Sourse: Soul Food

Chrystos Voskres!/Christ Is Risen!  On Easter Sunday (Pascha) we repeatedly sing this jubilant refrain in church, proclaiming the Good News of Christ’s Resurrection and triumph over death. The joyous mood permeates Bright Week (the week following Pascha) and continues through the entire 40 days of the Paschal season.

Church services during Bright Week reflect the joy of the Risen Christ in a distinctive way. All the doors of the iconastas are left open symbolizing Jesus’ open and empty tomb. If any funerals take place, the Paschal Canon replaces the usual funeral text and “Chrystos Voskres” (Christ Has Risen) replaces Vichnaya Pamiat’ (Memory Eternal).

On Bright Monday, after Divine Liturgy, the clergy lead the faithful around the church in procession (Khrestnyj Khod), stopping at its four sides to proclaim the Resurrection Gospel, blessing the faithful with Holy Water, as a reminder of the Lord’s command to “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”  (Matthew 28:18-20). On this day, young people playfully douse each other with water. This tradition, which likely originated in pre-Christian times as a rite of purification, is now symbolic of the new life that Jesus’ Resurrection and baptism bestow.

On Bright Tuesday, the faithful in parts of Ukraine observe the custom of sharing a celebratory picnic of blessed Paschal food at the graves of their loved ones, remembering them with joy in the knowledge that all who live the life of Christ will be reunited in the eternal life made possible through Christ’s Resurrection.

As Christians we’re encouraged to live joyfully not only in the Paschal season but through the year, bringing joy into our personal, professional and social relationships. Our joy in living the life of Christ, can awaken in others a desire to seek the same for themselves. In this way, we become true disciples of Christ.