Reading of Paschal Homily | St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary
This was my second time to a service, so I felt more comfortable, understood and remembered some of the responses, how to cross myself (right to left), etc. The service began with the Nocturne Service. After awhile the whole church was darkened and we rushed the Paschal Candle out of the church and somehow, I was handed a processional torch and with one of the Orthodox youth, helped lead the processional around the church [here is a picture of a processional at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Orthodox Theological Seminary, ours was much smaller, but you get the idea]. We then stood outside for the initiation of Pascha. We sang these words repeatedly during the rest of the service:
Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling down death by death
And on those in the tombs bestowing life.
Fr Patrick then used one of the banner’s poles and rapped on the door to the church 3x and said, ” Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.” Someone from inside responded, “Who is this King of glory?” And Fr Patrick replied, “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” This happened three times and then we went inside the church, which was all lit up, every candle, every light and celebrated the Paschal Matins, followed by the Paschal Homily of St John Chrysostom and then the Festal Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. We ended at 1.30am and then had the chance to venerate the Holy Gospel by kissing it. After that, we had a huge potluck in the parish house, drank wine, ate Greek soup and had many great conversations. Met a very nice woman from Russian who is living now in Sun Valley, and another couple who was originally from Bulgaria.
I got home around 3.45am, was asleep by 4am and my alarm went off at 7.30am to get ready for my church’s service. In a way, I would like to make a habit of this, attending the Paschal Service. There is just something about going to an Easter service Sunday morning pretty tired, out of it and exhausted. You have to assume these were the emotions the women felt as they walked to the tomb that Sunday morning, or that the disciples felt as they ran to the tomb after hearing from the women of the Resurrected Christ. They all must have experienced an exhausting weekend, tired, pretty out of it. And after attending the Paschal Service, I was able to experience a bit of that, and I really enjoyed it. A very meaningful service and experience.