Paschal Divine Liturgy
In his Easter homily St. John Chrysostom said, “Come you all: enter into the joy of your Lord, You the first and you the last, receive alike your reward; you rich and you poor, dance together; you sober and you weak, celebrate the day; you who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today. The table is richly loaded: enjoy its royal banquet. The calf is a fatted one: let no one go away hungry. All of you enjoy the banquet of faith; all of you receive the riches of his goodness. Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed; let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone from the grave; let no one fear death, for the death of our Savior has set us free: He has destroyed it by enduring it. He has despoiled Hades by going down into its kingdom. He has angered it by allowing it to taste of his flesh. When Isaiah foresaw all this, he cried out: “O Hades, you have been angered by encountering Him in the nether world.” Hades is angered because frustrated, it is angered because it has been mocked, it is angered because it has been destroyed, it is angered because it has been reduced to naught, it is angered because it is now captive. It seized a body, and, lo! it discovered God; it seized earth, and, behold! it encountered heaven; it seized the visible, and was overcome by the invisible. O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen and you are abolished, Christ is risen and the demons are cast down, Christ is risen and the angels rejoice, Christ is risen and life is freed, Christ is risen and the tomb is emptied of the dead: for Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the Leader and Reviver of those who had fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.”
As we see we have much to celebrate. This rejoicing and celebrating of Christ’s victory over sin and death is the purpose of this and every Divine Liturgy. The Divine Liturgy is a re-presentation, a re-playing, or re-praying of the great cosmic drama of God’s great Love and never-ending care for His creation, namely us. The drama of our sin and struggle against temptation and God freely giving us grace, strength, His very Life, Body and Blood for our salvation, and ultimately new life in His Resurrection.
Our Divine Liturgy has all of these (and more) elements. To unlock some of these elements for the churchgoer, this text was designed with several features:
- Colors: the text is color coded, red is for instruction, blue is for the priest’s silent prayers (which I strongly recommend for the people to read), green is for explanations, and black is for the normal text.
- Reflections and Commentary: A simple running commentary of some of the meaning and symbols of the Liturgy. Mainly they are reflections that have unlocked the Liturgy for me. As subsequent editions of this booklet are published, the commentary and reflection will change and grow as well. The main purpose of these reflections is not a historical explanation of the Liturgy as much as helping the faithful be ever more mindful of the Liturgy.
- Changeable parts: the changeable parts (the Tropars, Kondaks etc.) are not included in this text for simplicity sake.
Continue on to the full text here.