Pascha: The Christian Passover

On the Great and Holy Sunday of Pascha, we celebrate the Life-giving Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ. Pascha, which is translated from the Hebrew, means Passover.

For this is the day on which God created the world from nothingness. On this day, He delivered the Israelites from Pharaoh’s hands and led them through the Red Sea. On this day, he descended from heaven and took His dwelling in the Virgin’s womb; now drawing forth mankind held in Hades, He raised them to heaven and brought them to the first to the first-created honor of incorruption. … [W]hile the soldiers guarded the tomb, at midnight the earth quaked, for the angel of the Lord had descended and rolled the stone from the entrance of the tomb, and the soldiers [set to guard the tomb] were so frightened that they fled. The women came to the tomb very early in the morning on the day following the Sabbath — that is to say at midnight on Saturday. Therefore, late on the first day of the Resurrection, the Mother of God was there together with St. Mary Magdalene, who was sitting near the tomb according to St. Matthew. The Evangelists say that He first appeared to St. Mary Magdalene [rather than His Mother]…so that there would be no doubts or suspicions concerning the truth of the Resurrection.

It was St. Mary Magdalene who saw the angel upon the stone; then bowing down, she saw the other angels inside. The angels announced the Lord’s Resurrection to her and said, “He is risen! He is not here! Behold the place where they laid Him” (Mark 16:6). Hearing this, the women turned to run and announce the Resurrection to the most fervent of the Apostles, that is, to St. Peter and St. John. But when they returned, they met Christ Himself, Who said to them, “Re-joice” (Matthew 28:9).

Translated from Romanian; Synaxarion of the Lenten Triodion and Penetcostarion, pp. 163-166 (Rives Junction, Mi.: HDM Press, 1999).

© 2000 by Orthodox Family Life and the original author(s).
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