On April 19 of this year 2020 all Orthodox Christians celebrated the greatest holy day, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Pascha.
Celebration at St. George Church this year was different than usual. Because of the restrictions imposed during the coronavirus outbreak, all our services had to be performed without our congregation present. Only an altar server and two choir singers attended the church. In addition, our schedule for Paschal celebration was changed: we began our services at 8 am and not at midnight, as it is customary for the Russian Church. This was also done in consideration of the imposed restrictions (including a curfew in New Jersey where the Rector resides).
Before the services our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov venerated the Shroud and transferred it to the altar. Then assisted by the altar server Fr. Igor began Resurrection Matins inside the temple and proclaimed the Easter greeting, “Christ is risen”. Faithful responded and sung Paschal troparion.
After the Matins the Rector served the Divine Liturgy. The Gospel lesson on Pascha is traditionally read in several languages. The faithful had an opportunity to listen the verses of the reading in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Church Slavonic, English, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Romanian, Belorussian, Polish and Spanish. Following the Gospel reading Fr. Igor proclaimed Catechetical Sermon of St. John Chrysostom on Pascha.
Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector greeted everyone present on the occasion of the greatest Christian holy day, wished them to be blessed by the Risen Christ. He preached a short sermon stressing that despite all the difficulties of the present time, celebration of the Resurrection took place and Holy Pascha occurred. This Pascha was very different, as well as this Lent and Holy Week. This time we could experience such loneliness, as our Lord had to feel when He went for His Holy Passions. We resembled the Apostles and Myrrh-Bearing Women being afar from Christ these days, being scattered, feared and hiding. And these days the Risen Christ is coming to us through the shut doors. But He is coming and He was truly risen. Pascha occurred, so we have to be joyful and not be troubled. We have to believe that the Lord will turn all our misfortunes into a good outcome.
Following the services the Rector blessed Easter food.
ХРИСТОС ВОСКРЕСЕ! CHRIST IS RISEN!