Sunday, March 27, 2005

Christòs anèsti

I celebrated Easter Sunday morning with the Greek (Byzantine Rite) Catholic community here in Rome and discovered two things:

Firstly, it is the custom in Greek Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches to read the Easter Homily of St John Chrysostom after the Gospel on Easter Sunday.
Are there any who are devout lovers of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!
Are there any who are grateful servants?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!
Are there any weary from fasting?
Let them now receive their due!
If any have toiled from the first hour,
Let them receive their reward.
If any have come after the third hour,
Let them with gratitude join in the feast!
And those who arrived after the sixth hour,
Let them not doubt; for they shall lose nothing.
And if any have tarried until the ninth hour,
Let them not hesitate; but let them come too.
And those who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
Let them not be afraid by reason of their delay.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last no less than the first.
The Lord gives rest to those who come at the eleventh hour,
Even as to those who toiled from the beginning.
To one and all the Lord gives generously.
The Lord accepts the offering of every work.
The Lord honors every deed and commends their intention.

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!
First and last alike, receive your reward.
Rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
Rejoice, this day, for the table is bountifully spread!
Feast royally, for the calf is fatted.
Let no one go away hungry.
Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy the riches of the Lord's goodness!
Let none grieve their poverty,
For the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let none mourn that they have fallen, over, and over again;
For forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let none fear death, for the death of our Savior has set us free.
The Lord has destroyed it by enduring it.
The Lord destroyed hell when He descended into it.
The Lord put hell in turmoil even as it tasted of His flesh.

Isaiah foretold this when he said,
"You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering him below."
Hell is in turmoil because it has been eclipsed.
Hell is in turmoil because it is mocked.
Hell is in turmoil, for it is destroyed.
Hell is in turmoil, for it is annihilated.
Hell is in turmoil, for it is now made captive.
Hell grasped a corpse, and discovered God.
Hell seized earth, and encountered heaven.
Hell took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.

O death, where is thy sting?
O hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and you, O death, are obliterated!
Christ is risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life is set free!
Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
For Christ, having risen from the dead,
Is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To God be glory and power forever and ever.

Translation by Mark Baker and edited by André Lavergne
Secondly, when the Feast of the Annunciation (or Incarnation) falls on Good Friday or Holy Saturday, it is transferred to Easter Sunday. So, the Easter Vigil being over, the Divine Liturgy on Easter Sunday morning draws some of its texts from the proper of that feast.
Today begins our salvation and the manifestation of the eternal mystery - the Son of God becomes Son of the Virgin and Gabriel announces the grace. With him we cry to the Mother of God: 'Hail, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with You.'
Even the Gospel was not that of the Resurrection, but one of my favourite biblical texts - the prologue to St John's Gospel. 'The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us'
And two Easter Pictures
I really like Noli Me Tangere depicitons where Christ is actually dressed as the gardener. And Durer is always wonderful.

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