Easter is the most important holiday for the Christian church, and preparation for it beginsin a few weeks. After the end of the Great Lent, all Orthodox people are preparing for the Easter service - a large-scale church celebration, which lasts all night. The way in which the Easter service begins and how it passes is described below.
Rites Before Easter
In many churches, festive services begin a week before Easter. Usually during this period, people are very active in attending church, clergymen are increasingly appearing in festive attires. There is also a tradition according to which, several days before Easter, the doors of the church cease to be closed. Even during the communion of the priests, the doors remain open, and everyone can visit the temple at any convenient time.
Particularly festive is Saturday, when the Lent is coming to an end. It is on this day that people begin to massly follow the church for the consecration of festive meals. The ministers of the temple sprinkle cakes and eggs with holy water, uttering traditional prayers. At the same time, you can put a few candles in the church for the repose.
The Catholic Church has preserved the tradition of baptism of adults and children on Easter. In the Orthodox tradition, the custom of baptizing adults during the celebration of Easter is also being revived, but it is rare. Church officials prefer to conduct this ritual either on Saturday or the day before the commencement of the service.
Usually representatives of the church are very actively preparing for the upcoming holiday, learn the lines from the gospel, receive communion and choose the most festive clothes. Despite all the changes in the lives of modern citizens, Easter continues to enjoy tremendous popularity throughout the whole of Russia.
The time of the beginning of the Easter service
The most ambitious service takes place in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Traditionally, the patriarch( now - Cyril) goes to the parishioners in the best outfit, conducting the entire service from beginning to end. It is broadcast on many TV channels, so you can enjoy the service without leaving home.
Some people have similar worship services in the morning, but almost all Christian churches hold such an important and solemn service before the dawn.
Which stages includes the Easter service:
- Shroud removal, which takes place half an hour before midnight.
- Singing sticherons in the altar. Religious procession around the temple.
- The beginning of light morning is marked by the use of a censer and a special cross with a tri-light.
- Paschal matinee and special bread preparation.
- The service ends with the Easter ringing and the exchange of holiday greetings( "Christ is Risen" - "Truly Risen").
Each step of the procedure is very important and is never ignored. The fact is that all the singing and the processions are directly related to the history of the resurrection of Christ, and the traditions themselves have been formed for centuries, therefore the clergy honor them with special reverence.
Paschal service is held in almost all Orthodox churches. Interestingly, the date of the holiday is determined all the time by the lunisolar calendar and falls on different days. And the date of Easter for Catholics and Orthodox can differ. So, in 2017 this bright day fell on May 1.
The beginning of the Easter service traditionally takes place at midnight, but coming to church costs at least an hour. The fact is that the holiday causes a lot of excitement among the faithful, and therefore by 23:00 around the temples are gathered queues from those wishing to go to the service. In small churches, parishioners are going to be a little, but it's extremely difficult to get to the service in the main shrines of the country( for example, in the Church of the Savior on Blood).Despite this, all believers try to behave themselves calmly, do not push each other.
Sanctifying cakes, painted eggs and other festive food costs in advance, on Saturday morning, since there will be too many people on the Easter service, and this possibility is most likely not presented.
The first stages of the Easter service
The church services for Easter are a very important event for the clergy, so each priest is wearing ceremonial robes this day. Half an hour before midnight, the shroud is brought into the church through the royal doors, and the service is officially opened. The people present at the service light candles, which creates a truly magical atmosphere in the temple.
The initial stages of church worship have the following features:
- throughout the service sounds the bells ringing, announcing the beginning of the holiday;
- the singing of the stichera occurs thrice, and each time the clergy raise their voice to a tone;
- during the singing of the third sticheron clergymen move from the altar to the middle of the temple;
- parishioners also sing along with the servants of the church, after which the trezvon begins, and people go out into the street to perform the procession around the temple.
With the beginning of the procession, all parishioners move around the church to the shrill singing of priests. Usually the church is circumvented three times, after which they stop at the western gate, sanctifying them with a cross. At this stage, the singing subsides, after which the priest begins to consecrate the censer of the parishioners and the church itself, marking the cross on the western gate of the temple.
The beginning of the Easter service is more like a sacrament and has some mystery, while the matins consist of joyful chants and reading the canon. With the beginning of matins, all parishioners return to church, the doors remain open.
At this time it is necessary to read and sing excerpts from the Holy Scriptures. Sounds:
- singing of the canon and sticherons;
- solemn reading of the gospel;
- reading praying prayer.
Service on Easter night by reading the prayer does not end, for after that a sacred bread, which in Greek is called artos, is brought out on a special altar in front of the icon depicting the risen Christ. It is prepared according to a special recipe and is consecrated by the servants of the church. Artos remains on the altar for several days.
Actually, this is the end of the Easter Liturgy, and there is a festive bell ringing. Now believers have the opportunity to approach the cross, pray and congratulate each other on the advent of Easter.
Duration of the celebration and proper preparation for it
How long the Easter service lasts, very often people are interested, who have never been to this festive divine service. The standard duration of such a service is 5 hours.
The long duration is due to the importance of the festive event and the abundance of diverse traditions. As mentioned above, the service starts at 00:00, but usually all believers try to arrive at the church by 23:00, taking up places in the temple and praying before the sacred worship.
The order of the Easter service is rather strict, therefore, when going to church, it is worth choosing comfortable and closed clothes. Women should cover their head with a handkerchief, hiding their hair.
This festive event is coming to an end at about four o'clock in the morning, after which believers can disperse to their homes. It is very important in the Orthodox Church to defend the whole service from beginning to end, because in this way a person confirms his faith.
It is also interesting that, before the start of the service, every believer should properly prepare for the upcoming celebration. Usually such preparation begins 7 weeks before the holiday, because then the Lent begins. During all this time, the believer limits himself to eating.
On Clean Thursday( it falls on the last week of the post) a person needs to clean up in his house. The fast ends on Saturday, just before Easter. On this day it is necessary to prepare festive treats, such as cakes and eggs. All these dishes should be put in a basket and carried to the church, in order to consecrate them.
Before entering the church, you must cross the cross three times. The inscription of the cross is made every time you use certain church phrases( for example, "In the Name of the Father and Son, and the Holy Spirit").
A few more important moments of the church service
The course of the Easter service is known to everyone who has visited it at least once in their lives. It is important not only to fully defend the service, but also to behave properly in the process. About what norms of behavior in the temple should be remembered:
- It is worthwhile to disconnect mobile phones before entering the church so that calls do not distract parishioners and priests from the service.
- In the church it is worthwhile to behave silently, not talking loudly to the rest of the parishioners.
- Throughout the service, a person can repeat prayers and passages from the gospel, constantly crossed.
- Before starting the service, it is worth lighting several candles for the health and peace of your loved ones.
- In the process of service, do not push the people around to get to somewhere.
With the end of the festive prayers Easter does not end. Before leaving the church, a person must cross himself three times in a bow, going home.
Church traditions are easy to remember, especially if you understand them in advance, even before the start of the service. Modern Easter traditions are observed by many believers, and the holiday itself is of great importance for Russian culture. There are no rich and poor in the church, and absolutely everyone can attend the celebratory worship. Usually this celebration makes an indelible impression, leaving light and warmth in the soul of every parishioner.