|Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries||Orthodoxy - Mysteries|
NEVER LEAVE THE CHURCH AFTER THE PRIEST HAS PROCLAIMED
“CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD!”
Below is a traditional clarification for laypeople :
On the day of the Lord’s Resurrection, the Holy Mother descended from the heavens to celebrate the greatest of Mysteries, together with the faithful on earth.
Her soul was so elated, on seeing so many faithful gathered to honour Her Child. The temples were flooded with the aroma of incense, candles of pure beeswax burning and emanating the scent of honey, while priests, multitudes of faithful and the angels were all chanting together; many of the churchgoers were even in tears of deep emotion.
As the midnight service progressed, the priest eventually appeared before the Royal Doors of the Sanctum holding a candle lit from the Holy Light atop the Holy Altar (which had been brought earlier that day from the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem), inviting the people with the words:
“Come receive the Light, from the never-setting Light!”
What a glorious sight! Hundreds of candles inside the church and then outside were sharing that flame with anyone standing next to them, and the entire area was swiftly flooded with light! All the clergy and the cantors then began to exit the church to share the Message of the resurrected Christ with those outside...
“CHRIST HAS RISEN!” the Head Priest announced in a loud voice for all to hear. What joy! What overflowing sentiment! Bells began to chime joyfully; the people began to exchange embraces with anyone standing next to them – friends and strangers – noisily exchanging wishes. hugs and kisses...
As soon as the priests had chanted the Hymn “CHRIST IS RISEN” six times according to the age-old rubric, what followed broke the Holy Mother’s heart...
My in-Christ brethren, are you aware of the significance of the words of the Troparion that the priest recites immediately after?
It says very specifically: “God has risen, and His enemies have scattered" ...then “those who hated Him fled from His presence” ... then “...just as smoke disappears, they too disappear; just like wax from the presence of fire.” And then...: “Thus will sinners disappear from the face of God, and the righteous shall delight.”
(Click on image below to hear a short video of the above chants)
What happened? While the Archpriest was reciting and chanting that all-important message, the crowds of Christians began to hurriedly depart from the church, not waiting to participate in the Service of Agape that traditionally takes place immediately after, where they are all invited to receive Holy Communion – the very Body and Blood of our resurrected, living Lord!!
The sight of candles being extinguished or drifting away into the night was a cause for shame, indignation and pain. The Holy Mother was shocked, and could not understand the reason for the phenomenon, so She turned to ask the accompanying Angel why the people were in such a hurry to vacate the church, and for what possible reason they were abstaining from the Service of Agape to show their love and glorification for the resurrected Christ.
had stayed inside the church during His
Crucifixion; they had remained by His
iconic tomb inside the church, bringing
thousands of scented flowers for His
burial, and now that Christ’s Passions
are over and they have only just heard
of His Resurrection, they are hurrying
AWAY from the church?
the enemies who wanted Him wronged? Are
the ones who betrayed Him, who sent Him
to the Cross? Who hate Him and who
blaspheme His Holy Name?
Go, Angel, and see if
are perhaps Pontius Pilate’s faithful! "
The Angel kneeled humbly before the Holy Theotokos, but She noticed a tear rolling down his face.
“Forgive me my Queen and Mother of the Creator, because what You asked of me will fill You with sorrow... All those who have abandoned Him by hurriedly leaving the church are proof that the devil has achieved his goal; they are all rushing home to relish the traditional Paschal meal at midnight to sate their hunger with man-made delicacies, instead of waiting to partake of the life-giving Body and Blood of the resurrected Lord tonight, during the festive Service of Agape...”
Our Lady was greatly sorrowed by this revelation and the state of mankind, saying:
“How can I dare to mediate for them before God whenever they ask me to come to their aid during times of pain and sorrow? Adam was cast out of Paradise because he succumbed to one earthen fruit, and now you, mankind, are likewise weighing down your soul for the sake of earthly food???"
When do we greet each other with the words “CHRIST HAS RISEN!” and for how long? The tradition begins on Easter Sunday – the day of Christ’s Resurrection – and for 40 days after – until the eve of the Feast of the Ascension. Instead of “Good morning” or “Good evening”, for 40 days, Christians continue to greet each other saying “Christ is risen!” – to which they are given the affirmative response of “Truly He is risen!”
While this tradition may pertain strictly to the days between the Resurrection and the Ascension, however if someone should happen to address you with “Christ has risen!” at any other day of the year, do not correct them for their “mistake”, but respond with “Truly He is risen!”
Because, my beloved in-Christ brethren, “Christ is risen!” is not a mere quaint tradition:
it is the statement of a FACT!
In the liturgical language of the Church, the “closure” of the Easter period is fulfilled 39 days after the Resurrection. It is honoured and celebrated on the eve of the feast of the Ascension and is an exceptional case, given that most feast days celebrate their “closure” on the 8th day – a custom borrowed from the major Judaic feasts which lasted 8 days. Christians who have observed the feast of Easter are equally respectful of the “closure” day – the eve of the Ascension – where they cease their labours during Vespers and light their home’s oil-lamp. On the day of the “closure” of the Easter period, the faithful will say “Christ is risen!” for the last time; housewives will dye or consume the last of their red-painted eggs, while in some local customs, the bay leaves distributed joyously by the priest during Vespers of Holy Saturday - while chanting “Rise, o God!” in view of the Resurrection on Sunday - and were preserved at home, are burned with incense.
Click to watch video clip below:
Article published in English on: 3-4-2018.
Last update: 3-4-2018.