Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pascha at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God

The most awaited day of the year finally arrived. During the day, the weather was nice. Towards the evening, the winds picked up however, it was still nice. Parishioners began arriving well before 6pm. Car after car brought people and Easter baskets. As we arrived inside, the aroma of ham, klobasky, hrudky, eggs, beets with horseradish and yes, even paskas, was very apparent, especially since we were just finishing Lent – a time of fasting to prepare ourselves for this “day of days”. As parishioners and guests arrived, they placed their baskets on the side pews to leave the steps to the altar unobstructed. For those of you who are familiar with our Easter services, you know how beautiful they are. At the altar, Bishop John was the main celebrant and Fr. Andrew Kormanik and Fr. Ron Comeau concelebrated. Fr. Fetsco was also present. Members of the Women’s Auxiliary prepared the altar and the “tomb” for the plascenica. Everything looked beautiful for the arrival of the Risen Christ. Bishop John and the priests changed their vestments from red to “bright” (white) mid way through the service. The ladies also changed altar cloths to white. When Bishop John and the clergy along with the parishioners processed outside, the winter seemed to return. The winds howled and the temperature dropped. However, we braved the weather to sing “Christos Voskrese”, and following Bishop John’s knock on the closed doors to the church, we re-entered the church and continued with the service.

In his homily, Bishop John spoke to us of this most joyous time of our liturgical year and reminded us to continue to live our lives with the Risen Lord as our guide.

The time finally came when everyone brought their baskets to the steps in front of the altar to have our food blessed. Baskets were uncovered, candles lit and Bishop John began the blessing of the food. When he was all done, Bishop John wished everyone a Blessed Easter on behalf of himself, and on behalf of the pastor, Fr. Andrew, and also Fr. John and Fr. Ron. Following the blessing, everyone hurried home to share the Easter meal with families and friends.

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! Christos Voskrese! Voistinu Voskrese!

By Mary Siroky - Snell

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Pascha in Windsor

"Christ is Risen, and you, O Death, are annihilated! Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down! Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is Risen, and life is liberated! Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ having risen from the dead,is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and powernow and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen." Paschal sermon of St. John Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407), Patriarch of Constantinople.

Pascha is the climax of our church liturgical year, most important festival of our faith. Every other religious festival on their calendars, including Chrismas, is secondary in importance to the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is also reflected in rich Paschal customs of our church. Everything else shines only in the light of the Resurrection. Pascha (Easter) is the primary act that fulfills the purpose of Christ's ministry on earth—to defeat death by dying and to purify and exalt humanity by voluntarily assuming and overcoming human frailty. This mystery is summarized by the troparion, sung repeatedly during Paschal season: "Christ is risen from the dead! By death he trampled death and to those in the tombs he granted life." Many of our faithful from Windsor gathered in ther Church of St. Michael on Sunday morning, April 12th to celebrate our Risen Lord! To all of them, as well as to those, who are interested and might join the community, as well as to all visitors of our web page is sent the greeting of Fr. Martin: Christos Voskrese!

Photos by: Fr. Martin and Pani Anka Vavrak

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday in Windsor

Traditional procession with the epitaphios (Plashchanitsa) around the church with singing the ancient troparion "The Noble Jospeh" concluded the solemn Vespers on Good Friday, and thus symbolicaly represented the funeral of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, whose body depicted on the epitaphios was laid in the symbolic tomb in the middle of our church in Windsor. Father Martin Vavrak, pastor of the church, together with his faithful parishioners gathered in the church and reflected also about their own death and the faith in Our Lord, who promised resurrection to all of us. Great encouragement for everyone was the presence of several children and youth, willing to pray to our Lord.

Photos by: Fr. Martin and Pani Anka Vavrak

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Paschal celebrations around the Eparchy

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. In order to allow you to join our communities in prayer for this greatest feast of the liturgical year, here is the list of liturgical celebrations in various our parishes. We are looking forward to pray and celebrate our saving Lord with you, and to sing together also the troparion of the feast, that reveals this great mystery: "Christ is risen from the dead! By death He conquered death, and to those in the graves He granted Life."
Schedule of liturgical celebrations in some of our parishes:

Oshawa, ON - Protection of the Mother of God,
464 Ritson Road S., Oshawa, ON L1H 5J9

Saturday 4 PM Divine liturgy of St. Basil the Great with Vespers and Olivia Paty's Chrismation
Sunday 7 AM Resurrection Matins with Divine Liturgy followed by Pascha Basket Feast in the parish hall.

Windsor, ON - Saint Michael,
2120 Byng Road, Windsor, ON N8W 3E2

Saturday 4 PM Divine liturgy of St. Basil the Great with Vespers
Sunday 9 AM Paschal matins followed by the Divine liturgy of St. John the Chrysostom and blessing of Paschal baskets
Monday 10 AM Divine liturgy
Tuesday 10 AM Divine liturgy