Pastor’s Message – March 31, 2013

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

            Dear Beloved Parishioners (and guests!)

            We greet you on this Easter Day with  Christ  is Risen! Xpuctoc Bockpec! –  the words the Apostles used to greet one another! May the celebration of Our Lord’s Resurrection fill

you and your family with much Joy and Hope and Love!

Again, we offer our greetings to all parishioners on this joyous feast day, to those who are always here and to those who come less often. It truly would be wonderful to pray with you regularly in church so please do consider this. In fact, if we all take our faith in Jesus to heart, then we need to come together often to celebrate His great love and all-forgiving compassion for us, to praise Him and to give heartfelt thanks to God for our many blessings!

A sincere thank you is extended to all those who so generously have helped make these last few days more prayerful and meaningful: to our liturgical animators and cantors, to our choir director Michael and all those who prayerfully sang the various beautiful traditional services so precious to our faith; to those who lovingly prepared the grave of Christ and decorated our holy sanctuary, to those who served and took part in the processions and religious services, etc.   Diakyu, diakyu and thank you ever so much!

            Easter in Ukrainian is called “Velykden” – the Great Day. Because Easter is the most important liturgical day for the whole year – the whole meaning of our personal lives depends on this celebration – Holy Mother Church extends this day into 8 days – thus, a GREAT DAY! Every day of the BRIGHT WEEK  the Church services, except for the Scripture readings, are exactly the same to emphasize over and over again its great importance.

Did you know? If someone dies during this Holy Week (like my tato-father in 1966), the glorious Easter Matins is celebrated rather than the traditional funeral Parastas.  Also the royal doors of the Iconostas are kept open as a visible sign of God’s Holy presence – the gates of the Kingdom are open for all! Bells are happily rung whenever we sing out the joyful Good News that Jesus is risen – Xpuctoc Bockpec!

            Another truly symbolic Byzantine custom in our Ukrainian Church during the Paschal season, i.e., from Easter to Pentecost, is to remain standing upright  during all our liturgical services. We do not kneel! This would be sign of penance and repentance, and not be a witness of Christ’s glorious Resurrection!  The priest proclaims: “Let us stand with dignity!”

            May the Resurrection Lord  bless each and all of us on this wonderful day of salvation – the day of promise that we, who believe in the Risen Jesus and

live and love as He did , will also resurrect unto life-everlasting!

            Xpuctoc Bockpec! Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!