Bright Week

The Life-Giving Font

Beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ,

[The Week following Holy and Great Pascha]

We Orthodox Christians greet one another for the next 40 days until Ascension Thursday with the words: "Christ is Risen! and the response to the Paschal greeting is: "Truly He is Risen!"

During the Renewal Week, the Holy Doors leading to the Holy Altar remain open symbolizing the empty tomb of our Lord and God: "He is not here; for He is Risen, as He said, Come, see the place where the Lord lay" (St. Matthew 28:6). The open doors symbolize also the rent veil of the Jewish Temple, which was torn apart at the moment Christ died. "Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn on two from top to bottom" (St. Matt. 27:51). Please note: The temple veil or curtain that separated the Most Holy Place from the rest of the temple was a symbol of the separation between God and man. Christ's death opens the way into the presence of God for all people.

During Bright Week, there is no fasting as we are at feast with Bridegroom. "Ye that have kept the fast, and ye that have not, rejoice today; for the Table is richly laden. Fare ye royally on it. The Calf is a fatted one. Let no one go away hungry. Partake ye all of the cup of faith. Enjoy ye all the riches of His goodness. Let one grieve at his poverty; for the universal kingdom hath been revealed "(Saint John Chrysostom).

During the Paschal period we begin all of our personal prayers at home and in church by chanting the troparion of Pascha: "Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!:

During the Paschal season and extending to Holy Pentecost, we do not pray: "O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth..." for the Comforter comes on Pentecost.

As Orthodox Christians we remember: "A Pascha worthy of honor has dawned for us. Pascha! Let us embrace each other joyously!...This is day of Resurrection. Let us be illumined by the Feast. Let us embrace each other. Let us call 'Brother' even those who hate us, and forgive all by the Resurrection, and so let us cry: Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!" "And unto us He has given Eternal life. Let us worship His Resurrection on the third day!"

 This most joyous week of our Church is celebrated following the Glorious Resurrection of Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which is celebrated each year at Holy Pascha. It ends the following Sunday, the Sunday of Thomas. For Orthodox Christians Bright Week begins of celebration that continues for 50 days until Pentecost.

The whole of creation is renewed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Orthodox Christian hearts respond to the colossal charge of joy, renewal.

Our Lord remained on earth after His Resurrection exactly 40 days. During this time, the holy services of the Orthodox Church return us to the night of Holy Pascha. "Christ is Risen!" The fast, the time of grieving and crying, is over, the whole world is singing and glorifying the Almighty God.

On Friday of Bright Week is the commemoration of the holy icon of the Theotokos "The Life-Giving Font," (Zoodochou Pegis or Ζωοδόχου Πηγής). Funeral services are permitted, but much of it consists of the Paschal hymns.

The Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ -- is the cornerstone of the Orthodox Christian faith. The holy Apostle Paul teaches: "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14). The great joy of the Paschal night -- is a bridge to the Heavenly Kingdom, the beginning of the endless joy of Heaven. How happy were the Saints, such as Saint Seraphim of Sarov, who became worthy of continually having the memory of the Resurrection in his soul, and who met every person coming to him with the words: "My joy! Christ is Risen!"

Holy and Great Pascha is the key event that fulfills the purpose of what is understood as Jesus Christ's earthly ministry - defeating death by dying, and purifying and exalting by voluntary assuming and overcoming human weakness.

With sincere agape in His Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God


+Father George