St. Luke Orthodox Holy Week and Easter Schedule
St. Luke Orthodox ChurchM 501 Sunset Drive
4/9: Palm Sunday: 9 am, Matins; 10 am, Divine Liturgy. Lunch follows in the hall; 6 pm, Bridegroom Mat
4/10: Holy Monday: 6 pm, Bridegroom Matins
4/11: Holy Tuesday: 6 pm, Bridegroom Matins
4/12: Holy Wednesday: 6 pm, Holy Unction
4/13: Holy Thursday, 6 pm, Service of the Twelve Passion Gospels
4/14: Holy Friday: 10 am, Royal Hours; 3:30 pm, Great Vespers of Taking Down from the Cross; 6 pm, Lamentations at the Tomb
4/15: Holy Saturday: 10 am, Vesperal Divine Liturgy10 pm: Paschal Matins and Divine Liturgy [This is the main service of Orthodox Easter.
4/16: Pascha, Noon, Agape Vespers.
By PHILIP LeMASTERS
The bakers at Saint Luke Orthodox Christian Church thank everyone who purchased cakes, pies, tiramisu, and truffles in support of the fundraising effort for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria! Your support raised $650 in donations for the humanitarian relief work of Orthodox Christian Charities. Visit www.iocc.org for more information about how to support their programs around the world.
The sale was timed to provide baked goods for Western Easter on April 9. Orthodox Easter (typically called “Pascha”) this year is on April 16, only one week later. “Pascha” means “Passover,” which reflects that Christ is our Passover from death to life in His resurrection. The difference in the dates between East and West is because the Orthodox Church uses the old Julian calendar for all dates related to Pascha. Easter occurs on the first Sunday following the first full moon following the vernal equinox, the date of which is set as March 21. That day on the Julian calendar corresponds to April 3 on the Gregorian calendar. Matters are further complicated by the Orthodox Church using ancient lunar cycles, not modern astronomy, to predict the first full moon following the equinox.
As the list of services below indicates, Pascha is the “feast of feasts” in the Orthodox Church. Forty days of intensified prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent prepare us for Holy Week, when our attention turns from personal repentance to following the Savior to the horror of the cross and the joy of the empty tomb. We sing, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!” for the forty days of the season of Pascha as the church remains decked out in white. We great one another with “Christ is risen!” and respond with “Indeed, He is risen!” throughout the upcoming season.
Orthodox services for Holy Week and Pascha are filled with the tones of Byzantine chant, clouds of incense, and beautiful processions. They help us engage all our senses as we open our hearts to the deep mystery of the salvation Christ has brought to the world. It is disorienting to become worn out with worship throughout Holy Week, and even more so to welcome the resurrection in the wee hours of the morning. Doing so helps us know spiritually that the brilliant light of Pascha illumines even the pitch black of the grave and the darkest nights of our souls. All are welcome to pray with us at St. Luke in the coming week, as well as at any other time.
Father Philip LeMasters is the pastor of Saint Luke Orthodox Christian Church, 501 Sunset Drive, Abilene, TX. The parish’s website is www.stlukeorthodox.net. He also serves as Professor of Religion at McMurry University. He posts his weekly homilies at https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/easternchristianinsights.