A week passed since we Christian celebrated Resurrection of Christ (Pascha). Each year on first Sunday after Easter in orthodox Church is celebrated the so called Thomas Sunday. So why is it called Thomas Sunday and why it is the day of disbelievers? The root of this ancient Christian feast comes after commemoration of Christ desciple St. Thomas who disbelieved the testimony of ( 10 apostles ) and the Virgin Mary that Jesus Christ is Risen from the Death.
The disbelieve of Thomas was logical and human cause even though Thomas was with the Apostleswith Christ for 3 years, saw all Jesus miracles and shared the Secret Supper (Last Supper), and even knew in advance (heard by Jesus on Last supper) that Jesus will betrayed mocked, hanged on the Cross and Rise from the death on the third day, he disbelieved.
Thomas Sunday (Sundy of Thomas) is "the day of Disbelievers", because all are disbelievers in moments of their life not only those who believe God but all the humanity! Even the most faithful Christian, be it a deacon, monk or priest has difficult moments in life where God's existence or providence for one's faith is seriously questioned. The fallen nature of man is such that the initial belief in God given to man in Eden (Paradise garden) is broken, and only in Jesus's name through the Gift of Faith given by the Holy Spirit, believe in God is restored.
Thomas very much like unto everyone of us doubted the rumors of Christ resurrection and said he would only believe in Resurrected Christ only if he sees his hands nails print and put his fingers into Christ’s wounds to test he is not seeing a Ghost but Christ is alive in a body after his death.
Here is the Gospel reading re-telling the story in short: “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” (John 20:19)
“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24-26)
And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)
We Christians should be joyful for have not seen Christ in Flesh but have believed for we are blessed for his believe without seeing.
By same faith in God without seeing him even in old times the Jews were led by the Lord God in the desert have won wars by their believing without seeing God, prophets has prophecised, Simeon (The God receiver) hold The Savior (Christ) in his hands, by faith David won the battle with Goliath, by faith we understand the universe was formed at God’s command, by faith we know that the visible came out of the invisible.
o Kyrios mou kai o Theos mou (Greek) – My Lord and my God (Jn. 20:28) this declaration of faith clearly shows an unexpressable excitement of Thomas and his unexpectency to see Christ resurrected. Here it is interesting that here the son of God Jesus Christ is called by Thomas exactly how Jewish used to call God Yahweh (One and Only God) in the Old testament.
Today the evangical story is very accurate for our generation – a generation of disbelievers, even we who say we believe often doesn’t justify our believe with our deeds, we say we believe but we don’t keep God’s commandment “to love God and our neigbor like ourselves.” Often only difference between believers and disbelievers is on Sunday we believers visit Church and “play Christians”, but even but in daily life our deeds are same like unbelievers. Often many are disbelievers not because they reject God but because they never heard the Gospel or misheard it, also we disbelieve because we’re very much like st. Thomas, we often say “I will believe in God if I see him”, but even Thomas who saw God before the Crucifix and knew him disbelieved – a proof that often seing once could still leave space for doubt. The glorious event of Christ showing himself Alive to Thomas was made by Christ to establish the Church and strengthen faith of first Christians in resurrection. Nowadays there are plenty of people who question God’s existence saying that they will believe if they see but they’re not given to see the resurrected Christ because God knows that even if we see the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected we would try to rationally explain the phenomenon with holograms, modern technology or science.
Thomas Sunday is not only a day of Thomas disbelieve it is a day of disbelieve of all humanity. , St. Thomas should be an example even to all of us Christian disbelievers and non-believers that even if we disbelieve and doubt and strive to see God, He is powerful to come and appear Resurrected in His Glory to our souls. Let us therefore have the Wisdom of the Holy Apostles and say together with them “Lord, Increase our faith.” Luke 17:5
For one more year its the feast of feasts. Demons Fall, Angels sing in Heaven, People rejoice because Christ is Risen ! This is a day which God created for us to rejoice! Let nobody be sorrowful for the kingdom of Heaven is open for everyone! Let nobody cry for his sins because forgiveness has risen from the grave of the Savior ! Let nobody be afraid from Death cause Christ – Savior's death has released us from death!
"Peace be on you" – said Christ to his followers, conforting and strengthening their faith in the Resurrection. The savior appears to every Christian in the same way to hear his voice saying "Rejoice!" Let we keep in our souls the graceful joy of Easter and by the same grace and faith always triumpth over sorrowful times and hardships of earthly life.
In the spiritual fight we are not alone. Always until the end of ages the Resurrected Savior Jesus is with us according to his promise "I'm with you until the end of ages" (Mathew 28:20)
Christ is Risen Troparion in many languages (part 1)
Christ is Risen Troparion in many languages (part 2 )
"I am the resurrection and the Life whoever believes in me even he dies he will live" (John 11:25) This is the eternal life given to us all Christians let us not be ashamed and loudly great all with
It is the first week after Orthodox Christian Easter. This year 2012, the Orthodox Christians Easter date was on fifteen of April. We've not just had a feast of an Eastern, but we actually celebrated the greatest day in all human history that happened 2012 years ago – The Glories Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the Death in the Third day!
Some Roman Catholic Christians, might be wondering, why the Orthodox Church is celebrating one week after Jewish Pascha, so in short I will explain in the reason.We orthodox christians do not celebrate with Roman Catholics Easter because Roman Catholics use the gregorian calendar to calculate and decided the day in which the Eastern celebrations should occur, where we the Orthodox Christians use still the old moon calendar (which the jews used too), when Jesus was crucified. The gregorian calendar is very precise from a scientific point of view, however from a Church stand point it is completely wrong because, plainly taking the gregorian calendar math model doesn't take in consideration, that the jews are still celebrating their pascha following the old moon calendar.
The consequence is this year Roman Catholics, celebrated with Jewish. This from our Orthodox Christian point of view is incorrect, because Christ's Cross suffering is the pascha for us christians. We Christians consider that the old God ordained jewish pascha was a prophecy feast, simply to remind jewish people before Christ's coming that Messiah (Christ) will come to say his people. As Jewish rejected their true Messiah and Crucified him on the Cross, they have rejected to accept Christ as being the true pascha lamb slained for our sins.
Hence the Orthodox Christian Church teaches even to this day, that it is not righteous to celebrate Christ's Glorious Resurrection with Jewish Pascha. Prohibition to celebrate Easter and Jewish Pascha on the same day is an Orthodox Church rule, since the early church days. The Holy Fathers in their Church councils Council of Nicaea etc. has established as unchangable Church rule that, Jesus's Resurrection day feath, should never-ever coincide with the Jewish Pascha Celebrations.
The reasons the Church fathers ordered the Church Easter day to be always 1 week after Jewish Pascha is our saviour Jesus Christ ate pascha with his desciples as we can read in the 4 gospels in Holy Bible. After Jesus ate pascha, he was caught mocked, tortured and crucified (killed on a cross shaped trees).
Jesus is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
The Slavonic Paschal Greeting, translated words, we use across the Slavonic dome: ( Bulgaria / Russia / Ukraine, Serbia) is:
Христос Воскресе ! Воистину Воскресе!
According to our Church Tradition, Christians should great each other with the Paschal greeting Hristos Voskrese during the whole "bright week" instead of the usual Hi / Hello phrase.
The current Bulgarian version of Христос Възкресе ! Воистину Воскресе! is
Христос Възкръсна! Наистина Възкръсна!
One great miracle that testifies about the Christ's resurrection each and every year happens on each Orthodox Christian Eastern in Jerusalem in the Temple of Holy Sepulchre (where the saviour's grave cave, before the resurrection used to be). Last year, I've written to great all Christians for the Resurrection with the joyful Paschal Greeting Jesus is Risen and the Miracle of the Holy Fire Pitily, the number of Roman Catholics who heard or know about this amazing miracle are mostly within the clergy. Its very rare a layman Christian in Roman Catholic realm heard of the miracle. Once again as a closure I want to great everyone with the joyful paschal greeting in the manners of Russians which say it three times during the paschal period.
Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе ! Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе ! Христос Воскресе! Воистину Воскресе !
On 2 of June this year 2011, our Bulgarian Orthodox Church has marked one more bright feast (one of the 12 chief (God’s) feasts).
The Spiritual Joy is great as our Saviour has Ascended to Heaven 40 days after his Glorious Resurrection in front of the amazed desciples, and crowd of people who were with them.
An Angel has also told the people testifing our Lord’s ascension that the Second Coming of our saviour will take place in the same manner as his Ascension.
Here is some passages from the Gospel of Luke 24:50-53
50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.
51 hile he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
It’s a tradition in some Orthodox Churches that the Paschal Greeting (Christ is Risen / Hristos Voskrese / Hristos Anesti etc.) is substituted with the greeting: Christ has ascended by the person greeting, while the respondant confirms answering with Truly he has ascended
This Ascension greeting is not that deeply routed among Christians as the Pashcal greeting, though it’s very truthful and beautiful, to use it instead of the standard daily Hi greeting 😉
The whole following week after Ascension’s feast has been arranged by the Church to be a feast week commemorating our Lord Christ’s glorious Ascension (in his glorified body) to Heaven and sit in the right hand of God.
There is a local village hear in Bulgaria near a village called Spasovo – Saviour’s which has a Church called The Ascension of Christ
In this small village there is a spring which does start flowing only on the date of the Ascension (celebrated on a different date every single year)!!! That’s amazing God miracle given to strengthen our faith as a confirmation that the Ascension of God’s Son and our saviour Christ is a real event that happened!
There is a false belief seriously accepted in many non-devoted Orthodox Christians who does not know well the Orthodox Christian faith, that on the date of The Ascension the so called Spasov Den (in Bulgarian) – Day of the Saviour , the dead who are in heaven and hell are allowed to get out of Heaven or Hell (for a temporary break) and be a bit closer to the living. Many people who believe this insanity instead of visiting a Church and being joyful for the Ascension of Our saviour do go to the city graves and spends few hours, crying or remembering the dead … This kind of believe is firmly non-orthodox and is taken from ancient paganism beliefs.
With all this said I find it important to say few words on why the Lord Jesus Christ has ascended?
The answer to this question gives Christ himself, as he says in the Gospel of John – Chapter 16
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth;
It is expedient for you that I go away:
for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you;
but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Here is a part of the Troparion for Ascension that is being sing in the Church:
When You fulfilled the dispensation for our sake,
and united earth to heaven:
You have Ascended in Glory, oh Christ our God
not being parted from those who love You,
but remaining with them and crying:
I am with you, and no one will be against you!
Today in the Orthodox Church, we commemorate the great miracle of our saviour Christ appearing to st. Apostle Thomas, who failed to believe to the rest of the holy apostles that they have seen our saviour alive.
Thomas wanted said that he won’t belief if he doesn’t touch and see the incorruptable risen body of our saviour Jesus.
Our Lord by his great mercy has appeared once again to the pupils dinnering with them. Thomas was with the teachers and the door was locked (as the fear of persecution for Christ’s testimonial was among the aposltes). Suddenly our Saviour entered the room where all the pupils were gathered through the locked door (a Glorious miracle inconceivable for our minds).
As the Lord knew about Thomas weak belief and his disbelief in his prophecised Resurrection in the third day, when Christ entered he has addressed Thomas and told him to come forth and see and touch his wounds and see that a spirit has no bones and flesh, (obviously Thomas erroneously thought that the resurrection from the death would be in spirit and no physical body will be present (this kind of belief today is also wide-spread inside many heretical christian groups)). The Lord continued on and told Thomas, “Thomas you have seen and believed, now blessed is those who haven’t seen me and believed”!
Here is part of the daily troparion:
Touch my rib with a hand, Thomas, speaks Christ, and come and touch (feel) the scars from the nails.
With faith do test it, and be a believer and not a non-believer. Thomas has touched with a finger to the Master and loudly shouted:
"You are my Lord and my God, most merciful Glory to you!"
This Sunday is also the day marking the end of the bright week of the Resurrection. Let we all the Orthodox Christians be a believers as Thomas and be blessed in accordance to our saviour’s word, as we haven’t seen the Lord’s Risen glorified body as Thomas and the rest of the holy apostles did.
Below’s text is a Paschal greeting of the Byzantium Emperor Thedodore Ducas Lascaris, the text is really beautiful, I’ve translated it from Bulgarian translation which was translated from Greek, the general idea of the text is clearly observable. I’m really sorry if the text has translation mistakes. Have an enjoyable reading!
“Christ is risen from the death”, that are the words of the Angel; this saw the women; this testifies Pilatus stamps, this is what the empty grave of the Saviour proclaims; this is what testifies for the moved tomb (about 2 tons) stone; the guardians lay bare by their own speech; the grave guards acknowledges and takes the money; the High Priests [Anna and Caiphas] show off they’re guilty; Pilatus is feeling guilt; the centurion on the curtain tear down does believe; the sun has prooved the Godly essence of Christ darkening itself during the crucifix; the resurrected bodies of the many dead saints does testified about the truth; the whole nature confirmed the Resurrection, which has happened in the end of the Saturday, in the beginning of the [first day of the week].
Rejoice oh Man: Christ has Risen from the dead; the testimonial is truthful; Rejoice for you have been freed; hell is bound up, Rejoice!; It’s the day of the Resurrection, rise up your voice; The master of our salvation has risen up from the dead; rejoice oh heaven and earth, see through the resurrection a harmony between holy Angels and humans has been established; rejoice oh you plants; the execution of Christ has been on a Cross, but through the Cross the Resurrection has accomplished; Adam has been risen up again; Eva has been released from the chains; Christ has preceeded over the prophets; The Kings Solomon and David are salute with victorious songs!
Rejoice oh man the darkness has lessen [in the world] the light has come; the shadow has fade away quickly; grace come in; the spring of life has rised. Does somebody needs to hear about God? Doesn’t everybody know, that he rose up from the dead? Why Pilatus is riotous; Chaiphas thinks where to have the assembly of the Jewish elders. Rejoice oh also you robber, and enter in paradise, when everyone is gathered there; here is the firy sword has turned it’s back; the grandparent has been released; rejoice oh you children of him. From Eva has the has the falling come, from the immaculate Theotokos – the rising up; through disobey death has come, through humility of the Son of God has the resurrection was given as a gift. Through a woman the fall up come, and through a woman is the resurrection preached.
Christ is Risen from the death!, let the clouds flow the rain of joice, let the plants draw a fresh leaves and the earth does bring forth fruits.
The creator of all has Risen from death and you rejoice; virtuous branches bring forth your fruits. Who is not joious today; who is not feeling sweet joy, who is not rejoicing?
Risen up from the death, Christ destroyed kingdom of hell, He is Risen and destroyed the devil; he has risen and erased sin; he has Risen and decreased the idol-mania; He has risen and chased away dilusions; he has risen and rescued Adam; he has Risen and made the engles motionless for evil; He has risen and rescued Man; He has risen and joined the heaven ones with the earth ones, ruling himself as a King of the whole world and most-supreme ruler of all; angels and man, elements, elemental force something unseen so far by the demons.
Therefore rejoice with unspeakable joy; rejoice oh you who hear that Christ is Risen from the death; who does not obey to the first and the last in accordance with the God driven voice (Revel. 22:13), who is not glorifying him? The darkness has been crucified, we’re free from the chains; we’re risen to the upper (heavenly) kingdom.
It’s the day of the Resurrection; who is not picking up a spiritual guitar, to sing up many times a repeating song, with songs, psalms and great joy and with a piercing melody to cry out?: “He is risen from the death” Christ has risen from the death
Let all demons phalanx run far away; and the ruler of darkness with his army let enter the Tartara (hell), because the master of life has Risen and the evil one’s kingdom is robbed.
Let noone all you who are truthful be on the feast with poor garments; let we the Orthodox, does dress our corporeal and spiritual eyes with the shiny garments of goodness; let we the orthodox christians, be dressed up shiny; the enemy [the devil] is dead; the Bishop of Bishops has Risen; yesterday’s sorrow has turned to joy, what is keeping us to sing together with the pupils, to sing up victorious songs together with the Maryies? The Godly home-building is achieved: the descendance of [the Holy Spirit], the conceal, the birth of a Virgin, the baptizmal, the Godly signs, the suffering and Resurrection; Christ has risen from the death, rejoice ohh all you nations.
Likely we on Great Sunday with a divine hymn do glorify the risen from the death Master Christ – truly Risen, truly without doubt. And for us oh God where from will there be mercy sent for our petitions.
Paschal Greeting Text by Byzantium’s Emperor Theodore II Ducas-Lascaris (1254-1258 AD) Translated from Bulgarian (Original text translated from Greek by Alexey Stambolov)
“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life!”
Happy Easter to all my beloved readers. In relation to the Greatest feast of all times I wish to all my readers a lot of good health, a lot of success in all good, and a lot of love. Rejoice for the Lord and Saviour of mankind has been risen!
In Jerusalem the Holy Fire has descended from Heaven. For all Unorthodox Christians, it’s important to note that the Holy Fire is the miracle confirming that the Christian Orthodox faith is the true ancient Christian faith in fulness!
Each year the Holy Fire descends from heaven and lights up the candle of the Patriarch of the Jerusalem Church. This only happens on the Orthodox Easter! This is without question a great miracle and a very graceful act by which God shows us he has not left us behind.
Here is a video you can watch, where you can see the miracle happening as well as a discussion, is really the miracle real:
Miracle of the Holy Fire in the Holy Sepulchre (Jesus’s Tomb) in Jerusalem – Easter 2011
Holy Light (Holy Fire) in Jerusalem: Proofs & Testimonies
During the three days in which, we the Christians celebrate the glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour. It’s accepted that the ordinary “Hi” or “Hello” greeting we use daily, is ex-changed for “Christ is Risen!” 🙂
The word “Easter” used for the Resurrection 3 day feasts is also interesting as it comes from “Eastern” – (e.g. Eastern Orthodox Church) 🙂
The Fifith week and the fifth Sunday of Lent is preparation for the Holy Week (right before Eastern). In the Gospel readings on the fifth Sunday it’s being told how God on his way for Jerusalem revealed for a time to his deciples (The Holy Apostles), that his way is the way of the cross, the suffering and death and that the high-priest and the jewish scripture interpreters will betray him, will violate him spit at him, beat him and crucify him and most importantly that he will be Risen on the third day.
The pupils has been terified walking with him on the way to Jerusalem and haven’t really understood the Lord’s prophetic words.
The mother of John and Jacob for example asked the Lord that her sons be allowed to sit on his right and on left side of the Lord’s throne, without knowing like the rest of the desciples that the Lord’s way of unbelievable suffering, which the desciples comprehends a bit later.
The cross’s road of suffering is a predetermined path not only for Christ’s desciples but for the whole Orthodox Church in general and for all the believers inChrist’s name. God does alone has carried out suffering for the human sin and sinfulness and bears it together with man entering and changing human’s history and completing his redemption for us on the cross. On this land a man without a revelation of God, never could understand that God is love, that God is good, even if they are already talking about two thousand years all the saints and Fathers of our Church. God is love and sacrifice himself for man, so our suffering is noble by his feat, carried out for good, because the truth because of the transfiguration of man. His sacrifice is the noblest sacrifice of this world.
But in essense as many ordinary people say in the suffering there is nothing good and noble. The sufferings however after Christ’s sacrifice in his “house-building” plan to transfigurate the man’s personality does prooved miraculous for many Christians throughout the centuries.
A very light example of such a transfiguration of the human’s personality (soul) can be clearly seen in the example of saint Mary of Egypt’s living whose memory do celebrate in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church today (in the Fifth Sunday of the great Lent).
St. Mary of Egypt has lead a very unusual way of living, which is really striking to be comprehend even for us the modern Christians.
Her living is a God’s omen for all generations of Christians and is in clearly distinctive with ours.
As we can read in short in her living, from a very rich and prosperous prostitute touched by Christ’s love after entering an Orthodox temple by the Mercy and the great prayers of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) she has decided to loose all earthly preasures and all the old unrightous way of living and start living a saint hermit life in the desert, she has fought the devil’s temptations and the consequences of sin and God’s wrath for the sinful way of live she has lead for so monay ears before she has turned to Christ in humility in about 25 years alone in the desert!
That’s clearly a God’s great miracle and faith simulator we should thanks God for ..
Her living is a very bright example that we should not despair ourselves about our salvation, and that God takes care for everyone who puts his faith in him and decides consciously to let behind his sinful way of living and evil and starts fighting with it.
God grants us our earthly living and waits throughout our whole earthly live for us to turn back from our sins and change for good.
St. Mary of Egypt is a great example for us who belief in Christ today about how much a repentance could work out in our lives.
From one of the greatest city sinners she has turned into a saint by repenting for her previous sinful life for 25 years.
After the end of her great trial period in the desert, seeing her great repentance God has granted us all the gifts of healing and miraculness of the Holy Spirit.
I would not stop into details of the great saint’s living I’ll just say it’s worthy to check her living in http://orthodoxwiki.org/Sunday_of_St._Mary_of_Egypt and be seriously astonished!
Let us take st. Mary of Egypt for a leading example in our lives and hope that God will have mercy on us and grant us her humbleness and repentance for our great sins we stand in daily ..
Save us Oh Lord by the prayers Saint Mary of Egypt!
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Jesus is Risen song (Easter in Lebanon Mall Store)Friday, May 13th, 2011
Here is how Easter is being celebrated in Lebanon Mall.
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