ORTHODOX EASTER (PASCHA)
This year, Orthodox Christians will celebrate Easter on April 8th. The Orthodox date for Easter is based on a decree of the Council of Nicae, Asia Minor, held in 325 A.D. under Emperor Constantine the Great. According to this decree, Easter must be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon of the vernal equinox, but always after the Hebrew Passover to maintain the Biblical sequence of events of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The Orthodox Christian Churches have adhered strictly to this formula, but the Easter of other Christian Churches is not necessarily preceded by the Passover.
The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is conducted only during the Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent and on the first three days of Holy Week. The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, as its name implies, is unlike other Liturgies, such as that of St. John Chrysostom, in that there is no consecration of the elements. Rather, the consecration takes place on the preceding Sunday. These Presanctified Liturgies exist in order to offer more opportunities for the faithful to receive Holy Communion without the general splendor of the regular Divine Liturgy.
The service consists of the first part of a Vespers and the last part of the Divine Liturgy. The mood is inspired by the repentance characteristic of the Lenten Period. One way of showing the spirit of repentance and humility, while acknowledging the Holy Gifts carried in the Great Entrance procession, is for the priest to cover his head with the ‘aer’ cloth, rather than placing it on his back (Greek Tradition) or shoulder (Slavic Tradition). It is not that you are prohibited from looking at the priest, but that the solemnity of the transfer of the already consecrated Holy Gifts of the Body and Blood of Christ is being emphasized by this practice.
HERETISMOI – SALUTATIONS
The Akathyst Hymn was composed and sung, according to tradition, as a thanksgiving to the Theotokos for the protection of Constantinople from a siege by the Persians in 626 A.D. The twenty-four verses, each begin with a letter of the Greek alphabet to form a beautiful religious poem regarding the coming of Christ for the salvation of the world. The hymns honor the Theotokos. The Heretismoi services are portions of these verses (six each week) and are sung on the first four Fridays of Great Lent. The whole Akathyst Hymn is sung on the fifth Friday of Lent.
GREAT LENT AND EASTER FLOWERS
The Great Lent and Easter Season is approaching quickly and once again we are asking for your contributions and donations towards the adornment of our St. Athanasios Church during the Lenten and Pascha season. Please keep in mind that Great Lent begins on Monday, February 19th. Please call the Church Office if you are interested in donating any of the following items:
- Flowers for the 5 Icons
- 3rd Salutations
- 4th Salutations
- Akathyst Hymn
- Daffodils for the Veneration of the Holy Cross
- Palms and Vaia for Palm Sunday
- Flowers for the Icon of the Nymphios (Bridegroom)
- 2 Candles for the Bridegroom
- Holy Wednesday; Holy Unction Items
- Flowers for the Icon of the Last Supper
- 12 Candles for the 12 Gospels
- 9 Candles for Cross, Holy Thursday
- Wreath of flowers for the Crucified
- Floral Arrangement for the foot of the Cross
- 1 White Single Flat Sheet for Good Friday
- Flowers for the Epitaphio
- 8 Candles for Altar Table
- Rosewater for the Epitaphio
- Flowers for Resurrection Icon
- Wreath for the Resurrection Lavaro
- 30 Easter Lily plants
- 6 Paschal Candles
If any young girl, aged 9 and up, is interested in being a Myrophora during Holy Week and Pascha, please contact Eliana Antoniou, our Sunday church School Director, or the Church Office. Myrophora sign up is on a first- come, first-serve basis, along with parental consent