We finally made it to Pascha!! This entire past week and weekend have been filled with services, only 2 of which I was able to attend due to work. Jesse, however, was able to attend a few more, which was good (he filled me in on some stuff!).
Friday we “buried” Christ by decorating a beautiful funeral pier with flowers and making a procession around church. Friday night we had a “Saturday morning” matins (time is supposed to be all skewed up because of Christ’s death) wherein we morned Christ’s death by doing a candelight vigil/procession. The words and songs for this service are great because they manage to point everyone forward to his resurrection by reading the OT and NT prophecies while still acknowledging the full weight of the fact that God died.
Then, Saturday morning the baptisms started at 7:45 am with services going on all day long. Jesse was able to go to a few and then come home, wherein we both went to the 11:30 pm vigil/divine liturgy. It was great- 4 whole hours of standing until 4am!!! Okay, that was the very uncool/tiring part. The neat part was that we did more mourning with the entire church in complete darkness. Then we lit candles and walked around the church 3 times. When we re-entered the church, the funeral pyre had been put away and instead everyone was loudly singing the jubilant Resurrection hymns in at least 10 different languages!
The church was completely packed (around 500 people), seeing as the “once a year” ethnic Orthodox also managed to attend for at least the procession around the church. By the time the liturgy started at 1am however, it was just St. Seraphim’s few hundred faithful that were left standing. In the back narthax (the foyer) all the children were already asleep in their sleeping bags, only to be awoken by their parents at around 3:30am to take the Eucharist. The rest of us just kept awake by singing loudly:)
Afterwards, our bountiful Pascha baskets were sprinkled with Holy Water and blessed by Archbishop Dmitri. We dove in to all the meats and cheeses and icecream, while still managing to make and drink mixed drinks. One particularly popular vodka was “EFFEN” which is loved mainly for the chuckle-inspiring name. Ex: “Hey, would you like some effen Vodka?” You get the idea.
Today was the Agape Service where they read the gospels out loud in as many languages as they can find. We were unable to make it, seeing as we went to bed at around 6am, but Heather (who had to go since Josh was reading in Hindi) said that it was, again, mostly ethnic once-a- year Orthodox who came to get their Pascha baskets blessed. Archbishop Dmitri gave a gentle message encouraging them to come back regularly, but it seems that there will always be those who only attend Church for it’s “lucky charms”.
Tonight, Jesse and I joined Heather and Josh for some bountiful burger eating at Chili’s. All this meat….maybe THAT’S why my tummy hurts!
Until next time…
Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!
Christos Anesti ek nekron, thanato thanatan patisas, ke tis en tis minismasin soin xarisamenos!
Hrestoss vosskrese ez mertvih, smerteeyou smert po prav, Ee suschem vo grobeh zhivot darovav!