Check Out Fr Joseph’s “Notes for Pascha and Bright Week”

Some of the tidbits from Notes for Pascha & Bright Week:

• We greet one another during the entire Paschal season (which lasts 40 days) with the words: “Christ is risen!” and the response to the greeting is: “Indeed, He is risen!” . . .

• During Bright Week, our prayers in church and at home are sung and not read as we sing all week the feast of the risen Christ: Christ is risen!

• During Bright Week, our morning and evening prayers are replaced by the singing of the short service of the Hours of Pascha (see your prayer books or see below): Christ is risen!

• During Bright Week, we do not read from the psalter at home or in church for the prophecies have been fulfilled: Christ is risen! . . .

• During the Paschal season we begin all of our prayers at home and in church by singing the troparion of Pascha: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!”

• During the Paschal season and extending to Pentecost, we do not pray “O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth…” for the Comforter comes on Pentecost. Christ is risen!

• And most important of all: “A Pascha worthy of all honor has dawned for us. Pascha! Let us embrace each other joyously!…This is the day of resurrection. Let us be illumined by the feast. Let us embrace each other. Let us call ‘Brother’ even those who hate us, and forgive all by the resurrection, and so let us cry: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!” “And unto us He has given eternal life. Let us worship His resurrection on the third day!”

Read the rest at the link above, especially the service of the Paschal Hours

Fr Patrick Reardon: The Legacy of Charlemagne

Our priest, Fr. Patrick, has an article in the Winter 2006 issue of Christian History & Biography: Turning Point: The Crowning of Charlemagne:

Few moments in world history proved to be of greater significance than what transpired in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Christmas Day in the year 800.

All eyes in the basilica that day were fixed on an unusually tall, very energetic, and powerfully built man of 58, a Frankish king named Charles, as he knelt devoutly before the tomb of the Apostle Peter. Just as he was beginning to rise after his prayer, Charles was approached by the Bishop of Rome, Pope Leo III, who set a crown on his head and dramatically announced, “Charles Augustus, crowned great and peace-giving emperor of the Romans, life and victory!”

“Great” he was indeed, and that Latin adjective, magnus, was eventually assumed into the name by which he has been best known, Charlemagne. For the first time in more than three centuries, and with the blessing of the Church, Rome once again had a Western emperor.

The diadem set on the head of Charles that day crowned likewise the many and colossal achievements of his career. Since becoming King of the Franks in 768, Charles had unified and reorganized most of Western Europe, using his sword to accomplish the first task and his considerable executive skills to bring about the second. Ironically, his sole significant military defeat, when he pushed south into the Pyrenees to attack the Moors in northern Spain, attained legendary status in The Song of Roland. His other enemies—Saxons, Avars, Bavarians, Lombards, and the rest—did not fare so well, and by the time he received his imperial crown, Charles controlled everything from the English Channel to the borders of Byzantium. With respect to his governing, Charles enjoyed almost no structural support and virtually no centralized taxation. He relied almost entirely on alliances constructed by the force of colossal personality and the influence of his many strong friendships.

Three aspects of Charlemagne’s influence live on.

Read the rest at the link above.

Iconographer of the Famous “Holy Trinity” Andrei Rublev Remains Found

Remains of Russian painter found in monastery:

More than 500 years after he is thought to have died, Russian experts believe they have found the remains of the inspirational medieval icon painter Andrei Rublev, and intend to use them to build up a better idea of what he looked like.

During the course of restoration work on a Moscow church located in the city’s Andronikov Monastery, where Rublev is said to have died in 1430, the remains of two monks have been uncovered underneath the altar.

Experts believe it is “highly probable” that one of the men is Rublev, a monk whose icons are regarded as some of the finest pieces of religious art that have ever been created.

Scientists are now to run exhaustive tests on the bones to confirm their theory. The bones were found with a ceramic cup, the remains of small crucifixes that would have been worn around the neck, and leather sandals. . . .

His distinctive and hauntingly beautiful work decorates the walls of the Cathedral of the Annunciation in the Kremlin and several other churches across Russia. His most famous work, the Old Testament Trinity, hangs in Moscow’s Tretyakov Art Gallery. . . .

The fact that the “Rublev remains” are of a man who was around 50 years old when he died came as a surprise, since he was thought to have lived well into old age. . . .

Rublev was first mentioned in historical texts in 1405, and his icons are revered by the Russian Orthodox Church, which posthumously canonised him in 1988. They are famed for their simplicity, their vivid colours, and, quite simply, their “Russianness

‘Holy Fire’ Ceremony Held in Jerusalem

‘Holy Fire’ Ceremony Held in Jerusalem:

Pilgrims celebrated the Orthodox Easter ”holy fire” rite Saturday as a flame believed by some to be miraculously ignited illuminated thousands of torches and candles at Christianity’s holiest site.

Security was tight as visitors from around the world flocked to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where tradition says Jesus was crucified and buried. . . .

The Greek and Armenian Orthodox patriarchs in the Holy Land descended into the church’s underground tomb to bring out the flame. Worshippers clutching bundles of unlit tapers and torches waited in the darkened church for the church leaders to emerge.

When they reappeared with lighted torches, church bells pealed. Worshippers cheered, shrieked “Christ, Christ,” and ululated. The flames were passed around to the thousands of faithful and light and smoke filled the cavernous church within seconds.

The ritual dates back at least 1,200 years. The precise details of the flame’s source are a closely guarded secret, but some believe it appears spontaneously from Christ’s burial area as a message from Jesus on the eve of the Orthodox Easter that he has not forgotten his followers.

“My connection to Jesus is stronger, my connection to Jerusalem is stronger now,” said Jeanette Gennetian, 66, of Watertown, Mass, a member of the Armenian Apostolic church.