My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
ORTHODOX CELEBRATION OF THE APODOSIS OF
On Wednesday, June 9th, our Holy Orthodox Christian Church celebrates the feast of the Apodosis (Leave-taking or "after-feast") of the All-Holy Pascha 39 days later. Our Holy Orthodox Tradition calls us to observe this holy day as though we celebrating Pascha itself. According to Divine establishment of Old Testament holidays, all of our great holy days have a "leave-taking" or "after-feast," that is the chanting of the holy day’s prayers are not only chanted on the feast day itself, but over the next several days, and on the final day– the "APODOSIS"– the services of the holy day almost in their entirety. The continuation of the celebration of the All-Holy Pascha until the feast of the Ανάληψις τού Κυρίου ημών Ιησού Χριστού (The Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ) signifies that Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, over the course OF 40 DAYS of His Holy Resurrection APPEARED TO HIS HOLY APOSTLES.
On Wednesday of this week, the Paschal Celebration comes to an end. It is natural for Orthodox Christians to feel a degree of sadness: the rejoicing ends, the abundance of food is replaced by a regular diet, in other words, weekday life begins and those who adore Pascha are grieved. However, our divine feast days are not like that they bring us from one glory to another–the holy day is glorious, but even more glorious is the SPIRITUAL FRUIT THAT THE HOLY DAY CREATES IN THE SOULS AND HEARTS OF THE FAITHFUL.
Our Holy Mother Church has taught us to express the glory of the fruit of the All-Holy Pascha thus: "Taught by Christ the new and pure way of life, let us all strive to preserved to the end, that we may receive the coming of the Holy Spirit." (1st Troparion, 9th hymn on the Fourth Sunday of Pascha).
Jesus speaking to His disciples says, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage THAT I GO AWAY; FOR IF I DO NOT GO AWAY, THE Helper will not come to you." (St. John 16:7).
Our prayer to God the Holy Spirit: O heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art in all places
and fillest all things; Treasury of good things and Giver of Life: Come and dwell in us and cleanse us from
every stain, and save ou souls, O Gracious Lord.
The celebration of the Great Holy Feasts of the Church year are extended for a number of days, depending upon the particular holy Feast. Each day of the Leave-taking or Afterfeast will have particular hymns assigned to it, continuing the theme of the feast being observed. Most of these Great Feast Days also have a day or more of preparation called a FOREFEAST (those Feast Days that are on the moveable Paschal Cycle do not have Forefeasts).
The last day of an Afterfeast is called THE APODOSIS (Gk. for "leave-taking"), literally, "giving-back") of the Feast. On the Apodosis, most of the hymns that are chanted on the first day of the Feast are repeated. On the Apodosis of holy Feasts of the Theotokos, the Epistle and Gospel readings from the day of the Feast are repeated again at the Divine Liturgy.
The Pashal Apodosis is observed on Wednesday, a day of fasting from meat, dairy, fish, oil, and wine. However, on the celebration of the Apodosis, the Church permits the consumption of fish as well.
In our Holy Tradition, every Lord’s Day (”Hemera Kyriou’) is the celebration of the ‘little Pascha.’ Every Lord’s Day we rejoice as we receive the Holy Eucharist, the Very Body, and Blood of Our Risen Savior Jesus Christ and we become one with Him and with one another.
On Thursday we celebrate the Great Feast of the Holy Ascension of Christ into Heaven. The Lord Jesus passed 40 days on earth AFTER HIS RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD, APPEARING CONTINUOUSLY IN VARIOUS PLACES TO HIS DISCIPLES, WITH WHOM HE ALSO SPOKE, ATE, AND DRANK THEREFORE DEMONSTRATING His Resurrection. On this Thursday, THE FORTIETH DAY AFTER PASCHA, He appeared again in Jerusalem.
Now you can all understand clearly why we chant the hymn of the Resurrection "Christ is Risen." ("Χριστός Ανέστη") for 39 days, the day of the leave-taking of Pascha and NOT only one week following the celebration of the All-Holy Pascha. Our Holy Orthodox Tradition must be respected and adhered to by all.
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Glorious and Life-Giving Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George