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Fwd: Fw: HOLY WEEK AND PASCHA IN JERUSALEM

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  • Fr. Panagiotes Carras
    ... wrote: From: Fr. Panagiotes Carras ... Do You Yahoo!? LAUNCH - Your Yahoo! Music Experience
    Message 1 of 1 , May 14 6:31 AM
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      --- "Fr. Panagiotes Carras" wrote:
      > From: "Fr. Panagiotes Carras" > To: > Subject: Fw: HOLY WEEK AND PASCHA IN JERUSALEM > Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 09:22:15 -0400 > > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: "Metropolitan Moses" > To: > Sent: Sunday, May 05, 2002 1:35 PM > Subject: HOLY WEEK AND PASCHA IN JERUSALEM > > > > The following text was originally translated by > Holy Transfiguration > > Monastery in Boston and printed in "Orthodox > Life." > > It is excellent reading for all during the Paschal > season. > > > > Christ is Risen! > > > > > > > http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/reading/holyfire.html > > > > HOLY WEEK AND PASCHA IN JERUSALEM > > by the Monk Parthenius > > > > For the Christians the greatest feast days and > festival were approaching. > > The time of joy and sorrow was approaching. We > rejoiced because of this, > > that we would receive the new grace of the > heavenly Fire, and celebrate > the > > most radiant festival of Holy Pascha in the Holy > City of Jerusalem. Yet we > > grieved in heart that the time was coming for > everyone to part. We had > > lived six months together and had come to know one > another. But most of > all > > we feared those bitter moments when we should have > to leave the holy city > > of Jerusalem, the holy and life-bearing Sepulchre > of Christ and the other > > holy places. We came to our rooms, we ate dinner, > rested and then went to > > spend the night in the Church of the Resurrection. > Matins on Thursday was > > solemn; the early Liturgy was performed on the > Grave of Christ; a bishop > > acted as proto-celebrant and there were many > communicants at the Liturgy. > > > > The late Liturgy was in the Patriarchate; the > Patriarch himself served. > The > > washing of the feet was in the court opposite the > holy gates of the Church > > of the Resurrection. There was a platform made > three steps high; around it > > were railings and on the railings columns rested. > There were large candles > > on the columns. The platform was spread with > carpets. In the center there > > stood a gold-plated table, and along the sides > twelve chairs. On the wall > > towards the east they hung icons and before them > candles were burning; by > > this wall a throne was erected for the reading of > the Gospels. A hundred > > soldiers came and stood around the throne. In the > court, at St. Abraham's > > Monastery, at the Gethsemane metochion, in the > patriarchal monastery, and > > in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre there were > great multitudes of people. > > We stood in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We > saw the Patriarch coming > > out of the Patriarchal monastery in all his > vestments, accompanied by the > > bishops and twelve priests. In front of them went > twelve boys in servers' > > vestments with candlesticks and candles; then the > chanters; then deacons > > with censers. Then came the priests and seven > deacons with the dikiri and > > trikiri. Behind them came the Patriarch who was > blessing the people with > > both hands; behind him, the bishops in rassas. > Having mounted the > platform, > > the Patriarch sat in his place and ordered the > other priests to sit > > according to rank. The bishops stood by and > watched. The order of the > > washing of the feet began according to the > typicon, and the archimandrite > > read the Gospel from the throne. > > > > Before evening the blessing of oil was performed > in all the monasteries, > > and everywhere the bishops themselves anointed all > the pilgrims with the > > oil. That evening the Church of the Holy Sepulchre > was not opened and they > > allowed no one to spend the night there. But a > Russian noblewoman > > petitioned the Patriarch and the consul to conduct > the vigil on Golgotha > > half in Russian. The Patriarch respected their > request and when it was > > already late in the evening, they opened the holy > gates and allowed only > > the Russians into the church. Compline was read on > Golgotha and they > > chanted the whole canon to the Cross in Greek. > Then the Greeks went to > > sleep, and we Russians went to the cave where the > Empress Helen found the > > Cross. There we read the twelve Gospels of the > Passion and the synaxarion > > and other things appropriate for that day, and we > chanted the Akathist to > > the venerable Cross. > > > > When they began beating the semantron for Matins, > we all went to Golgotha, > > and Matins was served according to the typicon. > They read the Gospels -- > > six in Greek and six in Russian. The antiphons and > canons were chanted by > > the right choir in Greek and the left in Russian; > and the service lasted > > six hours. The Royal Hours were all read and > chanted on Golgotha in > > Russian. In the morning the doors to the church > were not opened and there > > was silence in the church. At the twelfth hour of > the day two deacons were > > sent to each holy place to cense it. First two > Orthodox deacons censed. > > Then two Armenian deacons wearing mitres censed. > Then two Coptic deacons > > went also, wearing mitres. The Latins did not > cense. Their deacons wear > > clothing different from all other religions. Then > everyone had > processions. > > At one o'clock in the afternoon, they opened the > holy great gates of the > > church. The people rushed into the church, and > there was a great din in > the > > church. Everyone rushed to get a place. We were > already occupying our > > places. In a minute the whole church was filled > with people. > > > > Half an hour later, suddenly, near the Grave of > Christ there was a noise > > and the Arabs started shouting in their strange > tongue; about fifty men > > joined hands and stood on one another's shoulders > three-high and raised > > their hands to heaven and all began shouting. They > began to run around the > > Sepulchre of Christ and then around the whole > church: they ran and shouted > > until the evening. Then a thousand men of the > Turkish military came and > > made a guard near the holy gates, and placed > watchmen about the whole > > church. The Patriarch then came with much glory, > and he was met > > majestically. Vespers was solemn; but they did not > take the epitaphios > from > > Golgotha because of the possibility of disorder. > After Vespers the Arabs > > again took to their "work" and again began to run > around and shout. I > asked > > those who understood Russian, "What are they > saying?" They told me that > > they were praising the one Orthodox faith, but > were reviling the other > > confessions as being false and soul- destroying. > They came to the > Armenians > > and reviled them, saying that they themselves had > wanted to receive the > > grace, but instead of that had eaten defilement. > > > > Let me tell you about this: At the Great Gates > themselves, on the left > > side, stands a column made out of marble with a > fissure from which the > > grace, that is, the Holy Fire, came forth. This > column is honored by > > Orthodox as well as non-Orthodox, and even the > Armenians. I would like to > > write a little about this incident, how the > Orthodox Eastern Christians > > unanimously speak of it and the Turks themselves > confirm it. In the wall > > there is an inscribed marble slab, and they say > that this very incident is > > written on it; but we could not read it because it > is written in Syrian > > letters, in the Arab tongue; and I only heard > about it, but did not read > > it. But the incident happened something like this: > At one time when the > > Greeks were completely oppressed by the Turkish > yoke, some rich Armenians > > took it into their heads to force the Greeks out > of the Holy Sepulchre and > > out of the Church of the Resurrection. They > gathered a large sum of money > > and bribed the Ottoman Porte and all the Jerusalem > authorities, assuring > > the unbelievers that the Holy Fire comes forth not > simply for the sake of > > the Greeks, but for all Christians, and "if we > Armenians are there, we > also > > will receive it!" And the Turks, who are greedy > for money, accepted the > > bribe and therefore did as the Armenians wished, > and they affirmed that > > only the Armenians would be allowed to receive the > Holy Fire. The > Armenians > > rejoiced greatly and wrote to all their lands and > to their faithful, that > > more of them should go on a pilgrimage. And a > great multitude of them did > > come. Holy Saturday approached: the Armenians all > gathered in the church, > > and the Turkish army drove the poor Greeks out. > Oh, what unspeakable grief > > and sorrow filled the Greeks! There was only one > comfort for them -- the > > Grave of the Saviour, and they were being kept > away from it, and the Holy > > Gates were locked to them! The Armenians were > inside the church and the > > Orthodox were on the streets. The Armenians were > rejoicing and the Greeks > > were weeping. The Armenians were celebrating and > the Greeks were bitterly > > lamenting! The Orthodox stood opposite the Holy > Gates on the court and > > around them stood the Turkish army, watching so > that there would not be a > > fight. The Patriarch himself with all the rest > stood there with candles, > > hoping that they would at least receive the Fire > from the Armenians > through > > the window. But the Lord wished to dispose things > in a different way, and > > to manifest His true Faith with a fiery finger and > comfort His true > > servants, the humble Greeks. The time had already > come when the Holy Fire > > issues forth, but nothing happened. The Armenians > were frightened and > began > > to weep, and ask God that He send them the Fire; > but the Lord did not hear > > them. Already a half hour had passed and more, and > still no Holy Fire. The > > day was clear and beautiful; the Patriarch sat to > the right side. All of a > > sudden there was a clap of thunder, and on the > left side the middle marble > > column cracked and out of the fissure a flame of > fire came forth. The > > Patriarch arose and lit his candles and all the > Orthodox Christians lit > > theirs from his. Then all rejoiced, and the > Orthodox Arabs from Jordan > > began to skip and cry out, "Thou art our one God, > Jesus Christ; one is our > > True Faith, that of the Orthodox Christians!" And > they began to run about > > all of Jerusalem and raise a din, and to shout all > over the city. And to > > this day they still do this in memory of the > incident and they jump and > > shout, running around the Holy Sepulchre, and they > praise the one true > God, > > Jesus Christ, and bless the Orthodox Faith. > Beholding this wonder, the > > Turkish army, which was standing around on guard, > was greatly amazed and > > terrified. From amongst them one named Omir, who > was standing at the St. > > Abraham's Monastery on guard, immediately believed > in Christ and shouted, > > "One is the true God, Jesus Christ; one is the > true faith, that of the > > Orthodox Christians!" And he jumped down to the > Christians from a height > of > > more than 35 feet. His feet landed on the solid > marble as if though on > soft > > wax. And to this day one can see his footprints > imprinted as though in > wax, > > although the non-Orthodox tried to erase them. I > saw them with my own eyes > > and felt them with my own hands. And the column > with the fissure still > > bears the scorch marks. As for Omir the soldier, > having jumped down, he > > took his weapon and thrust it into the stone as > though into soft wax, and > > began to glorify Christ unceasingly. For this, the > Turks beheaded him and > > burned his body; the Greeks gathered up his bones, > put them into a case > and > > took them to the Convent of the Great Panagia, > where they gush forth > > fragrance until this day. The Armenians in the > Holy Sepulchre received > > nothing and were left only with their shame. The > Pasha of Jerusalem and > > other Turkish authorities were greatly displeased > with them and wanted to > > slaughter them all, but they feared the Sultan. > They only punished them > > heavily: they say that they made each one to eat > dung as he left the > church. > > > > But now to return to the services in the Church of > the Resurrection. > Having > > reviled the Armenians, the Arabs reviled the > Latins, saying that they do > > not believe in grace, and do not receive the Holy > Fire from the Grave of > > the Lord, but they start their own fire. And we > saw their ungodliness from > > what had happened the week before. On the sixth > Sunday of the Fast we > > prepared for communion. On the eve of Lazarus > Saturday we went to spend > the > > night in the church at the Holy Sepulchre in order > to receive the Holy > > Mysteries. In the evening they read Compline on > Golgotha; then we wanted > to > > read the rule of preparation for Holy Communion. > But the Latins had begun > a > > procession: for them it was Holy Saturday, and > they were going to Golgotha > > with their cross. We wanted to wait until they > passed by; but our Orthodox > > people, Russians and Greeks, were also standing on > Golgotha to watch their > > procession and rites. There were very few of us; > there were no more than > > fifty Greeks, counting the chanters. But there > were more than five hundred > > Latins, and they also had with them about fifty > soldiers. When they came > to > > Golgotha, the Latins first chanted and read at > their own place; then they > > went over to our place, where the Cross of Christ > had stood. Our monks > took > > down all the lamps which could possibly interfere > with them and carried > > away the candlestands, and thus cleared the area. > There remained only a > > covering on the Holy Table. The Latins set up > their cross behind our Holy > > Table and said that we should take the covering > off the Holy Table. The > > Greeks refused, saying, "We cannot do this, for > the covering is never > taken > > off, and the firman does not allow it; but you > spread your own cloth on > > top"; when the Latins tried to take the covering > off by force, the Greeks > > did not let them. Then the Latin archbishop came > and scandalously grabbed > > the covering off the Holy Table. There were two > consuls standing by: a > > Russian and a Greek. Immediately the Greeks made > an uproar and dashed out > > into the corridor and brought many pieces of wood > from the kitchen, and a > > fight began on Golgotha. The Greeks were beating > them with pieces of wood, > > and the Latins hitting back with candles, but > afterwards they also brought > > pieces of wood. The Turks rushed in to break it > up, but their guns had > been > > taken away; and they ran to save the Holy > Sepulchre and the Church of the > > Resurrection, for at that time, since it was > towards Palm Sunday, > > everything was ornamented with silver and gold. We > did not know where to > > run and we froze from fear. The Russian consul was > saving his own people > > and conducting them to the trapeza. We, about > twenty of us, went to the > > Church of the Resurrection and from fear did not > know where to go, whether > > into the altar or even under the Holy Table! > Noise, shouting, cries rose > to > > heaven, especially on Golgotha. All the Christians > were sounding alarms -- > > the Orthodox on all the semantra, but also the > Armenians, Latins, and > > Copts. The soldiers were standing around the Holy > Sepulchre, hand to hand, > > with their weapons too, and so that there would > not be any theft, they > > stood by the gates of the Church of the > Resurrection. The fight had spread > > all over the church. They threw the Latin > Patriarch down from Golgotha; it > > was good that he fell on the people, or else he > would have been killed. > > Metropolitan Meletius began admonishing them to > stop the fight, but they > > said to him, "You stand in your own place, > Vladyka, but we will die for > our > > faith here; for there are few of us and many > heretics." Unable to do > > anything the bishop sat down with the Turks. The > fight continued for more > > than an hour, until the Turkish army and the Pasha > himself came. Then they > > separated them one by one and locked them up in > the guest houses. We, the > > few Russians, went away to the Church of the > Mother of God. The soldiers > > wanted to take us and shut us up also, but we said > that we were Muscovites > > and they left us alone. Then for an hour they had > a council: the > > Archbishop, the Pasha, and the consul were > discussing the matter. At that > > time I was able to read the rule for preparation > for Holy Communion. After > > the meeting the Pasha, Archbishop, and consuls > each went home. The Latins > > began their procession again, and finished on the > Grave of Christ; then > the > > soldiers drove them all out and they went away > themselves. They locked the > > gates of the church and sent everyone away. And > again they began beating > > the semantra for Matins. > > > > We had Matins in the Church of the Resurrection > and had Liturgy on the > > Grave of Christ, and I was deemed worthy to be a > partaker of the Holy > > Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ. But > Mount Golgotha was all > > covered with blood; and during the whole of Matins > two men were washing it > > with water. Three people were killed. I have not > seen such terror since > the > > day I was born. > > > > Again let us return to the Holy Week services. The > non- Orthodox gave > money > > to the soldiers so that they would beat the Arabs > who were reviling > > everyone else's faith and drive them away. For > that reason the Arabs were > > all in a blood and sweat. They took their long > shirts from their shoulders > > and would walk about half-naked. If someone would > beat them, they would > not > > worry, but would continue their task. When they > ran around the Grave of > > Christ and the Church of the Resurrection they > kept saying just one thing, > > and we found out that this is what they were > saying: "One is God, Jesus > > Christ! One is the faith of the Orthodox > Christians!" Then the Christians > > of all confessions carried the epitaphios: the > Armenians, Copts, and > > Syrians. First they went to Golgotha, then to the > taking down from the > > Cross, and then three times around the Grave of > Christ and then went away > > to their own sections. Thus we spent the night > until dawn amidst unceasing > > noise. In the church it was like a bazaar or a > fair. Till now the pilgrims > > were scattered out all over Jerusalem; and now all > Christians from > > different countries were gathered in the one > church, at the Sepulchre of > > their Saviour, Jesus Christ. The balconies and all > the galleries were > > filled with people. All were asking, all were > pleading in their different > > ways. Crowds everywhere, and fights everywhere > because of the crowdedness. > > No one understood the other's language and Turkish > soldiers were > > ceaselessly dispersing the people. You could say > that the church, like > > Heaven itself, was gathering in itself the whole > world. Thus we spent the > > night until dawn. > > > > Then they began to beat the wood for Matins and > the Arabs stopped making > > noise. The Patriarch began Matins and they passed > out candles to all the > > Orthodox. They chanted the whole Kathisma "Blessed > are blameless" in the > > Church of the Resurrection. They went to Golgotha > to read the Gospel. > > Having read the Gospel they lifted the epitaphios > and carried it from > > Golgotha with banners and lanterns. There was a > great gathering of clergy: > > besides the deacons, priests, abbots, and > archimandrites, there were six > > bishops and the Patriarch, and a host of chanters. > When they had carried > > the epitaphios from Golgotha, they went around > three times -- for the > > taking down from the Cross. Then they laid it on > the place where Jesus > > Christ was wrapped in linen and anointed with > myrrh for burial. Here a > long > > sermon was given. Then they carried the epitaphios > to the Grave of Jesus > > Christ, and carried it around the Sepulchre three > times. They carried it > > into the Sepulchre and placed the epitaphios on > the Tomb itself. The > clergy > > stood around the shrine of Christ's Sepulchre. > Only the clergy chanted the > > whole canon ("Kimati thalasses") and the verses. > The people held candles > in > > their hands. There they also chanted the Praises > and the Great Doxology, > > and read the Gospel. And there, they finished > Matins and the Hours. After > > this they took the epitaphios to its place and the > Turks sealed the > Sepulchre. > > > > After the service the Arabs took up their task > again, but they had > > multiplied now, because the people of Jerusalem, > merchants and old people, > > took off their turbans, took each other by the > hand, and began to shout > and > > skip. When dawn came, they began to put out the > fires and lamps and > nowhere > > was a lamp left burning. The Turks opened Christ's > Sepulchre and put out > > all the lamps. Then the Turkish authorities and > the Pasha himself came; > and > > host of armed soldiers stood around Christ's > Sepulchre. In the church > > everything had changed; everyone had become > melancholy and the Arabs had > > become hoarse and weak. The church was unusually > crowded and stuffy. > Above, > > all the balconies were crammed with people in four > rows. All the > iconstasia > > and the domes were full of people. All were > holding thirty-three candles > in > > both hands in remembrance of the years of Christ's > life. There was nothing > > lit anywhere. > > > > The Patriarch went up to the main iconostasis with > the consul. Meletius, > > the Metropolitan of Trans-Jordan, sat in the altar > with the rest of the > > bishops, all melancholy and hanging their heads. > In the church the Moslems > > with their weapons of war were giving orders; the > Arabs had already > stopped > > running about, but stood lifting their hands to > heaven and uttering > > compunctionate cries; the Christians were all > weeping or continually > > sighing. And who at that time could withhold his > tears, beholding such a > > multitude of people from all countries of the > world weeping and wailing > and > > asking mercy from the Lord God? It was joyous to > see that now, although > > unwillingly, the rest of the Christians were > showing some respect for the > > Orthodox Greek Faith and for the Orthodox > themselves, and that they were > > looking upon the Orthodox as though upon the > brightest of suns, because > > everyone was hoping to receive the grace of the > Holy Fire from the > > Orthodox. The Armenian patriarch went to the altar > with two bishops and > the > > Coptic metropolitan, and they bowed to > Metropolitan Meletius and the rest > > of the bishops and asked that when we receive the > grace of the Holy Fire, > > that we grant it to them also. Metropolitan > Meletius answered with > humility > > and told them to pray to God. They went to their > own places. Then the > royal > > gates were taken off and were replaced with others > with a special opening. > > > > It is not possible to describe what was then > happening in the church. It > > was as though all were waiting for the Second > Coming of the King of > Heaven. > > Fear and terror fell upon all, and the Turks > became despondent. And in the > > church there was nothing to be heard except > sighing and groans. And > > Metropolitan Meletius' face was wet with tears. > Then the Turkish Pasha > came > > with the other authorities, and they went into > Christ's Sepulchre to make > > sure that nothing remained alight there. When they > came out they sealed > the > > Sepulchre, but previously they had placed a large > lamp inside, filled to > > the very brim with oil. In it floated a large > wick. They put the lamp in > > the middle of the Tomb of Christ. Now there were > no Christians near the > > shrine, but only the Turkish authorities. And from > the balconies they let > > down on ropes hundreds of wires with bunches of > candles attached. > > > > At eight o'clock according to Russian time (two in > the afternoon), they > > began preparing for the procession with the Cross. > The bishops, priests, > > and deacons, having dressed in all their sacred > vestments, each took > > thirty-three unlit candles. Then from the altar, > through the royal doors, > > were handed twelve banners, and whoever could took > them. The soldiers > > cleared the way, and the chanters went behind the > banners. From the altar > > through the royal doors came the deacons, priests, > abbots and > > archimandrites, two by two, then the bishops, and > behind all of them, > > Metropolitan Meletius. They went to the Lord's > Sepulchre, and went around > > it three times chanting, "Angels in the heavens, O > Christ our Saviour, > > praise Thy Resurrection with hymns; deem us also > who are on earth worthy > to > > glorify Thee with a pure heart." > > > > Having finished the procession, all the clergy > went quickly into the altar > > with the banners. Metropolitan Meletius stayed > alone at the entrance of > the > > Sepulchre in the hands of the Turks. The Turks > divested him, and the > > authorities searched him. Then they put the > omophorion on him, opened the > > Sepulchre of Christ, and let him go inside. Oh, > what fear and terror fell > > upon all them that were there at the time! All > were silent and moaning and > > asking the Lord God that He not deprive them of > the grace of His heavenly > > Fire. Some time passed, I do not know how long, > for we were all beside > > ourselves from a kind of fear. But all of a sudden > from near Christ's > > Sepulchre there shined a light. Soon light also > appeared from the altar in > > the royal doors in the opening. And it flowed like > two rivers of fire, one > > from the west, from Christ's Sepulchre, and > another from the east, from > the > > altar. Oh, what joy and exultation there was in > the church then! Everyone > > became as though drunk or besides himself, and we > did not know who was > > saying what, or who was running where! And a great > noise rose in all of > the > > church. All were running around, all were crying > out in joy and > > thanksgiving -- most of all the Arab women. The > Turks themselves, the > > Moslems, fell on their knees and cried, "Allah, > Allah," that is, "O God, O > > God!" Oh, what a strange and most wonderful sight! > The whole church was > > transformed into fire. Nothing could be seen in > the church besides the > > heavenly Fire. Above and below, and round all the > balconies the Holy Fire > > was being poured forth. And afterwards there was > smoke about the whole > > church. And a good half of the people went out > with the Fire and carried > it > > about Jerusalem to their own homes and to all the > monasteries. > > > > In the Great Church Vespers began, and then the > Liturgy of St. Basil the > > Great. The Metropolitan served with the priests, > and he ordained a deacon. > > The people stood through the Liturgy with candles. > When the Metropolitan > of > > Trans- Jordan goes into the Sepulchre, he finds a > large lamp standing on > > the Grave of Christ which has been lit by itself; > sometimes it lights > > itself unexpectedly while he is there. However, he > himself has never seen > > it light. In Jerusalem, I heard from many people > with whom the > Metropolitan > > himself had spoken about it openly: "Sometimes I > go in and it is already > > burning; then I take it out quickly. But sometimes > I go in and the lamp is > > not yet burning; then I fall down to the ground > from fear and begin with > > tears to beg mercy from God. When I get up the > lamp is already burning and > > I light two bunches of candles and I carry them > out and distribute them." > > The Metropolitan carries the fire out into the > vestibule and puts the > > bunches of the candles into iron holders and gives > them out from the > > Sepulchre through openings made for that purpose, > with the right hand to > > the Orthodox and the left hand to the Armenians > and the rest. The Orthodox > > Arabs stand in a crowd near the opening. As soon > as the Metropolitan shows > > the Holy Fire, one Arab, laying hold of it, runs > straight to the altar and > > there through the royal doors it is distributed to > the people; but one is > > hardly able to light his candles in the openings. > Then the Metropolitan > > again returns to Christ's Sepulchre and lights > another two bunches and > goes > > out of the door of the Sepulchre. The strongest > Arabs stand at the doors > of > > the Sepulchre and await him. As soon as he goes > out holding in his hands > > the thirty-three burning candles, the Arabs, > taking him in their hands, > > carry him directly to the altar. All the people > rush toward him. They all > > desire to touch his clothing. And with great > difficulty, they are barely > > able to carry him into the altar. They sat him on > a chair, and he sat > > through the whole Liturgy as though beside > himself, with his head bowed; > he > > did not look up and did not say a word; and no one > disturbed him. As soon > > as they carried him out of the Sepulchre, the > people rushed in to venerate > > it. And I was deemed worthy to do the same. The > whole of Christ's > Sepulchre > > was wet, as though dampened by rain; but I could > not find out what it was > > from. In the middle of the Grave stood the large > lamp which lit itself and > > a great flame was burning. > > > > After the Liturgy each person went to his place, > and all congratulated > each > > other on the reception of the grace of the Holy > Fire. > > > > In the evening we all went to spend the night in > the church at Christ's > > Sepulchre. And when we came to the church we > beheld a wondrous and most > > glorious sight: the whole church, especially the > Sepulchre, was wondrously > > decorated with various silver and gold icons and > figures, and above a > > multitude of silver and gold-plated lamps, burning > with a great > brilliance. > > A host of candles made of white wax were set in > place, but not yet > burning. > > The whole church was hung with lamps; where there > was previously one lamp, > > now there were ten; I wanted to count them, but I > could not. Everywhere it > > was quiet and peaceful. The doors of the church > remained unlocked the > whole > > night through. The soldiers in the court started a > fire. And that night > was > > happiest of all: no matter where you went, you > would find joy everywhere. > > And not only was this joy in the Church of the > Holy Sepulchre, but all > over > > Jerusalem. The whole night people were walking > along the streets in > crowds; > > everywhere they were burning fires, and all the > monasteries were open. The > > Turks themselves became happy and meek, and went > in crowds to look at the > > Church of the Holy Sepulchre. > > > > Only the Jews locked themselves in their homes, > and not bearing to behold > > the light of truth, they stayed moldering in their > evil. The Latins, > > however, although they are the enemies of the > Eastern Church, celebrated > > with us. Although soldiers stood in the church > around the Sepulchre of > > Christ, they did not prevent anyone from > approaching the Sepulchre. Thus > we > > spent the evening until ten o'clock. Then at the > third hour before > midnight > > they began to call us to Matins on various > semantra, and with various > > rhythms all in a most solemn manner. The Patriarch > came with his whole > > assembly, and there was a most ceremonial meeting > for him. > > > > Then they began Matins. They chanted the canon > "The waves of the sea" > > completely, verse by verse, antiphonally, with the > heirmos and fourteen > > troparia. They chanted two hours. At that time > they lit the candles and > oil > > lamps around the whole church; in the domes > themselves more than a > thousand > > lamps were lit. We monastics all stood in the > altar. Then the Patriarch > and > > the metropolitans, archbishops, bishops, > archimandrites, abbots, priests > > and deacons and all the church clergy, having put > on all their sacred > > vestments, took twelve banners. The banners were > richly adorned; they had > > been presented by ancient Greek and Georgian > kings. They were sewn with > > gold and pearls. They bring them out only on > Pascha. Behind the Patriarch > > they carried a banner which took three men to > hold; it was sewn only with > > gold, and was an image of the Resurrection of > Christ of Russian > workmanship > > offered by Muscovite merchants. Then they gave > everyone large candles of > > white wax. They also lit candles and oil lamps > around the whole church. > The > > Sepulchre seemed as though it were one fiery lamp. > From the large candles > > in the hands of each person the whole church > became as though on fire and > > the domes of the church shone like the sun. Those > that were in the > > procession of the Cross took the Gospels, icons, > crosses, and the candles > > and went from the altar of the Church of the > Resurrection through the > royal > > gates directly to Christ's Sepulchre, chanting, > "Angels in the Heavens, O > > Christ our Saviour, praise Thy Resurrection with > hymns; deem us also who > > are on earth worthy to glorify Thee with a pure > heart." When they had gone > > in procession around the Sepulchre three times, > the whole concourse of > > clergy stopped opposite the doors of the > Sepulchre. Then the Patriarch > > himself read the Gospel of the Resurrection from > Matthew which is read in > > the evening on Saturday in the Liturgy. Then he > took the censer inside, > and > > censed the Grave of Christ. When he came out he > censed around the whole > > shrine and all the brethren. Then with all the > bishops he went into the > > Sepulchre of Christ, and there, having censed, he > exclaimed, "Glory to > holy > > and consubstantial and indivisible Trinity, > always, now and ever, and unto > > the ages of ages." The bishops exclaimed, "Amen." > Then the Patriarch > > himself with all the bishops, from within the > Sepulchre itself, chanted, > > "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down > death by death, and on > those > > in the graves hath He bestowed life." And they > chanted this three times. > > They did not chant in Russian, but only in Greek, > that is, "Christos > anesti > > ek nekron, thanato thanaton patisas, kai tis en > tis mnemasi zoen > > charisamenos." Then the chanters chanted and all > those standing around the > > Sepulchre of Christ chanted it many times. > > > > O what joy there was then, and who would not weep > for joy, beholding the > > Grave of their Saviour Jesus Christ before their > own eyes, standing empty, > > for He has risen from the dead! Who could not > thank their Creator Who had > > deemed them worthy to celebrate Holy Pascha, His > glorious Resurrection > from > > the dead, in the Holy City of Jerusalem, around > His very Grave and on that > > very spot where the mystery of our salvation was > accomplished? What pen > can > > describe our joy? Or who could explain it in > words? Which tongue could > tell > > of it? Only he can understand it who tastes of > this joy in the purity of > > his heart. How is it possible not to rejoice or to > be happy? We had > > gathered from the four corners of the earth, > Christians of different > > tongues, all gathered in one church. We all stood > around the Grave of our > > Saviour and were glorifying His glorious > Resurrection from the dead. In > > truth, all things were now filled with light; then > the canon of Pascha > > became for us real and clear. For that which we > were chanting, we were > > seeing with our own eyes. And with what feelings > did we exclaim to Sion on > > which we were standing: "Lift up thine eyes about > thee, O Sion, and see, > > for behold, from the west, from the north, and > from the sea and from the > > south as to a light by God illumined, have thy > children come to thee, > > blessing Christ forevermore" (8th Ode, 2nd Trop.). > Truly for us, holy and > > worthy of all solemn triumph is this redeeming and > radiantly effulgent > > night, the harbinger of the bright- beaming Day of > the Resurrection on > > which Light eternal shone forth in the flesh from > the grave for all. > > > > There was a litany. When they began to chant the > canon, they went into the > > great church; and on the Grave of Christ one > priest with a deacon began > > early Liturgy. In the great church they chanted > the whole canon. After > > Matins, without stopping, they began the Liturgy > also. The Patriarch > served > > with all the clergy in a most majestic and solemn > manner. They read the > > epistle in three languages: Greek, Slavonic, and > Arabic. The Gospel was > > read in many various languages: In Slavonic, they > read three, and the rest > > in Helleno-Greek and Greek, Latin, Turkish, > Georgian, Syrian, Arabic, > > Egyptian, and Abbysinian, and they read while > beating the semantron. > > Everyone stood through the Liturgy with candles. > We stood through and > > Matins and Liturgy in the altar. > > > > When Liturgy was finished, it had begun to dawn. > The Orthodox went to the > > Patriarchate, and there at the gates they gave to > each person two red > eggs; > > then everyone went to their place. > > > > By the way it was made known to all Orthodox > pilgrims that at the first > > hour in the afternoon they were to go to the > Patriarchal Church for > > Vespers. And so we went into the Patriarchal > Church. It was adorned and > > decorated with a multitude of lamps and candles. > They gave into each > > person's hand a large candle made of white wax and > we stood through the > > whole Vespers with candles. It was most solemn. > For the entrance there > came > > more than a hundred priests and a multitude of > deacons. In front there > were > > seven deacons with candles. Behind them they > carried twelve fans. They > went > > behind all the pillars. They read the Gospel like > they did at the Liturgy, > > in many languages with the ringing of the bells. > After Vespers there was > > food for the pilgrims. And then they opened the > Church of the Holy > > Sepulchre and the pilgrims went to venerate the > Tomb. There -- a mournful > > sight: everyone was weeping, all were wailing. > Everyone was embracing the > > Grave of their Saviour Jesus Christ, were wetting > it with warm tears, > > because the time had come to part with it and to > leave it forever. There > > was weeping and wailing all over the whole church; > and especially the > women > > were emitting loud sounds and wailing. And on all > the holy places the > > people were lying and did not want to get up. Thus > it was sad and grievous > > to part with Jerusalem and to be parted from the > life-bearing Tomb of > Christ. > > > > ________________________________________________ > > The monk Parthenius (Ageev) was born in 1807 of > Old-Ritualist parents in > > Jassy, Moldavia, and named Peter at Baptism. He > was a child inclined to > > reading, especially the spiritual books which his > parents had in their > > home. His soul was so influenced by these that at > age 13 he ran away to a > > nearby monastery, only to be brought back by his > parents after three > > months. As a young man he left Moldavia in search > of an Old-Ritualist > > monastery where he could give himself over to > Christ in the spiritual > life. > > Disillusioned by the divisions between the various > Old-Ritualist groups, > he > > visited the Russian Orthodox monastery of Sarov, > where he met the future > > Saint Seraphim. After returning to Moldavia and > spending time in two > > Old-Ritualist monasteries, he was received into > the Russian Orthodox > Church > > at the age of 30. He then went to Mount Athos and > entered the Monastery of > > St. Panteleimon. After being mistakenly arrested > and spending fourteen > > months in Siberia (during the persecution of the > Old Believers, while the > > abbot of St. Panteleimon's was away, Fr. > Parthenius was mistaken for an > > Old-Ritualist priest in disguise), he returned to > Mount Athos. He was > > counselled by his starets, the blessed Arsenius, > to return to Russia as a > > missionary among the Old Believers. He spent seven > years with the saintly > > Bishop Athanasius in Tomsk, Siberia, being made > igumen of Berlukov, and > was > > then commissioned by the Holy Synod to found > Guslitsy Monastery. He fell > > asleep in the Lord in 1878 in the Holy Trinity-St. > Sergius Lavra, where he > > had retired, and was buried there. > > > > Of Father Parthenius' numerous writings, the most > widely-read is his five > > volume work Report of the Wanderings and Journeys > across Russia, Moldavia, > > Turkey, and the Holy Land, in which are described > his diverse experiences, > > and acquaintances with many notable personalties. > Four volumes were > > published in Moscow in 1855, the fifth being > published posthumously by > > Archimandrite Nicon, after appearing in serialized > form in the review > > "Soul- Profiting Reading" between 1989-1901. Fr. > Parthenius journeyed to > > the Holy Land in 1845, shortly before the death of > his beloved elder. The > > following account of Holy Week and Paschal > services in Jerusalem and of > the > > miracle of the Holy Fire in 1846 is taken from the > second volume of his > > Wanderings. > > >



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