Time of Pascha?

Discuss the holy Mysteries and the liturgical life of the Church such as the Hours, Vespers, Matins/Orthros, Typica, and the Divine Liturgy.

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Luke
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Time of Pascha?

Postby Luke » Tue 26 April 2016 2:27 pm

I have a question out of curiosity: Why does the Pascha service always start late at night and run late into the night? A lot of Western Churches either start Saturday evening or Sunday morning. I have heard of the Holy Fire that gets lit in Jerusalem, but I do not know if the timing is on account of that or if it is because we celebrate the Resurrection the second that Sunday arrives?
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Maria
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Re: Time of Pascha?

Postby Maria » Tue 26 April 2016 7:28 pm

The Holy Saturday Divine Liturgy, which is usually celebrated around 10 AM on Saturday morning is actually the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St. Basil, which takes about three hours with the complete psalms, Old Testament readings, New Testament readings and processions.

The Septuagint readings for this special Vesperal Divine Liturgy are very enlightening, if listened to attentively, as they cover almost all the important prophecies foretelling the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Incarnate Christ-God. Unfortunately, these readings have been greatly reduced in the Greek Orthodox Church under the EP to about seven, so that their service is less than two hours.

The vestments of the altar, icon stands, priests and altar servers are changed to white just before the special procession during the Vesperal Divine Liturgy when the petals and leaves are sprinkled all around the church because this service is part of Pascha.

From Orthodox Wiki: "The heavy sorrow of Great Friday begins to lift when the priest, wearing bright vestments, chants, "Arise, O God," while sprinkling laurel leaves, bay leaves, and flower petals all over the church to symbolize the shattered gates and broken chains of hell."

Pascha in Eastern Orthodoxy begins with the Paschal Matins, which usually starts around 10:30 or 11:00 PM on Holy Saturday.

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Perhaps some of our priests or hieromonks can advise us when the monastic celebration of the Holy Saturday evening Vesperal Divine Liturgy begins. Is it started around 5 pm on Holy Saturday afternoon and then continued with the Pascal Matins and Divine Liturgy in an All-night vigil? Are there other Paschal Holy Services which are normally not sung in the parishes, but which are observed in monasteries?
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Maria
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Re: Time of Pascha?

Postby Maria » Tue 26 April 2016 7:44 pm

Is there a list somewhere of all the Old Testament and New Testament readings that are read or sung during this Holy Saturday Vesperal Divine Liturgy and during the Paschal Matins?

My current calendar says to refer to a Liturgical Calendar, which I do not have.

Here is a sober reflection, well worth reading, concerning these readings from the Old and New Testament during this Holy Saturday Vesperal Divine Liturgy: https://oca.org/reflections/fr.-john-br ... n-of-jonah
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Re: Time of Pascha?

Postby Maria » Tue 26 April 2016 7:56 pm

Again, from the OCA site, we learn from the late Father Thomas Hopko: http://oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-f ... y-saturday

On Holy Saturday itself, Vespers are served with the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great. This service already belongs to the Passover Sunday. It begins in the normal way with the evening psalm, the litany, the hymns following the evening Psalm 141 and the entrance with the singing of the vesperal hymn, Gladsome Light. The celebrant stands at the tomb in which lies the winding-sheet with the image of the Savior in the sleep of death.

Following the evening entrance which is made with the Book of the Gospels, fifteen readings from the Old Testament scriptures are read, all of which relate to God’s work of creation and salvation which has been summed up and fulfilled in the coming of the predicted Messiah. Besides the readings in Genesis about creation, and the ­passover-exodus of the Israelites in the days of Moses in Exodus, there are selections from the prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, Zephaniah, and Jonah as well as from Joshua and the Books of Kings, the Canticles of Moses, and of the Three Youths found in Daniel are chanted as well.

After the Old Testament readings the celebrant intones the normal liturgical exclamation for the singing of the Thrice-Holy Hymn, but in its place the baptismal verse from Galatians is sung: As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Alleluia (Gal 3.27).


Even though the Holy Saturday Vesperal Divine Liturgy already belongs to the Passover Sunday, we do not proclaim, "Christ is Risen" yet. This Paschal Troparion is not sung until after the midnight procession at the end of the Paschal Matins. At this point, we take the Holy Light, and process around the church singing the Pascha stichera,

"Thy Resurrection, O Christ Our Savior,
the Angels in Heaven sing.
Enable us on Earth to Glorify Thee in Purity of Heart."


Next we enter the Church once again, but all the lights have been turned on, and all the candles lit. We celebrate Christ Holy Resurrection with a blessed Red Paschal Egg representing His Holy Blood which has been shed for us. At this point the chanters and priest begin to chant: "Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered" with the glorious refrain being this Paschal Troparion:

Christ is Risen from dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs, bestowing life.


We, who fall asleep in Christ, will be singing this glorious hymn forever with Christ, the Theotokos, and all the angels and saints.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.


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