Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!

1) The Holy Fire 2024

The video below is from yesterday, Saturday May 4, 2024. For reasons I described yesterday, the crowd is less Palestinian, though some apparently got it. The Holy Fire arrives not long after 1 hour 50 minutes. What follows after that is just wonderful – as is the excellent video work from Greek City Times.

LIVE STREAMING: Holy Fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre -HOLY LIGHT 2024 | Jerusalem 2024


That gave me the holy chills. And to think I was once a repressed Protestant.

2) Agape Vespers

I almost forgot: there is one more Paschal service. Most clergy would probably just as soon forget it. It comes when they think they just cannot handle another service…, but they do. Blessedly, it is short  – at least compared to everything else in Holy Week.

Why “Agape Vespers”, the “Vespers of Love”? I don’t know.

In some churches this Vespers is served in the evening, where it belongs liturgically, but in most places it’s scheduled earlier, sometimes at the time of the usual Sunday morning Divine Liturgy, in order not to turn away any visitors who don’t know what’s happening and have come for Liturgy. Some parishes schedule it in the afternoon with an Easter egg (Whoops! Pascha egg) hunt – presumably brought by the Pascha Bunny>

The Gospel reading (John 20:19-25) tells of Christ’s Pascha night appearance: Jesus said to them… “Peace be to you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” And how the apostle Thomas was not with them: “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe.”

This sets the stage for Christ’s appearance a week later (our Gospel reading next Sunday), and how “doubting Thomas” became “believing Thomas”. I want to talk about that in this Friday’s Post.

This Gospel is usually read in as many languages as possible by many people, a sign that from the beginning Jesus Christ has sent His Gospel of Salvation – that He has overcome death and hell – out to all the world.


3) Rats!

…. as Charlie Brown used to say.

First because I’ve lately watched Pascha arrive in Athens at Midnight – 4 pm Central Daylight time here – but this year I can’t find it! But I did listen to it on radio. The bells! the fireworks! and “Christos anesti! Aleithos anesti!” a thousand or so times.

And also because it makes me wish we could celebrate Christ’s Resurrection with such enthusiasm. But I guess that requires an Orthodox society.

And also because as I write this I have eight  l o n g hours yet till the Fast ends, while they’re already feasting. No fair.


OK, I’m done –  and believe me, after all I’ve written this past week, it’s hard to stop my fingers from typing.

Let’s have someone else take it from here:

4) Rita Wilson!

Rita is a fine American actress who has appeared in many movies including Sleepless in Seattle, Runaway Bride, and also produced the My Big Fat Greek Wedding series – which, if you haven’t seen, do!

She was raised Greek Orthodox and has been married to Tom Hanks, about which nothing needs to be said. Except that the two have been married for over thirty years, and that he became Orthodox when he married her, and the two of them take our blessed Orthodox Faith seriously – as you will see in what follows:

Rita Wilson explains “Why Easter is Greek to Me”


Nest Friday: Saint Thomas, my Hero


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