Orthodox Easter in Fargo, ND

Although most Christians in America celebrated Easter a week ago, for Eastern Orthodox Christians, today is Easter.  In the Orthodox Tradition, Easter is called “Pascha,” Greek for Passover.  This is because for Orthodox, the Cross and the Resurrection go together as one overarching salvific event, something that might not always be so obvious, as I note in a review article of Gibson’s The Passion of Christ, here:

http://www.unomaha.edu/jrf/Vol8No2/herbelGibson.htm

Pope Gregory XIII changed the calendar for Roman Catholics late in the sixteenth century (and Protestants followed suit–an irony?), resulting in two different Easter/Pascha dates for Western and Eastern Christians.  The one notable exception of which I’m aware is the Orthodox Church in Finland which, being a state church, actually celebrates Pascha at the same time Western Christians celebrate Easter.  Otherwise, the dates normally do not align (though every few years they do).  Orthodox continue to follow the dating for Pascha/Easter established at the First Ecumenical Council in Nicea in 325, at which Pascha/Easter was determined according to the Jewish lunar calendar and Passover.  It is for this reason that Western Easter may occur prior to the Jewish Passover some years while Orthodoxy’s Pascha does not.

The Paschal service is celebrated with a service beginning at 11:30pm at night, so that at midnight, the first shouts of “Christ is risen!” may be heard.  Following the conclusion of the service in the early morning hours, Orthodox believers in Fargo share in enjoying foods from which they have fasted during Lent.

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