Holy week day by day. Approach to Holy Week

Holy Week in the Orthodox Church institutes the sanctity of the whole calendar year of the Church. Its center of commemorations and inspiration is Easter wherein the glorified Resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated.
admin | 02 April 2007

Approach to Holy Week
Holy Week in the  Orthodox
Church institutes the sanctity of the whole calendar year of the
Church. Its center of commemorations and inspiration is Easter wherein
the glorified Resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated. Every Sunday
is dedicated in the Eastern Orthodox Church to the Resurrection of the
Lord. One hundred days also are dedicated to Easter, 50 before it for
preparation, and another 50 after it for commemorating the
glorification of the Lord. Easter is considered the “Feast of Feasts”.

The 50 days before Easter, known as a part of the period of Triodion(1) “three” + “odes” are the period for strengthening
faith in the Lord. The means are well-known to people of spiritual experience. They are repentance, which means to change from indifference to full devotion; prayer, which is considered the soul of faith, and through which faith emerges from theory into life, and self-control,
which governs our relationships with our fellowman. These means are
practical indicators of our vivid faith in God. With this preparation
we are invited to enter the sanctuary of Holy Week, not as spectators,
but as participants in the commemoration and enactment of the divine
Acts that changed the world. A Christian must always be well-trained
and well-armed to fight against those who try to corrupt his spirit and
take away his freedom. The Christian must keep his own spiritual
kingdom intact and his freedom of religion and uprightness vivid in
order to be a part of the Kingdom of God, where the compassions of the
Lord and His Resurrection will be experienced. There is no other place
where the Kingdom of God can be expanded except the heart of man; and
there is no other gate whereby we can enter the Kingdom but that of
“repentance”. This was the proclamation of the new era of Jesus Christ,
who said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, Matthew 3:2.

The 50 days which follow Easter are signified by the Pentecostarion (2) Gr. Pentikonta 50).
They are dedicated to the spiritual enjoyment of the participants in
the deep belief that Almighty God is our Companion in our everyday life
and thoughts. It starts with the celebration of the Lord’s
Resurrection. During this period, the Church of Christ, which is His
Mystical Body, was instituted and strengthened. His disciples and
Apostles were the witnesses of the appearances of the Risen Lord; they
were the recipients of the Holy Spirit, Who changed completely their
attitude of fear, Who made the Apostles into piercing heralds and
ambassadors of the New Message of salvation in the name of Christ, the
Savior. This was an experience, teaching and inspiration they handed
down as the treasure of the Christian Faith. Christians are called to
commemorate the same divine Events and to enact them in their hearts
and minds, based on the realization that “Christ is Risen”.

The entire Christian confession is contained in the words “Christ is Risen”. St. Paul, referring to this fact, clearly and
emphatically says: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain”,
I Corinthians 15:14. This is the reason why, from the beginning, the
Church of Christ set forth as the center of its worship and faith the
Resurrection of its Lord. From the earliest days after Pentecost the
Apostles designated “the first of the Sabbath” of each week for the
remembrance, of the Resurrection of our Lord. This day was called the
“Lord’s Day” in the Revelation of John, who said: “I was the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (1:10).
It was this tradition which the writers and hynmologists of the
Orthodox Church had in mind when they wrote hymns and odes for eight
consecutive Sundays (Lord’s days) having for their subject the
Resurrection of Christ as the basic belief of redemption and of
worship. The fifth article of the Ecumenical Creed of Faith, the Nicene
Creed, refers to this belief, as well.

Resurrection of Christ, in relation to the Crucifixion, constitutes the
essence of the Christian Easter, which is the center of the
celebrations of worship of God in the Orthodox Church. Herein will be
presented the events and services of the Passion Week recorded in the
New Testament as they exist in the Eastern Orthodox Church today. The
Passion Week, from the triumphant entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem
until His Resurrection, contains a series of events in the life of
Christ the Savior linking prophecy with its fulfillment.

source: http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8432.asp

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