Journey to Pascha

Published by: BLESS Group Educators 2010 Ypapanti Greek Orthodox Church 4648 Elk Lake Drive

Victoria, B.C. V8Z 5M1

Paschal Troparion This hymn (song) is sung at all services beginning with Pascha, and is sung for 40 days afterwards. We will be practicing it until Pascha.

ENGLISH: Christ is risen from the dead, Trampling down death by death, And upon those in the tombs bestowing life. GREEK: Χρ ι σ τ ο ς α ν ε σ τ η ν ε κ ρ ω ν, θ α ν α τω θα ν α τ ο ν τ η σ α ς, κ α ι τ ο ι ς ε ν τ ο ι ν η µ α σ ι, ζ ω η ν χα ρ η σα µ ε ν ε κ πα ς µ

ο ς!

Hristos anesti ek nekron Thanato thanaton patisas,

Ke tis en tis mnimasin, Zoin harisamenos!
What is a troparion and a kontakion? They are types of hymns in Byzantine music, in the Orthodox Church and other Eastern Christian churches.

Lazarus Saturday - the start of Holy Week
The Raising of Lazarus from the Dead
One day, Jesus' friend Lazarus became very sick. His sisters, Martha and Mary, sent a messenger to tell Jesus and ask Him to come quickly. Jesus knew Lazarus was very sick and would die, but He waited two more days and then went to Bethany. Jesus knew Lazarus was already dead, but He said to His disciples, "For your sake, I am glad I was not there, so that now you may believe." The disciples did not understand what Jesus was saying. Martha ran to meet Jesus and said to Him: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Jesus told them: "Your brother will rise again." Martha answered: "I know he will rise from the dead when everyone will be made alive again, when the resurrection comes on the last day." Then Jesus said: "I am the resurrection and the life for all who believe in me. Do you believe this?" Martha answered: 'Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah (Savior), the Son of God." Jesus went to the tomb where Lazarus was buried. He wept for his friend and told the men to move the stone that covered the cave. Martha said: "Lord, there will be a terrible smell, for Lazarus has been dead for four days!" But Jesus called: "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man arose and walked out of his tomb, covered with the bands of cloth that had been his burial clothes. Jesus said: "Unwrap him and let him go." Many people saw this and were excited about what had happened! They ran to tell their friends about the miracle they had seen with their own eyes! DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What miracle did Jesus perform at Lazarus’ home? How were Mary, Martha and Lazarus related? Were Lazarus and Mary and Martha related to Jesus? When Jesus arrived at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, what had happened to Lazarus? What did Jesus do for His good friend? Why is the raising of Lazarus important to us? Was Lazarus really dead or was he just very, very sick? How do we know that Jesus really loved Lazarus? Why do you think Jesus waited a few days to come to Lazarus' tomb instead of coming right away?

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---------------------------------------------------------------Troparion By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your Passion, You confirmed the universal resurrection, O Christ God! Like the children with palms of victory, We cry out to You, O Vanquisher of Death; Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord! Kontakion Christ - the Joy, the Truth, and the Light of All, the Life of the World and the Resurrection - has appeared in his goodness to those on earth. He has become the Image of our resurrection, granting divine forgiveness to all.

For Parents
Lazarus Saturday is a paschal celebration. It is the only time in the entire Church Year that the resurrection service of Sunday is celebrated on an other day. At the liturgy of Lazarus Saturday, the Church glorifies Christ as "the Resurrection and the Life" who by raising Lazarus, has confirmed the universal resurrection of mankind even before his own suffering and death. At the Divine Liturgy of Lazarus Saturday the baptismal verse from Galatians: As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 32:27) replaces the Thrice-Holy Hymn thus indicating the resurrectional character of the celebration, and the fact that Lazarus Saturday was once among the few great baptismal days [of adult catechumens] in the Orthodox Church Year. Because of the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead, Christ was hailed by the masses as the long-expected Messiah-King of Israel. Thus, in fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament, he entered Jerusalem, the City of the King, riding on the colt of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9; John 12:12) The crowds greeted him with branches in their hands and called out to him with shouts of praise: Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! The Son of David! The King of Israel! Because of this glorification by the people, the priests and scribes were finally driven "to destroy him, to put him to death." (Luke 19:47; John 11:53, 12:10) From The Orthodox Faith, Vol. II: Worship, by Fr. Thomas Hopko.

Family Activities
Make a point of being in Church for Liturgy on this day to worship as

a family. Receive the Eucharist as a family. This day begins the events of the Passion Week. If the youth of your parish fold the palms into the form of a cross, or trim the pussywillow branches in preparation for Palm Sunday, make it a point for your children to be involved. In some Orthodox parishes, it is the custom on Lazarus Saturday for the children of the parish to make a procession around the church. They sing, carry banners and even play musical instruments, recreating the children of the Gospels who heralded the entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem by waving palm branched and crying, "Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord." If your parish does this, make a point of having your children participate. If not, ask your priest and Church School Director about starting a new custom! Use the Troparion and Kontakion as prayers at mealtime today. Use the ABOUT THE ICON section to review the different individuals and elements of the icon.

About the Icon: The Raising of Lazarus
St. Lazarus — the figure on the extreme right; he is depicted at the entrance of his tomb, wrapped in his white burial shroud. Christ — the third figure from the left; He is depicted commanding Lazarus to come forth from the tomb. St. Peter the Disciple — the figure on the extreme left; usually all twelve are depicted in the icon, but in the present icon, Saint Peter, the chief disciple, is depicted to represent all twelve. St. Mary the Sister of Lazarus — second figure from the left; usually both Saint Mary and Saint Martha, the two sisters of Lazarus, are depicted in the icon, but in the present icon Saint Mary is depicted to represent them both. Jerusalem — in the background of the icon is the walled city of Jerusalem, which

Christ would enter in triumph the day following His raising of Lazarus. Taken from The Icon Book, by Boojamra, Essey, McLuckie & Matusiak.

The Entrance of Our Lord into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday)
- celebrated on the Sunday before Pascha
The great Jewish holiday, called Passover, was drawing near. The city of Jerusalem was full of people who had come from all parts of the country for the holiday. The streets were crowded with people hurrying to the temple. It was spring and the trees had fresh, green leaves. Jesus Christ and His disciples were also going to Jerusalem for the holiday. Jesus knew that the time was coming when He would have to suffer and die. He also knew that all this must happen in Jerusalem. As they were approaching the city, Jesus said to two of His disciples: "Go into the town ahead and, as you enter it, you shall see a donkey and a colt tied to a door. Untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone asks you why you untie them, tell them it is because the Lord needs them." The disciples obeyed, and as they came to a road crossing they saw the donkey and the young colt tied to a door. They did as Jesus told them and brought them to Jesus Christ. Then Jesus rode the colt to Jerusalem. Very soon among the holiday crowds in the streets of Jerusalem the rumor spread: "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel" ("The Lord is approaching Jerusalem. He is the promised Savior. He will be our King.") The people hurried to the city gates. They hurried along the road. More and more people joined the crowd. There were children running among the grown-ups. Everyone was asking: "Where is the Lord? Where is the Savior?" Some important Jewish people came up to Jesus and said: "Master, tell Your disciples to stop this noise." But Jesus answered them: "I tell you, if these people will stop shouting and being glad, then the stones themselves, which you see there, will cry out." The crowd pressing around Jesus was slowly approaching Jerusalem. They were coming down a hill, and there before them lay the beautiful city shining in the sun. Jesus looked at the city sadly. He knew, even now, that in a few days the people of Jerusalem would turn against Him. But the people surrounding Him did not know this. They followed Jesus rejoicing and singing until He entered the temple.

This is what we celebrate on Palm Sunday. We carry palm branches on this day to show that we too accept Jesus as King, and that we are willing to follow Him, and we are proud of His Cross and holy Passion. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Where was Jesus going? On what was he riding? How did the people honor Him as king? What did the children and people shout out? How do we greet presidents or kings today?

2. The Troparion (Tone 1) By raising Lazarus from the dead before Thy passion, Thou didst confirm the universal resurrection, O Christ God. Like the children, with the palms of victory, We cry out to Thee, O Vanquisher of Death, Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord.

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For Parents
From the first day of Holy Week, we must "receive" Jesus Christ, and accept that His will is sovereign over us. The meaning of PALM SUNDAY lies in this welcome given to the Christ who comes to us. The crowd, which acclaimed Jesus, carried palms and branches. These branches were probably olive branches — the most common tree around Jerusalem. Palms and olives both have their symbolic meaning. The palm stands for victory and the olive for peace and anointing. So let us go before Jesus and pay homage to His power and to His tenderness, in offering our victories [which are in fact His victories] both over ourselves and over sin, and our inner peace [which is His peace]. The crowd shouted: "Hosanna! Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!" If I can say these words with complete sincerity and submission, if they mean that the impulse of my whole being goes toward the King, whom from henceforth I acknowledge, then in that instant I have turned away from my sins and have received Jesus Christ. May He be welcomed and blessed, He who comes to me.

Family Activities
Read the Scripture references. Discuss the setting of the Feast and the significance of the people holding the palms. If it is the practice in your parish, attend the Vigil Service on Saturday evening and receive the palms and/or pussywillows. Bring them to Church on Sunday for the Divine Liturgy. Sing or read the Troparion at your meals on Palm Sunday. Bring an extra palm/pussywillow to a shut-in or relative who was unable to attend the services. Arrange the palm/pussywillow behind an icon or cross in your home.

About the Icon: Palm Sunday
Christ — central figure depicted seated upon a donkey. The Disciples — the group of figures on the extreme left. The Jews — the group of figures on the extreme right The Children — the miniature people in front of the donkey, carrying palm boughs. The City of Jerusalem — walled buildings on the right; the temple is symbolized by the dome. Taken from The Icon Book, by Boojamra, Essey, McLuckie & Matusiak.

Bridegroom Service - Holy Monday and Tuesday
The Bridegroom Service - The hymn we sing on the evenings of Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and in some churches, on Holy Wednesday, comes from Scripture. On Palm Sunday, we sing this hymn as our priest carries this icon of Christ during a procession while we kneel. Behold the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching; and unworthy is he whom He shall find heedless (not paying attention). Beware, therefore, O my soul, lest (for fear that) you be given up to death and shut out from the Kingdom. He who is found negligent (forgetful) shall be judged unworthy. Wherefore rouse yourself (wake up) and cry: Holy, Holy, Holy are You, our God, through the protection of the Heavenly Hosts save us. Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church. The Church is the Bride and each of us is a servant. The Bridegroom service warns us to be ready for Christ's Second Coming by preparing our souls – living the Christian life as Jesus taught. He wants all people to join Him in Heaven. When Jesus tells stories about the Wedding Feast, He is talking about Heaven.

For Parents
Each day of Holy Week has its own particular theme. The theme of Monday [celebrated in anticipation on Palm Sunday evening] is that of the sterile fig tree [Matthew 21: 18-20] which yields no fruit and is condemned. Tuesday [celebrated Monday evening] the accent is on the vigilance of the wise virgins [Matthew 25: 1-13] who, unlike their foolish sisters, were ready when the Lord came to them. Wednesday [celebrated Tuesday evening] the focus is on the fallen woman [Matthew 26: 6-13] who repents. Great emphasis is made in the liturgical services to compare the woman, a sinful harlot who is saved, to Judas, a chosen apostle who is lost. The one gives her wealth to Christ and kisses his feet; the other betrays Christ for money with a kiss. The Gospel is read at the Matins services, which are traditionally called the "Bridegroom" services because the general theme of each of these days is the end of the world and the judgment of Christ. It is the common practice to serve the Bridegroom services at night. From The Orthodox Faith, Vol. II: Worship by Fr. Thomas Hopko.

Holy Monday

About the Icon: Holy Monday

Jesus stands in the center pointing to the fig tree that has no fruit on it. An axe lies at His feet. The Young Man on the right represents the Apostles to whom Jesus is speaking. Barren Fig Tree — People plant fig trees for figs and shade. If a fig tree is sick, the owner pays special attention to it so that it will once again yield figs and shade. If the fig tree remains sick, the owner cuts it down and replaces it with a healthy fig tree. God has planted all of us in the orchard of his Kingdom. We give our Owner shade and figs by our works of kindness and love for Him. When we are sick in sin, we stop

growing in kindness and love. God in His loving-kindness tries to help us, save us and have mercy on us. If we refuse to regain our health, we are cut out of the orchard of the Kingdom. The following icon is taken from The Parables of Christ, Byzantine Seminary Press, 1985, p. 14.

The Barren Fig Tree.
"A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down" (Lk. 13:6-9). God the Father, like the owner of the fig tree, was expecting repentance and faith from the Jewish people over the three years of His Son's public ministry. The Son of God, like a kind and caring dresser, asked the Lord to wait while he would try to make the fig tree, the Jews, fruitful again. But His efforts were not crowned with success and the dreadful prophecy was fulfilled in that God did cast off the people who steadfastly resisted Him. The Lord Jesus Christ depicted the fulfillment of this fearful moment when, on His way to Jerusalem, several days prior to His sufferings on the cross, He withered the fruitless fig tree growing at the side of the road (See Matthew 21:19).

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Holy Tuesday

Jesus told this story to His followers: There were ten maidens (that means girls) who were waiting for a bridegroom to come to a wedding. Their job was to walk with him and light the way with oil lamps. They needed to have plenty of oil for their lamps, so they would be ready. Five of them did have plenty of oil, but the other five had not bothered to make sure they had lots of oil. It got so late that all the maidens fell asleep. At midnight, the bridegroom came and everyone called, "He is here! Come to meet him!" The maidens all woke up and started to get their lamps ready. The foolish ones said to the wise ones, "Give us some of your oil." But there was not enough time for the wise maidens to share their oil. The foolish girls rushed out to buy some. But while they were gone, the bridegroom came. He and the wise maidens went to the

wedding party. The door was closed. The foolish maidens returned, and knocked on the door. They said, "Let us in!" But it was too late. The bridegroom said, "I do not know you." After He finished telling this story, Jesus said, "Keep watch and be ready, for you do not know the day or the hour when the Son of Man is coming."

About the Icon: Holy Tuesday
Jesus and the Five Wise Virgins stand on the roof of the house that they have entered for the wedding party. These five women had extra oil to keep their lamps burning until the Bridegroom, Christ, arrived. The Five Foolish Virgins standing outside the house had no extra oil and their lamps went out, just as the groom was arriving. They missed the party. The extra oil is actually the good things that we do and the valuable company that we keep; this is the oil that makes sure that our lamp, our faith, is always lit, as we wait for our Bridegroom.

This icon is taken from The Parables of Christ, Byzantine Seminary Press, 1985, p. 17.