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Pascha in the World
By Matushka Donna Farley
A writer of my acquaintance once called me up to say he was working on a novel about religion in the future, and for various reasons needed some information about Orthodoxy. Since his own Christian background was ancient history to him, he had a hard time knowing even where to begin asking questions. After a few stabs in the dark (Is there an intercessory tradition of saints? Is it true you can look at icons as "windows to heaven"?) he asked me to talk about something that was particularly meaningful to me in my Orthodox life.
By Matushka Ioanna Callinicos Rhodes
There are many customs and traditions that pertain to Pascha world-wide, but the most common one is that of dyeing and decorating eggs. Whether you are from London, Jerusalem, or Moscow, this custom is universal.
Egg dyeing and decorating can be dated back to pagan times. There is evidence of the ancients coloring their eggs in the history of Egypt, Gaul, China, Rome, and Persia. The egg was cherished as a symbol of the universe and represented life as a circle, as eternal life. The golden yolk of yellow represented the Sun God, the white shell the White Goddess, and the whole egg, rebirth. Hence, it was linked to spring, a time of rebirth for the earth after a long cold winter. The earth was reborn in much the same way the egg miraculously brings forth life.
By Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.
From the Holy Land
Every year during Holy Saturday, for many centuries, there is a most magnificent miracle that continues to take place in Jerusalem since the time we were allowed as Christians to celebrate ceremonies in public.
By Douglas Cramer
In 1945, a Paschal Liturgy like no other was performed. Just days after their liberation by the US military on April 29, 1945, hundreds of Orthodox Christian prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp gathered to celebrate the Resurrection service and to give thanks.
The Dachau concentration camp was opened in 1933 in a former gunpowder factory. The first prisoners interred there were political opponents of Adolf Hitler, who had become German chancellor that same year.
By Fr. George Morelli
"Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
Is there any doubt that the Cross of Jesus Christ is a scandal, a shame and embarrassment to anyone who chooses not to respond to God's grace? Look at Jesus from a Jewish perspective in the time of Christ. They were awaiting a messiah, the anointed one of God — a deliverer who would reign in glory with the power and adornment of a king.
By Michael Bressem, Ph.D.
The symbol of the cross is ubiquitous in our society. It is printed on bumper stickers and tattooed on forearms; it is spray-painted on concrete walls and stitched onto denim jackets; it adorns the necks of "gangsta" rappers and scantily clad models. Will this symbol continue to devolve into a mere fashion statement, a cultural icon, or a religious trademark? If we hope to reclaim the true meaning of the cross, we must ourselves understand that it is something much more.