Today is Western Christian Easter, and I wish all my Christian friends celebrating Christ’s Resurrection today a Blessed and Happy Easter.
Today is Palm Sunday for us Orthodox Christians.
We Eastern Christians are on the Julian Calendar, whereas Western Christians follow the Gregorian Calendar. If you are interested in learning a little more about this, click on this link.
Tonight (I think technically last night) starts Orthodox Christian Holy Week in which we participate and follow Christ through his Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. It’s the greatest feast and holiday of the year for us. It’s also a very focused, holy, and busy week for us. Reading my church’s bulletin, there are around sixteen services for Holy Week.
We call this celebration of Christ’s Resurrection on Sunday not Easter but Pascha. This is the term that’s been used from the beginning, which follows the Jewish Passover (Pesach). Here’s a couple excerpts of info on Orthodox Pascha and where the word originates from:
Pascha (Greek: Πάσχα), also called Easter, is the feast of the Resurrection of the Lord. Pascha is a transliteration of the Greek word, which is itself a transliteration of the Aramaic pascha, from the Hebrew pesach meaning Passover.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the center of the Orthodox Christian faith. Twelve weeks of preparation precede it. This is made up of pre-lenten Sundays, Great Lent, and Holy Week. The faithful try to make this long journey with repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and study. When the feast finally arrives, it is celebrated with a collection of services combined as one.
One of the hymns we sing on Palm Sunday:
Apolytikion: First Tone
By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your passion, You did confirm the universal resurrection, O Christ God! Like the children with the palms of victory, we cry out to You, O Vanquisher of death: Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!
I’ll try to write a midweek post and one on Pascha to share the absolutely moving, beautiful, and profound services to give you a glimpse into what this week is like for us Orthodox.
Again, Happy Easter to all my friends celebrating today!