If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still dead in your sins! … So is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raise in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
1 Cor. 15:17; 42-44
St. Philaret of Moscow
At midnight the Church hastened to gather us for the beginning of the feast. Why is this? Because it was desirous that the beginning of the feast would coincide, as much as possible, with the time of that which was being celebrated, i. e., the Resurection of Christ. The exact time of this has not been revealed to us. When the Myrrhbearing Women arrived at the tomb of the Lord at dawn, it was already opened, and the Angels announced the Resurrection of Christ which had already taken place. Much earlier the earth around the tomb of the Lord had shaken, an Angel had rolled the stone away from the tomb and with his bright appearance had frightened away the guard, thereby giving the Myrrhbearing Women and the Apostles free access to the tomb. The resurrection itself took place earlier, since it occurred while the tomb was still sealed, according to the witness of the Holy Church, the guardian of the mysteries of Christ. It was not before midnight, however, since, according to the words of the Lord, He was to be three days in the tomb; and therefore it must have occurred in the first hours after midnight on the day after the Sabbath. By having the beginning of our feast during these hours we hope to thereby envelop that immeasurably exalted and wondrous minute of the Resurrection, so that the feast, as much as possible, might become one with the celebrated event, just as those who are celebrating are called to be one with the Creator of the feast.
Just before beginning the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ we sang a hymn to the three-day burial of Christ. Why is this?— First, so that the sequence of the commemorations follow the order of the actual events: since the Resurrection of Christ occurred after the three-day burial of Christ. Secondly, so that the evoking of pious sorrow might prepare us for a more proper and clear understanding and genuine feeling of the Divine joy which would follow.
The Resurrection and ascent of Christ began not from the tomb only, but from Hades: for after His death on the cross, He was, as the Church confesses, "In the grave bodily, in hell with the soul as God ... and He descended even to Hell and destroyed the darkness there." Although the Patriarchs, Prophets, and Righteous of the Old Testament were not plunged into the depths of darkness like the unbelievers and the impious, they still did not escape the shadow of death and did not enjoy the full light. They had the seed of light, i.e., faith in the coming Christ; but only His actual coming to them and the touch of His Divine light could light their lamps with the light of true heavenly life. Their souls, like the wise virgins,were close to the doors of the heavenly bridal chamber, but only the key of David could open these doors. Only the Heavenly Bridegroom, Who had come out of these doors, could enter through them again, bringing with Him the sons of marriage. And so, the Savior of the world, after He had been crucified and had died in the visible world, descended into the invisible world, even to Hell, and He illumined the souls of the faithful, led them out of the shadow of death, and opened to them the gates of Heaven and Paradise; and again in the visible world, He manifested the light of the Resurrection.
Do you not see now how the invisible Church united with this visible one, and how the one was represented in the other? We stood in the dark of night on the west side of the church before the closed doors, as if standing along with those who dwell in the invisible world before the closed gates of Paradise. In this way the Church wants to show us how it was before the Resurrection of Christ, and how it would be eternally without the Resurrection of Christ. Then the doxology to the Most-Holy Trinity and the Risen Christ, the Cross and the censer opened to us the doors of the church, like the gates of Heaven and Paradise. By these signs the Church said to us: in like manner do the grace of the Most-Holy Trinity, the name and power of the Risen Christ, faith and prayer open to us the gates of Heaven and Paradise. The burning candles in our hands not only represent the light of the Resurrection, but at the same time they remind us of the wise virgins and urge us to be prepared, with the light of faith, the oil of peace, love and mercy, to meet the second, glorious Coming of the Heavenly Bridegroom at midnight, that we may find the gates of His Kingdom opened to us.
Set Service Schedule:
- Every Saturday, Great Vespers 5:30 pm.
- Every Sunday, Hours at 9:10 am & Divine Liturgy at 9:30 am.
SEE CALENDAR TO THE TOP RIGHT FOR THE HOLY WEEK AND PASCHA SERVICE SCHEDULE.
Coffee fellowship: Not meeting this month.
Bible Study / Orthodox Education:No meeting in Great Lent. Come to Services!
Upcoming Major & Great Feasts: Holy Week starts on Monday April 2nd. Pascha is Sunday, April 8th.
Women's group: Saturday the 21st at 9:30 am.
“I am a wanderer on earth. I began my wandering in the cradle and finish in the grave.
St. Ignatius Brianchaninov
Holy Week is the first week of April; Pascha is Sunday, April 8th. Make sure to attend as many Holy Week services as possible. If one is able, take off work from Holy Friday through Pascha. Pascha baskets will be blessed after the Pascha service. Don't forget about Agape Vespers with the festive potluck and kids activities! It's like the cherry that tops everything off! Also there is Bright Week (the week after Pascha) during which the Paschal services are served all week long.
Pueblo's pan-Orthodox Tradition: We will join St. John's on Holy Wednesday, April 4th, at 6 pm for Holy Unction; in turn they will join us on Pascha Sunday for Agape vespers at 2 pm (a festive potluck and egg hunt for the kids follows).
Father will bless graves at Roselawn after the service of Radonitsa on the 17th.
Matins will not be served on the mornings of the 19th, 20th, & 27th.
Church ground spring clean-up, Saturday May 19th
Please note: a close circuit video camera system now monitors the church grounds.
Work Policy for Church Grounds: effective immediately, the Church Calendar regulations regarding work on Holy Days will be observed on the Church grounds. No work, other than what is clearly necessary for Feast Day preparations, will or should be done on the Church grounds. This includes all 12 Great Feasts and Holy Week together with Pascha. Thank you!
Confession is an integral part of true Christian living. An Orthodox Christian who is regularly partaking of Holy Communion needs, for the health of their soul, to be partaking of Holy Confession at least on a monthly basis. This practice of true Christian living should be respected and practiced by all responsible members of the Church who are approaching the Chalice frequently.
Library note: if you have had a library book for awhile please remember to return it. Remember the library is a honor system.
A note on Prosphora bread: Prosphora is blessed bread partaken of after Holy Communion and at the conclusion of the Div. Liturgy. Please be mindful of crumbs, it is important to instruct children to eat it with reverence. If you share with a member of the congregation who has not partaken of Holy Communion, please only give one or two pieces. If you notice a number of crumbs on the floor please pick them up and deposit them outside. Prosphora should never be thrown in the trash.
Parents: please make sure that your children do not go to the restroom unattended. This is for the greater safety of our community and children.
Another reminder: Generally speaking there should be no unnecessary moving about during the Div. Liturgy; specifically during the reading of the Gospel, the Anaphora, and the Our Father all moving about should cease, unless it is an emergency. Parents are encouraged to help their children focus during these times.
Diapers and wipes: we are partnering with a Caring Pregnancy Center through supplying diapers and wipes. Please bring donations to the church. This is an ongoing ministry. A Caring Pregnancy Center helps woman make an informed choice for life. Protecting life at every stage is the job of every Christian.
Coffee Hour: Please be mindful which group you belong to and please be diligent in bringing food. This is in fact a ministry. It is the listed group's responsibility to make sure the coffee is made, please communicate with your group members as to who will do this. Thank you for all your hard work!