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Pascha

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[[Image:Pascha.jpg|right|frame|The Resurrection of Christ]]
'''Pascha''' ({{lang-el|ΠασχαΠάσχα}}), also called '''Easter''', is the feast of the '''[[Resurrection]] of the [[Jesus Christ|Lord]]'''. ''Pascha'' is a transliteration of the Greek word, which is itself a transliteration of the Hebrew ''pesach'', both words meaning ''[[Passover]]''. (A minority of English-speaking Orthodox prefer the English word 'Pasch.')
Pascha normally falls either one or five weeks later than the feast as observed by Christians who follow the [[Gregorian calendar]]. However, occasionally the two observances coincide, and some years on occasion they can be two, four, or six weeks apart (but never three). The reason for the difference is that , though the two calendars use the same underlying formula to determine the festival, they compute from different starting points. The older [[Julian Calendarcalendar]] uses a different 's solar calendar is 13 days behind the Gregorian's and its lunar calendar is four to five days behind the Gregorian's. The Pascha date this year: '''{{pascha date|format=[[paschalionF j]], the formula for calculating the Y}}''', next year: '''{{pascha date of Pascha. This formula was determined by the |format=[[First Ecumenical CouncilF j]], Y|year={{next year}}}}''', and '''{{pascha date|year={{in two years}}|format=[[F j]], Y}}''', the year after that.
==Celebration of the feast==
{{diversity}}The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the center of the Orthodox Christian faith. Twelve weeks of preparation precede it. This is made up of prelenten [[Lenten Triodion#Weeks of preparation|pre-lenten Sundays]], [[Great Lent]], and [[Holy Week]]. The faithful try to make this long journey with repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and study. When the feast finally arrives, it is celebrated with a collection of services combined as one.
===Midnight Office===
Sometime before midnight, on the [[Holy Saturday|Blessed Sabbath]] the [[Midnight Office]] service is chanted. In the Slavic practice, the priest goes to the tomb and removes the [[epitaphios]] and carries it through the [[holy doorsHoly Doors]] and places it on the [[altar]] table where it remains for forty days until the day of [[Ascension]]. In the Byzantine practice, the epitaphios has already been removed (during the [[Lamentations Orthros]] on [[Holy Friday]] evening).
===Matins===
Paschal [[orthros|matins]] begins with a procession that starts around midnight. The people leave the dark church building singing, carrying banners, [[icons]], [[Candle|candles]], and the Gospel. The procession circles the outside of the church and returns to the closed front doors. In Greek practice, the Gospel which tells of the empty tomb is now read. In Syrian practice, following the Gospel reading, the priest beats on the door and takes part in a dialogue with an interlocutor inside the church doors, crying out with the words of [[Psalm]] 23 (24): "Lift up your heads, O gates! And be exalted, you everlasting doors, that the king of glory may enter in!" In Slavic practice, neither of these rites is preserved. Next, the [[Pascha#Hymns|Paschal troparion]] is sung for the first time, together with the verses of [[Psalm]] 67 (68) which will begin all of the Church services during the Paschal season.
:''Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered; let those who hate him flee from before his face!''
:''As smoke vanishes, so let them vanish; as wax melts before the fire,''
The readings take the faithful back again to the beginning, and announces God's creation and re-creation of the world through the living Word of God, his Son Jesus Christ.
The epistle reading is the first nine verses of the [[Book of Acts]]. The gospel reading is the first seventeen verses of the [[Gospel of John]]. It is customary on this day to read the Gospel in several languages.
The Liturgy of St John Chrysostom continues as usual. Holy [[communion]] has, again and again, the troparion of the Resurrection. It is sung while the faithful partake. To Orthodox Christians, receiving communion on Easter Sunday is very important. Many parishes take the Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom literally and commune all Orthodox Christians who are in attendance.
This new day is conveyed to the faithful in the length of the paschal services, in the repetition of the paschal order for all the services of [[Bright Week]], and in the special paschal features retained in the services for the forty days until Ascension. Forty days are, as it were, treated as one day.
==Other traditions==Foods from which the faithful have been asked to abstain during the lenten journey are often brought in baskets and blessed by the priest. This may include eggs, cheese, meat, and a rich, cake-like bread, called ''Kulitch''. These are then eaten after the Divine Liturgy.
In Greek practice there is a lamb soup that is shared after the Liturgy. In Slavic practice, foods which were blessed earlier are shared.
 
Another tradition at the feast of the Pascha, is the consecration of a bread stamped with the image of the Cross, or of the Resurrection, named Artos. This special Artos is consecrated at the close of the Paschal Liturgy in memory of the Risen Christ, Who is "the Bread of Life Eternal descended from Heaven and nourishing us with the food of His divine mercies." On the next Saturday, after the Liturgy, it is broken and distributed in the place of Antidoron.
 
The faithful also sometimes exchange Red-dyed egg. The egg symbolizes the renovated life, received through the Blood of Christ.
==The Term ''Easter''==
*[[Paschal greeting]]
*[[Paschal Homily]]
*[[Passover]]
 
*[[Holy Week]]
*[[Epitaphios]]
*[[Kyriopascha]]
*[[Pentecostarion]] ==External linklinks==
*[http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsLife.asp?FSID=27 HOLY PASCHA The Resurrection of Our Lord] from [[OCA]] website.
*[http://www.saintjonah.org/services/paschal_texts.htm Complete Liturgical Texts for Pascha (According to Russian Practice)]
[[bg:Пасха]]
[[srel:ВаскрсΠάσχα]][[es:Pascua]] [[mk:Велигден]][[ro:Sfintele Paşti]]

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