St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Church to celebrate Easter on April 8

| 13 Mar 2018 | 03:49

— This year the Western Church Holy Week begins March 25, with Palm Sunday, and Easter, the most important feast in the Christian calendar, will be celebrated on Sunday, April 1.
The Orthodox Church, however, will celebrate the beginning of Holy Week on Sunday, April 1 ,and Easter or Pascha one week later, on April 8.
Both Eastern and Western Christianity celebrate Easter, which is a movable feast as opposed to having a fixed date like Christmas, on different dates.
"This difference occurs," said Rev. Fr. George Kevorkian, pastor of St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Church in the Village of Florida, "because the Orthodox Church uses the older Julian calendar, established in 46 BC, as opposed to the newer Gregorian Calendar, established in the 16th Century and used by the Western churches."
Father Kevorkian explained that the difference in calendars causes the dates to sometimes be one week apart, like this year, occasionally on the same day, and even, as much as five weeks apart.
"And instead of Easter," said Kevorkian, "we also use the Greek word 'Pascha' which means passover, and reminds us that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ allows us to pass over from death to new life."
In 2011 St. Ignatius, a mission at that time, became the owner of the church, hall, and property that formerly housed St. Edward's Catholic Church at 75 North Main Street.
St. Ignatius had been renting the facility for the previous four years and during that time experienced a twofold increase in its congregation with many worshipers traveling from nearby Orange County and New Jersey communities.
St. Ignatius, which was consecrated as a Church in 2015, will observe the traditional schedule of services for an Orthodox Holy Week.
"The first three services," explained Kevorkian, "are called the bridegroom services in recognition of the role of Jesus Christ as the bridegroom, and His Church as His Bride."
The pastor continued:
"On Holy Wednesday evening we celebrate the sacrament of Holy Unction which includes the anointing of Orthodox faithful with the holy oil for the healing of soul and body.
"On Holy Thursday we celebrate the morning Liturgy which commemorates the Mystical Supper, and the Reading of the 12 Passion Gospels on Holy Thursday evening.
"On Holy Friday we celebrate the Royal Hours in the morning, and the afternoon Vesper service which commemorates the taking down of the body of Our Lord from the Cross.
"On Holy Friday evening we gather around the tomb of Christ, and chant the lamentations, followed by a vigil at the tomb where we imitate the Myrrh Bearing Women who watched over 'the place where they laid Him.
"On Holy Saturday we celebrate the Liturgy in the morning which anticipates His resurrection. The climax of the entire week is the Saturday evening service, which leads into the glorious midnight Divine Liturgy for the Resurrection. We welcome you to come and share in this awesome experience of prayer and worship."
- Roger Gavan