466. Holy Saturday night: The Paschal Service, Paschal Matins, Paschal Divine Liturgyu



Christ is risen! Truly he is risen!

Father Alexander Schmemann called our Orthodox Paschal celebration “an explosion of joy”. Words are inadequate to describe the services. They speak for themselves. (Every time I preached on Pascha I wished I hadn’t. This year my Pascha sermon will consist of: “Christ is risen!” ‘Truly He is risen!”)

Here are a few Paschal videos. (I assume you know that to go “full screen” and back, just poke the little square at the lower left of the video.) The first is by far the longest, so don’t give up.  Please do not miss the one from a shopping mall in Beirut, Lebanon, and from the air in Athens, Greece.

Thank God for our Holy Orthodox Church!

And thank God for the internet. For one thing I can watch the beginning of the Paschal celebration live from Athens. (So I c’n I eat chocolate at 4 p.m. then…? Uh uh.)

You’ll need to take the following videos full screen to get the proper effect. For some reason they copied small and I don’t have time to go back and correct it.

Here is Holy Pascha at:

Saint John the Baptist Church (Greek), Tampa, Florida: No, the video hasn’t failed: Minutes three to ten are completely in the dark. 


Saint Symeon Church (OCA), Birmingham, Alabama, 2015, presided over by their Bishop. This is one of the best “small church” choirs I have ever heard.


Vatopedi Monastery, Mount Athos:


The Paschal Troparion

Part One

Part Two

Part Three


A Paschal Flash Mob in a Shopping Mall in Beirut!

This is great. Be sure to watch it.


Pascha in Athens. Yes, fireworks.

Finally, here is why I gave up preaching at the Paschal Service. This says it all:

The Paschal Sermon of Saint John Chrysostom

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived thereof. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; He gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.

And He shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one He gives, and upon the other He bestows gifts. And He both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.

Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.

A blessed, holy, happy, light-filled  Pascha Season to you.

Enjoy your meat, fish, cheese, eggs, milk, wine and oil…and chocolate.

Thank you to so many of you for following this Blog all week. I know this was a whole lot to keep up with. (If you wish, it’s legal to go back and look at what you missed.)

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen! 

Oh, yes: There’s one more to come.

Pascha morning: The Holy Fire 2024, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and a couple of other things.

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