The Serbian Orthodox Church to her spiritual children at Pascha, 2016
By the Grace of God
Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch, with all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church to all the clergy, monastics, and all the sons and daughters of our Holy Church: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, with the joyous Paschal greeting:
Christ is Risen!
“Christ is risen, trampling down death and raising the dead. Rejoice, all you people!”
(Paschal Canon, Ode 9)
Let us celebrate today, dear brothers and sisters, our Lord God, “For He has visited and redeemed His people” (St. Luke 1:68) and with the light of His Resurrection He enlightens the entire universe! Let us glorify our Lord “who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised for our justification”. (Romans 4:25) Let us glorify our Lord Who, having become a man for us, has died so that by His Resurrection he could open to us doors of new life! For all of us who have been baptized into Christ, in Christ we have died to the old man, so that resurrected, reborn, renewed in Him, we can live with Him forever. (cf. Romans 6:8) Christ is risen from the dead and has become the Firstborn of the dead (cf. I Corinthians 15:20), so that we too who have died in Adam, may be made alive in Christ, becoming a new creation.
Great Lent and Holy Week are two separate fasts, and two separate celebrations. Great Lent ends on Friday of the fifth week (the day before Lazarus Saturday). Holy Week begins immediately thereafter. Let's explore the meaning of each of the solemn days of Passion Week.
Lazarus Saturday: Lazarus Saturday is the day which begins Holy Week. It commemorates the raising of our Lord's friend Lazarus, who had been in the tomb four days. This act confirmed the universal resurrection from the dead that all of us will experience at our Lord's Second Coming. This miracle led many to faith, but it also led to the chief priest's and Pharisees' decision to kill Jesus (John 11:47-57).
Palm Sunday (The Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem): Our Lord enters Jerusalem and is proclaimed king - but in an earthly sense, as many people of His time were seeking a political Messiah. Our Lord is King, of course, but of a different type - the eternal King prophesied by Zechariah the Prophet. We use palms on this day to show that we too accept Jesus as the true King and Messiah of the Jews, Who we are willing to follow - even to the cross.
Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: The first thing that must be said about these services, and most of the other services of Holy Week, is that they are "sung" in anticipation. Each service is rotated ahead twelve hours. The evening service, therefore, is actually the service of the next morning, while the morning services of Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday are actually the services of the coming evening.
His Grace Bishop Maxim celebrated his Krsna Slava on Lazarus Saturday, April 23, 2016 at the Saint Steven's Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Alhambra, California.
His Grace concelebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with the V. Rev. Nicholas Ceko, Cathedral Dean, Rev. Norman Kosanovich, and Deacon Zoran Aleksich, together with Orthodox faithful from many parishes in the Western American Diocese.The responses were sung by the Cathedral Cantors led by director Jonathan Braun.
One of the most miraculous details of our Savior’s life was foreseen by the Prophet Zacharias through the dark glass of time, and described thus: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion; proclaim it aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, the King is coming to thee, just, and a Saviour; he is meek and riding on an ass, and a young foal And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.(Zach. 9:9). The Apostle Luke, an eyewitness, describes this event:
On April 17, 2016 His Grace Bishop Mitrofan of Eastern America visited St. Sava parish in Boston where he served the Divine Liturgy and in the afternoon the parish of Synaxis of Serbian Saints in Bideford (Portland), where he took partin Vespers service.
Divine Liturgy in Boston Bishop served along with local parish priest, protojerej stavr. Aleksandar Vlajković and guests priests protojerej Ivan Marjanovic and protojerej stavr. Rumen Peloski from bulgarin parish.Vladika gave a thoughtful sermon, stressing in this Sunday dedicated to Mary of Egypt all the challenges and temptations of today, but also the depth of God's mercy for all those who sincerely repent and expect forgiveness from God. Nearly 100 parishioners have participated in the holy communion.