(a traditional educative story)
Once, 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, faithful and the angels
were all chanting together; many of the churchgoers were
even in tears of deep emotion.
As Matins progressed, the priest stood before the Royal
Doors of the Sanctum holding a candle lit from the Holy
Light brought from the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, inviting
the people with the words “Come receive the Light, from the
What a glorious sight!
Hundreds of candles inside the church and then
outside shared that flame with anyone standing next to them,
and the entire area was soon flooded with light! All the
clergy and the cantors then began to exit the church to
share the Message of the resurrected Christ outside...
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 all those next to
them – friends and strangers – noisily exchanging wishes and
As soon as the priests had chanted “CHRIST IS RISEN” six
times, 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
It says very specifically:
“God has risen, and
His enemies have scattered,
and 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:
“Thus sinners will
be lost from the face of God, and the righteous shall
Click to hear a short video of the above chants:
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
The sight of candles being extinguished or vanishing into
the night was a cause for shame, frustration and pain. The
Holy Mother was shocked, and could not understand the reason
for the phenomenon, so She turned to ask the Angel why he
people were in such a hurry to leave, and for what possible
reason did they abstain from the midnight Service and Holy
Communion to show their love and glorification for the
They had remained in church during the entire Service of His
…and they had remained by His iconic Tomb inside the church,
bringing thousands of scented flowers for His burial and
chanting all the dirges…
...and now that Christ’s Passions are over and they have
only just heard of His Resurrection, they are hurrying away?
Could they be the enemies who wanted Him wronged?
Were they 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 they are perhaps Pontius
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
unfortunately evidence that the devil has achieved his goal,
as they are now heading home to enjoy the warm traditional
meal and miscellaneous other snacks and sate their hunger
with those, instead of remaining in church to partake of the
Body and Blood of the Lord tonight, during the festive
Service of Agape ...”
Our Lady was greatly sorrowed by this revelation and the
state of mankind, and commented as follows:
“How can I dare 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 for the sake of one item of food, and now you,
mankind, are likewise disregarding your soul for the sake of
Easter traditions that continue to be observed to this day
When do we greet each other with the greeting “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 (on the Wednesday
following the Sunday of the Blind man).
It is one of the unique exceptions, given that most
feast-days have their Closure after eight days. This custom
was borrowed by Christian worship, from the major Jewish
feasts, which lasted eight days.
Those who truly “observe” the feast of Pascha also
meticulously observe the day of its Closure. They refrain
from all labours at the hour of Vespers on the eve and they
ceremoniously light their home’s oil lamp.
On the day of Closure of the Pascha feast (the eve of the
Ascension), the faithful will greet with “CHRIST IS RISEN!”
for the last time.
Housewives can dye or consume the last red eggs.
In some places, the laurel leaves that are scattered
by the Priest in church at noon of Holy Saturday (when the
Resurrection message is announced in advance of Sunday, with
the words “RISE, O LORD!”) are ritually burnt as incense. (watch
characteristic video clip: