Sts. Peter and Paul Paschal Celebration
Pictures by Donna Nevels
Sts. Peter and Paul parish family has started preparing for the celebration of the Feast of the feasts, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ since the beginning of the Great Fast with services of Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete as well as Presanctified Liturgies on Wednesdays and Fridays. Two weeks before the Pascha the preparation went full force. Sisterhood of St. Anne made hundreds and hundreds dozens of varenyky as well as baked pascha bread and sweet rolls for Pre-Pascha bake and “perogy” sale.
Children have made palm leaves by tracing palms of their hands on paper, which they have used in the processions of Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday Liturgy was truly joyfully celebrated, as children waving palm leaves processed during small and great entrance as well as took an important part in blessing of Pussy willows and palm leaves. Their joyful singing of the prayer of “Our Father” as well as songs before the Holy Eucharist brought smiles as well as tears. Their innocent and sincerity of prayer truly touched ones’ heart and reminded everyone what the prayer should be all about.
Services of Bridegroom matins intoned parishioners into the deliberations of Passion Week. Great Thursday Passion Gospel reading service was beautified by earnest choir singing.
Great Friday started with Royal Hours involving our youngest readers. The tomb was astoundingly decorated with flowers by the children of Sunday school. The Friday vespers and procession with the Holy Shroud were solemnly celebrated with great attendance. Holy Friday services took the parish community into Holy Saturday through Jerusalem Matins.
The Festal celebration of Resurrection of Jesus Christ has started with the readings of the acts by members of Junior UOL. It was followed by the Midnight office celebrated with a candle light and sung by male trio. The Resurrectional Matins started with pitch darkness being illuminated with three candelabra “Paschalnik” and continued on with passing of that light by lightening candles throughout the assembly of people. The Ressurectional Matins and Liturgy were truly joyfully celebration with the exclamation of “Christ is Risen” in dozen if not different languages. The Midnight celebration ended up with Paschal Basket blessing and sharing of freshly blessed food with each other at the church hall. Paschal celebration continues on late morning Sunday with Agape Vespers, at which tired from the night service, but eager to continue the celebration altar servers led by Sub-deacon James Nevels and choir members under the leadership of choir director George Cepynsky assisted the parish community, visitors and friends in worshiping Resurrected God to the utmost of their abilities. The vespers were followed by blessing of paschal baskets outside the church. Kids anxious to try that tasty smelling kobasy were giggling as they were sprinkled with Holy Water. Their joyful noise was adding up to the joyfulness of the celebration of one of the Greatest Feasts of all.
The celebration of Pascha didn’t end on Sunday for the community of Sts. Peter and Paul, it continues on with the Divine Liturgy on Bright Monday morning led by His Grace Bishop Daniel followed by the reception for all the present at the rectory.
May the Risen Lord visit everyone’s heart and fill it with His sacrificial love and peace.
Celebration of the Resurrection of Christ at St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma, OH
By Fr. Michael Hontaruk - Assistant Pastor of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral Parma, Ohio
Христос Воскрес! Воістину Воскрес!
“This is the day which the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.”
After the Holy days of Great Lent and Passion Week, we celebrate the glorious Feast of Feasts – Pascha – Easter. It is upon us once more, bringing with it the powerful proclamation of Christ’s triumph over sin and death and the promise of our own victory.
There is no more joyous day in the year than the Resurrection of Christ. It comes at a happy time, at the beginning of spring. Just as the warming of the air, the greening of the grass and the flowering of plant life signal the annual miracle of nature’s reawakening from the gray, icy days of winter, so the celebration of Easter is a wonderful reassurance to humanity that death is not the end but merely a prelude to our own eventual triumph over the grave.
Pascha is the season of hope, a time when our spirits are lifted by the knowledge that Christ is the Master over death and evil. Probably never before has this message of Easter been more needed than it is today. Any of us easily could fall victim to despair as we view the condition of the world at the present moment. To some, it undoubtedly looks like a world whose soul is dead.
But Easter tells us that all is not lost, that Christ, who conquered sin and death, watches over us and is concerned about us.
One day our Lord will come back to the Earth - at the Second Coming - and you and I will stand before Him, along with those who have died. Only those who have put their faith in Jesus can know that they will be raised to eternal life with God in heaven. Our Savior said
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die," (John 11:25).
During the Lenten Season, our St. Vladimir Parish Family in Parma prepared for this Glorious Feast Day of the Resurrection of Christ by coming to the church services during Great Lent and on Passion Week to meditate what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did for all of us. The parish family was especially active in the services of Holy Week, beginning with the reading of the 12 Gospels on Thursday evening with the faithful praying while holding lit candles and meditating on the brutality that occurred to Jesus during his final days.
On Good Friday hundreds gathered in the cathedral in prayer. The parish choirs sang the bilingual service and children participated in the readings. The beautiful weather that evening allowed for the faithful to process around the church with the Holy Shroud, symbolizing Christ’s body being taken to the tomb.
On Saturday morning, following a Vesperal Divine Liturgy, the youth of the parish and their families gathered in the parish kitchen to have baskets containing traditional Paschal foods blessed. These baskets were then taken to parishioners who in local nursing homes. At 10:00 p.m. that evening, the faithful returned to the parish for Paschal Matins and Divine Liturgy as “Christ is Risen!” was exclaimed for the first time. This joyous service went into the early morning hours and was completed with blessing of hundreds of baskets in the parish center.
Throughout the weekend, the approximately 800 participants in the services were greatly uplifted by the 40-voice choir that sang the responses during the Resurrection Matins and Liturgies.
We pray, especially during this Glorious Feast, that God will enlighten our hearts with love for one another, because God on the Cross and rose from the dead in love for us. He did it for you and for me. May the Love of the Resurrected Jesus Christ, which has been poured into us, fill us with joy, peace, hope, spiritual happiness, good health and a peaceful life not only in the Paschal season, but for all of the days of our lives.
Christ Is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
Святo Вoскресiння Христoве у церквi Св’ятoгo Юрiя Перемoжця у Ярдвiлi, штату Нью Джерзi
Photos by Yuriy Nikolukin
Ми всi дякуємo Бoгу за цей День, Свiтлoгo Христoвoгo Вoскресiння.
Дзвонять дзвони Великодні!
Божа Пасха вже сьогодні.
Лине пісня із небес.
Радість всім Христос Воскрес!