Truly He is risen!

Χριστος ανεστη εκ νεκρων
θανατω θανατον πατησας
και τοις εν τοις μνημασι
ζωην χαρισαμενος

Christ is risen from the dead
by death trampling Death
and to those in the tombs
bestowing Life

This is the Paschal Troparion. The words and tune are as old as Christianity itself, and are part of its universal heritage, being found in all the many languages of the Eastern Church. This troparion is joyously sung at every opportunity during the Paschal season.

Χριστος ανεστη!
Αληθως ανεστη!

Christ is risen!
Truly, He is risen!

From Pascha Sunday until Ascension, the Orthodox greeting is “Christ is risen!” The response is, “Truly, He is risen!”

Life sleeps and Hell trembles

O Lord my God, I will sing to Thee a funeral hymn, a song at Thy burial: for by Thy burial Thou hast opened for me the gates of life, and by Thy death Thou hast slain death and hell.

All things above and all beneath the earth quaked with fear at Thy death, as they beheld Thee, O my Saviour, upon Thy throne on high and in the tomb below. For beyond our understanding Thou dost lie before our eyes, a corpse yet the very Source of Life.

To fill all things with Thy glory, Thou hast gone down into the nethermost parts of the earth: for my person that is in Adam has not been hidden from Thee, but in Thy love for man Thou art buried in the tomb and dost restore me from corruption.
Canticle One, by Mark the Monk, Bishop of Hydrous, Matins for Holy Saturday. The Lenten Triodion.

Today a tomb holds Him who holds creation in the hollow of His hand; a stone covers Him who covered the heavens with glory. Life sleeps and hell trembles, and Adam is set free from his bonds. Glory to Thy dispensation, whereby Thou has accomplished all things, granting us an eternal Sabbath, Thy most holy Resurrection from the dead.

What is this sight that we behold? What is this present rest? The King of the ages, having through His Passion fulfilled the plan of salvation, keeps Sabbath in the tomb, granting us a new Sabbath. Unto Him let us cry aloud: Arise, O Lord, judge Thou the earth, for measureless is Thy great mercy and Thou dost reign for ever.

Come, let us see our Life lying in the tomb, that He may give life to those that in their tombs lie dead. Come, let us look today on the Son of Judah as He sleeps, and with the prophet let us cry aloud to Him: Thou has lain down, Thou hast slept as a lion; who shall awaken Thee, O King? But of Thine own free will do Thou rise up, who willingly dost give Thyself for us. O Lord, glory to Thee.
Stichos, Tone Two, Matins for Holy Saturday. The Lenten Triodion.

Today hell groans and cries aloud: ‘It had been better for me, had I not accepted Mary’s Son, for He has come to me and destroyed my power; He has shattered the gates of brass, and as God He has raised up the souls that once I held.’ Glory to Thy Cross, O Lord, and to Thy Resurrection.

Today hell groans and cries aloud: ‘My power has been destroyed. I accepted a mortal man as one of the dead; yet I cannot keep Him prisoner, and with Him I shall lose all those over whom I ruled. I held in my power the dead from all the ages; but see, He is raising them all.’ Glory to Thy Cross, O Lord, and to Thy Resurrection.

Today hell groans and cries aloud: ‘My dominion has been swallowed up; the Shepherd has been crucified and He has raised Adam. I am deprived of those whom once I ruled; in my strength I devoured them, but now I have cast them forth. He who was crucified has emptied the tombs; the power of death has no more strength.’ Glory to Thy Cross, O Lord, and to Thy Resurrection.
Stichos, Tone Eight, Vespers for Holy Saturday. The Lenten Triodion.

The King of the Angels

Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the Cross.

He who is King of the angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns.

He who wraps the heaven in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery.

He who in Jordan set Adam free receives blows upon His face.

The Bridegroom of the Church is transfixed with nails.

The Son of the Virgin is pierced with a spear.

We venerate Thy Passion, O Christ.

Show us Thy glorious Resurrection!
From the Service of the Royal Hours, in the Ninth Hour, for Holy Friday.

A dread and marvellous mystery we see come to pass this day. He whom none may touch is seized; He who looses Adam from the curse is bound. He who tries the hearts and inner thoughts of man is unjustly brought to trial. He who closed the abyss is shut in prison. He before whom the powers of heaven stand with trembling, stands before Pilate; the Creator is struck by the hand of His creature. He who comes to judge the living and the dead is condemned to the Cross; the Destroyer of hell is enclosed in a tomb. O Thou who dost endure all these things in Thy tender love, who hast saved all men from the curse, O longsuffering Lord, glory to Thee.
From Vespers, Holy Friday

Joseph with Nicodemus took Thee down from the Tree, who deckest Thyself with light as with a garment; and looking upon Thee dead, stripped, and without burial, in his grief and tender compassion he lamented, saying: ‘Woe is me, my sweetest Jesus! When but a little while ago the sun saw Thee hanging on the Cross, it wrapped itself in darkness; the earth quaked with fear and the veil of the temple was rent in twain. And now I see Thee for my sake submitting of Thine own will to death. How shall I bury Thee, my God? How shall I wrap Thee in a winding sheet? How shall I touch Thy most pure body with my hands? What song at Thy departure shall I sing to Thee, O compassionate Saviour? I magnify Thy sufferings; I sing the praises of Thy burial and Thy Resurrection, crying: O Lord, glory to Thee.’
From Vespers, Holy Friday

Δοξα σοι, Κυριε, δοξα σοι

A Sword Anointed with Honey

‘Ye sleep again’, said Christ to His disciples. ‘Watch, for the hour draws nigh. Arise and let us go, My friends. For see, the disciple who shall betray Me comes with the whole band of soldiers, to deliver Me to the murderers of the prophets.’

‘Thy kiss is false and thine embrace is bitter. To whom, O liar, dost thou say, “Hail, Master”?’ said Christ to Judas. ‘Friend, why art thou here? For if thou hast come to kiss Me, why dost thou bring a sword anointed with honey?’

St. Andrew of Crete, from Canticle Nine. Compline for Thursday in Holy Week. The Lenten Triodion

The True Gospel of Judas

Ungrateful and envious in his wickedness, wretched Judas calculates the value of the gift worthy of God, whereby the woman gained release from the debt of her sins, and he trafficks in the grace of divine love. Spare our souls, O Christ our God, and save us.

Judas goes to the lawless rulers and says: ‘What will ye give me, if I deliver to you Christ whom ye seek?’ And so in exchange for money he rejects fellowship with Christ. Spare our souls, O Christ our God, and save us.

Unrelenting in blind avarice, how hast thou forgotten what Christ taught thee, that thy soul is more in value than the whole world! For in despair, O traitor, thou has hanged thyself. Spare our souls, O Christ our God, and save us.

St. Kosmas, Canticle Nine. Matins for Wednesday in Holy Week. The Lenten Triodion.