a marvelous job of actually getting the history right, going all the way back to the time of Christ and the Apostles. This is what we were wanting all along in a church so we are here to stay; we are finally home.

Fwiw--- One of the first books I read about the Orthodox Faith was written by Peter E. Gillquist. Many of the doctrinal beliefs that Gillquist was searching for, were the same beliefs that held true to our hearts.

Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith
By Peter E. Gillquist
ISBN: 0-96227-13-3-0

Who am I said...

Thanks for sharing.