Orthodox Church of the Mother of God

Joy of all the Sorrowful - Mays Landing, NJ (f. 1966)

The Paschal Service

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Matins commences immediately. The risen Christ is glorified in the singing of the beautiful canon of St. John of Damascus. The paschal greeting is repeatedly exchanged. Near the end of Matins the paschal verses are sung. They relate the entire narrative of the Lord's resurrection. They conclude with the words calling us to actualize among each other the forgiveness freely given to all by God:

This is the day of resurrection.
Let us be illumined by the feast.
Let us embrace each other.
Let us call "brothers" even those who hate us,
And forgive all by the resurrection . . .

The sermon of St. John Chrysostom is then read by the celebrant. The sermon was originally composed as a baptismal instruction. It is retained by the Church in the paschal services because everything about the night of Pascha recalls the Sacrament  of  Baptism:  the  language  and  general terminology of the liturgical texts, the specific hymns, the vestment color, the use of candles and the great procession itself. Now the sermon invites us to a great re-affirmation of our baptism: to union with Christ in the receiving of Holy Communion.Pascha

If any man is devout and loves God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast...
the table is fully laden; feast you all sumptuously...
the calf is fatted, let no one go hungry away ...

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