Awake O sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light
The ancient Churches (both Orthodox & Catholic) celebrate our Lord's
Resurrection for a total of forty days in remembrance of the forty days He
remained on earth teaching His chosen Apostles.  After our forty day
period of spiritual preparation (
The Great Fast) and a week of meditation
upon the Lord's last days leading up to His Crucifixion (
Great Week), we
regard the Resurrection as the
Festival of festivals and far too glorious to
be celebrated by a single day!
The English word Easter, according to the Modern Catholic Dictionary,
comes from the Anglo-Saxon "
Eastre," the name of the Teutonic goddess
of dawn and spring.  When the pagan Germanic peoples were evangelized,
they retained the use of the title of this pre-Christian, spring festival
because the feast of the Resurrection coincided with it.  Thus
Easter  
carries the connotation of the season of the rising sun and new life in Spring.
Since the Greeks, Latins and Armenians were evangelized before
Christianity's spread to Anglo-Saxon lands, these Churches use the
primitive title of the feast of the Resurrection -
Pascha- which comes from
the Aramaic word for
Passover.  In the New Testament the Greek word
Pascha is rendered into Armenian by the word Zadeeg (cf. 1 Cor 5:7).
The Orthodox Study Bible explains, "Originally Pascha designated the
Jewish Passover:  now, it is the Feast of the Resurrection of Christ.  Christ
is the Lamb of God whose sacrifice delivers the faithful from death, as the
sacrifice of the passover lamb delivered the ancient Jews from slavery and
death in Egypt (Ex. 12; 13; 1 Cor. 5:7, 8)."  Thus, as the
Catechism of
the Catholic Church
explains, "Passover remains a Christian theme
of observance
" (CCC #1170).
Our family would like to pass on to you the following triumphal messages
announcing our Lord's victory over Death and to wish you all a very
Holy
Pascha
(Soorp Zadeeg), a Happy Easter and a Blessed Christian
Passover!  What follows are Paschal greetings, Christian homilies and
hymns, and other texts which illuminate the ancient Christian understanding
of Christ's Resurrection as
the ultimate and final Passover.  

That we may know Him and the power of His resurrection!
-Rev. Sub-Deacon Lazarus & the Der-Ghazarian Family

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~  
Paschal Greetings in many of the world's languages

~  
The Lamb that was Slain has delivered us from Death
A Paschal Meditation by St. Melitos of Sardis (2nd c.)

~  
Christ's Harrowing of Hades - Ancient Christian Writings

~  
The Descent of Christ into Hades by Bp. Hilarion Alfeyev

~  
The Weakness of God is Stronger than Men  A Great
Resurrection Homily by Saint John Chrysostom (5th c.)

~  
The Paschal Homily of Saint John Chrysostom (5th c.)

~  
Hymn on the Resurrection of our Lord by the Armenian
Catholicos-Patriarch St. Nersess the Grace-filled (12th c.)


~
Paschal Homily / Reflection for St. Thomas Sunday
by Sub-Deacon Lazarus Der-Ghazarian


~  
The Resurrection of Christ in the Symbol of Faith

~  On the Passion of the Christ:  Why Did Jesus Have to Die?
by Rev. Sub-Dn. Lazarus Der-Ghazarian, M.A.

~  Home page of the
St. Gregory the Illuminator Institute

Christ is risen from the dead!
By death He trampled Death
and upon those in the tombs
He granted life!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Description of the Paschal Icon:

The Icon of the "Harrowing of Hell" above shows Christ
standing over the broken gates of Hades
(depicted as coffin lids in the form of the Cross).
Christ pulls up Adam and Eve out of Hades by their hands.
On Christ's left, Moses, Isaias & Elias look on.
On His right are the Old Testament kings David and Solomon
along with the Baptist, St. John the Forerunner.
Below Christ's feet, Death (personified) is trampled upon.

"After, He willingly came to suffer and be crucified and
died in the body, yet lived in His divinity."

"His body was placed in the grave united with His divinity;
and, with His spirit undivided from His divinity,
He descended into Hades.  He preached to the souls in
Hades, destroyed Hades and delivered them."

"After three days, He rose from the dead
and appeared to the disciples."

-from the
St. Gregory of Datev Symbol of Faith
"I Am the Resurrection and the Life...
he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die."
-
The Gospel of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ
According to St. John 11:25-26
The Passover of our Lord Jesus Christ
-from death unto Life!
For indeed Christ, our passover, was sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast... -1 Cor 5:6-8
Holy Pascha