THE GREAT VIGIL OF PASCHA (THE EASTER VIGIL) — Tonight at 11:00 PM
The Great Vigil of Pascha (Easter), followed by the Solemn Paschal Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist will begin at 11:00 PM tonight. The Great Vigil includes the Lighting of the New Fire and the Paschal Candle, the Prophecies, the Reception of Catechumens, the Litany, and the Solemn Paschal Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist. After the Liturgy there will be fellowship and refreshments in our parish hall in celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. There are no Services scheduled for later on Sunday morning.
THE HOLY FIRE HAS DESCENDED IN JERUSALEM!!!
The Holy Fire has descended in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, as seen on the live stream on the Facebook page of the Jerusalem Patriarchate and on RIA-Novosti. You will want to view the video and photos on these sites.
The Holy Light descended at about 2:20 PM (7:20 AM Eastern Standard Time). The Holy Fire appeared in the edicule (the small chapel built over the burial place of Christ) just a few minutes after the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, entered there to pray and wait.
The descent of the Holy Fire was preceded by a complex ceremony: the doors of the Sepulchre were sealed with a large wax seal as a sign that its inspection had finished, and in it was found nothing that would allow the Patriarch of Jerusalem to ignite a fire by any ordinary means.
By this time the church was, as always, filled to overflowing with thousands of believers—both local Arab Orthodox and Orthodox pilgrims from all around the world. When the Patriarch of Jerusalem arrived his person was carefully searched to ensure that nothing capable of igniting a fire was brought in the Sepulcher of Christ.
The Holy Fire descends from heaven and into the Sepulchre of Christ which is located within the ancient Church of the Holy Sepluchre and ignites candles brought in by the Patriarch. Often candles held by the faithful and lampadas hanging in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre also spontaneously ignite, and sometimes the spontaneous ignitions also occur in neighboring Orthodox churches.
The Miracle of the Holy Fire has occurred in Jerusalem on the Vigil of Orthodox Pascha (Easter) since the first century. When the Roman Catholic Crusaders conquered Jerusalem and seized the Holy Places from the Orthodox, the Miracle of the Holy Fire ceased. After the Crusaders withdrew from Jerusalem and the Holy Places returned to the Orthodox Church, the annual Miracle of the Holy Fire resumed. The Miracle of the Holy Fire which occurs year after year and century after century is a yearly reminder that Christ remains with His Church as its Head.
At the ceremony in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was present a delegation of the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation, which, closer to midnight, will deliver the fire to the patriarchal Paschal Service in the Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, Russia. Delegations from other Local Orthodox Churches, such as the Romanian, Serbian, Greek, Bulgarian, etc. also took part in the ceremony and received the Holy Fire to take back to their own Churches. Last year the Holy Fire was brought to the United States for the first time and we were privileged to receive it at Holy Cross parish.
You can find more information on the descent of the Holy Fire in 2018 here:
The Evangelical Protestant magazine, Christianity Today had a good article on the Holy Fire titled,
IN PICTURES: STUNNING SCENES FROM ORTHODOX EASTER HOLY FIRE CEREMONIES
Here is a two hour video of today's events in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,
HOLY FIRE DESCENDS ON JERUSALEM’S CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE (VIDEO)
HOLY PASCHA — THE FEAST OF FEASTS!
Holy Pascha is the Feast of Feasts and the holiest day of the Christian Year. Everyone in warmly invited to join us at church tonight, Saturday, April 7, at 11:00 PM for the Great Vigil of Pascha.
In the Orthodox Church the Paschal Liturgy (Easter Mass) is always celebrated at Midnight. Bring the children — Pascha is a day to make memories that will last a lifetime. Invite everyone you know to attend — family, friends, neighbors, everyone. Hearts will be touched and lives changed.
Everyone is invited to attend and visitors are always welcome. Come and share the ancient Paschal Greeting, “Christ is Risen!” With the response, “He is Risen Indeed!” Come and share the Paschal Joy! It will be a joyous and glorious night. We are a faithful, friendly, vibrant and growing parish, and we have a place for you!
We will be looking forward to seeing you at 11:00 PM tonight!
HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127