Diakainisimos or Bright Week: Week Following Pascha

April 14, 2015

My beloved spiritual children in Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!

Δόξα τή Αγία και ομοουσώ και ζωοποιώ και αδιαι-ρέτω Τριάδι, πάντοτε, νύν και αεί, και εις τούς αιώνας τών αιώνων. Αμήν.

Glory to the Holy and consubstantial and Life-Giving and Undivided Trinity, always, now and ever, and to the Ages of Ages. Amen.

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Χριστός Ανέστη εκ νεκρών, θανάτω θάνατον πατή-σας, και τοις εν τοις μνήμασι, ζωήν χαρισάμενος.

Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling upon death, and bestowed Life to those in the tombs.

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DIAKAINISIMOS (Διακαινήσιμος έβδομάδα)-Bright Week or Renewal Week

Bright Week is the first week following the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which is celebrated each year at Pascha. It ends the following Sunday, the Sunday of Saint Thomas. For Orthodox Christians Bright Week begins a period of celebration that continues for 50 days until Pentecost.

This celebration includes the practice of the faithful joyously greeting each other with the salutation of "Christ is risen,", followed by the response "truly He is risen" or "indeed He is risen," as the whole of creation is renewed by Our Lord and Savior. The services of Bright Week are done with the Royal Doors fully open. This unblocked view of the altar symbolizes the open door of Christ's empty tomb as well as the rent veil of the Jewish Temple, which was torn apart at the moment Christ dies.

There is no fasting at all during Bright week. The entire week is considered to be one continuous day and the main reason why fasting is completely prohibited to all Orthodox during the week.

FUNERAL SERVICES

If it is necessary to conduct a funeral during Bright Week, this service follows the format for Paschal Orthros (Matins), with only a few funeral hymns being chanted. It is held that those Orthodox Christians who die in penitence during this time are released from the bonds of their sins and are accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Every Bright Week we celebrate as much as we can! Each day we make or we buy food that we have been fasting from, we enjoy desserts, and have fun together as a family. In past years Orthodox Christian have had outings with friends and enjoyed feasting together at one another's homes.

After the long journey of Great and Holy Lent and Great and Holy Week a weeklong celebration is needed. This really helps to emphasize for all the children the joy of the Risen Christ. It is important that they, as Christian children, experience the true joys in this life which are a foretaste of the heavenly joys that awaits those who believe in the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

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HOLY GOSPEL READ ON THE AGAPE VESPERS

The reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint John (Chapter 20: 19-25):

When it was late that same day, the first of the week, though the doors where the disciples gathered had been closed for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them, "Peace be unto you." And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples therefore rejoiced at the sight of the Lord. He therefore said to them again, "Peace be to you! As the Father has sent me, I also send you." When He had said this, He breathed upon them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit; Whose sins you shall forgive, shall be forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, shall be retained. Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

GLORY TO THEE O GOD, GLORY TO THEE!

HYMNS FROM PASCHA SUNDAY VESPERS:

Christ our Savior blotted out the manuscripts that was against us, and nailed it to His Cross, and annulled the power of Death. We worship His Resurrection on the third day.

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Let us with the Archangels, praise the Resurrection of Christ, for He is the Redeemer and Savior of our souls, and with fearful glory and mighty power, He comes again to Judge the world which He fashioned.

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The Angel proclaimed Thee, the crucified and buried Master, to the women, saying: Come, see where the Lord lay; for He, as Almighty, is risen, as He said. Therefore Thee we worship, O Thou Who alone art immortal. O Christ the Life-Giver, have mercy upon us.

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By Thy Cross Thou didst annul the curse of the Tree; by Thy grave Thou didst slay the might of Death; by Thy Rising Thou didst enlightened mankind. Therefore we cry to Thee O Christ, our God and Benefactor, glory to Thee.

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CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!

In our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

+Father George

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