Christ is Risen from the Dead!

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

A Blessed Easter or Pascha to all.

This is the pinnacle of all Christian feasts. Its joy lasts beyond the day which we celebrate on Sunday and continues for 40 days on the Church calendar.

What does Christ’s resurrection from the Dead mean for humankind? The icon for Pascha and the Church’s liturgy explain. First, some background on the icon pictured above by Fr. Alexander Schmemann and then some thoughts taken directly from the liturgy and music of the Church:

THE ICON OF THE DESCENT INTO HADES

The traditional icon used by the Church on the feast of Easter is an icon of Holy Saturday: the descent of Christ into Hades. It is a painting of theology, for no one has ever seen this event. It depicts Christ, radiant in hues of white and blue, standing on the shattered gates of Hades. With arms outstretched He is joining hands with Adam and all the other Old Testament righteous whom He has found there. He leads them from the kingdom of death. By His death He tramples death.

Today Hades cries out groaning:

“I should not have accepted the Man born of Mary.

“He came and destroyed my power.

“He shattered the gates of brass.

“As God, He raised the souls I had held captive.”

Glory to Thy cross and resurrection, O Lord!

(Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Saturday)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Some selected liturgical texts from Holy Friday further show how Christ has conquered Death:

When Your soul was separated from the body, the bonds of both Hades and Death were shattered with greater strength by Your might, O Word of God.

Verily Hades rules the race of mortals, but not forever, for You, O mighty One, when placed in the tomb, demolished the bars of death with Your Life giving Hand, and preached to those, who slept there from the ages of old the true redemption becoming O Savior the First Born of the dead.

When You the Redeemer of all, were placed in a new tomb for us all, Hades, the respecter of none, crouhed when he saw You. The bars were broken, the gates were shattered, the graves were opened, and the dead arose. Then Adam, gratefully rejoicing, cried out to You: ‘Glory to Your Condescension, O Merciful God.’

When You, O Christ, of Your own will, submitted bodily to be closed in the tomb, being by nature of the Godhead, remaining indescribable and limitless, You closed down the chambers of death, and emptied the palaces of Hades. Then You rendered this Sabbath worthy of blessing and glory, and of Your own splendor.

When You, the Immortal Life, descended to Death, You struck Hades dead with the lightning of the Godhead; and when You raised up the dead from the abyss, all the powers of Heaven cried aloud; ‘O Life Giver Christ, our God, glory to You!’

You descended to the depths of the earth to fill all things with Your glory; for my person that is in Adam was not hidden for You; and being buried, You renewed me, from corruption, O Lover of mankind.

Some selected liturgical texts from the Canon of Pascha (sung at the Midnight celebration of Pascha) show the application of Christ’s conquest of Death for us:

This is the day of Resurrection, all People, let us be enlightened by it. *The Passover is the Lord’s Passover, * Since Christ, our God, has brought from death to life * and from earth to heaven. * Therefore, we sing the hymn of victory:

Christ is Risen from the Dead!

Today all things are filled with light * earth and heaven and the world beneath. * Then let all creation celebrate * the resurrection of Christ. * In Him is the firm foundation of all things.

Christ is risen from the dead!

I was buried yesterday with You, O Christ; * but today I rise, * resurrected with You. * Yesterday I crucified myself with You, O Savior. * Now glorify me with You * in Your kingdom.

Christ is risen from the dead!

Come, let us partake of a new drink, * not miraculously produced from the barren rock, * but from the Fountain of Immortality, * springing up from the tomb of Christ. * In Him is our firm strength.

Christ is risen from the dead!

Christ had appeared as a man * when He was born of the Virgin. * As a mortal, He was called “Lamb”. * Being undefiled and without blemish, * He is our Passover; * and as true God, * He is proclaimed perfect.

Christ is risen from the dead!

Christ, our blessed crown, was sacrificed of His own will * like a Yearling lamb for all of us, * and so became our cleansing Pasch. * From His tomb He shines on us again * as the splendid Sun of Righteousness.

Christ is risen from the dead!

When those bound by chains in the realm of Death * saw Your boundless mercy, 0 Christ, * they hastened to the light with joy, * praising the Eternal Pasch.

Christ is risen from the dead!

Bearing torches: let us meet the bridegroom, Christ, * as He comes forth from His tomb; * and let us greet, with joyful song,* the saving Pasch of God.

Christ is risen from the dead!

O my Savior, being God, * willingly You offered Yourself. * As a never-consumed, yet living, victim, * You gave Yourself to the Father. * You arose from the tomb, * resurrecting Adam, the father of all.

Christ is risen from the dead!

Pious women ran in tears to You, O Christ, * bringing myrrh to You as dead; * but instead, they adored You in joy as the living God * and announced Your mystical Passover * to Your Disciples.

Christ is risen from the dead!

We celebrate the victory over Death, * the destruction of the deep abyss, * and the birth of a new eternal life. * With joy, we praise the Author of all things, * the only Blessed One, God of our fathers, * for He is worthy of all praise.

Christ is risen from the dead!

This most splendid and saving night * is sacred and all-worthy of solemnity. * It heralds the bright day of resurrection * on which the Eternal Light, in the flesh, * has shown forth from the tomb to all.

Christ is risen from the dead!

The hymn sung throughout the season of Pascha sums up its meaning for Christians:

Christ is risen from the dead! By death He conquered Death, and to those in the graves He granted life.

Music from the Pascha liturgy:

The following audio selections are in mp3 format, sung by the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter the Apostle. Included are the Odes from the Canon of Pascha (some of which were quoted above):

The Paschal Troparion

Troparion Tone 1 Troparion Tone 6 Sticheron Tone 6

Ode 1 Ode 3 Ode 4 Ode 5 Ode 6 Ode 7 Ode 8 Ode 9

The Paschal Stichera The Women With Mary Before the Dawn

You, O King and Lord Kontakion Tone 8 The Praises

Particularly recommended is this recording of the entire service:

Orthros (Matins) Service of Pascha (requires Real Player) sung by Eikona from the Greek Archdiocese webpage (the Canon of this service is attributed to St. John of Damascus)

Other Pascha resources:

The Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom

The message of Pascha in 250 languages

3 Responses to Christ is Risen from the Dead!

  1. […] Christ is Risen From the Dead! Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)An award, some finishes, some chatting! […]

  2. WedgeBob says:

    Well, even though the translation might be different, but from my days of being an altar boy, the antiphon went like “Christ is Risen from the dead! By Death he conquered death, and in the tombs he restored all life!” I think it went something like that. It’s been quite some time since I’ve served in the Byzantine Rite, having had all my sacraments in the Roman Catholic church, but I think that might be right.

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