From OrthodoxWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

I think the mention about New Skete's preference "of Pasch" over "Pascha" is probably superfluous. It's another one of their eccentricities (not that I'm giving a value judgment here, it's just clearly not standard for Orthodox in North America). The discussion on Easter defintely needs to be expanded or else I think it should be cut. It seems to me Easter is Germanic usage, and I would defend it as a valid localization. That said, most places around the world still use "Pascha" or some derivative - i.e. in Indonesian, a Protestant or a Catholic would greet one another with Selemat Pascha for Happy Easter. We should note too that Canadians say "Pascha" in such as way as to rhyme it with "Itasca".


Agreed and updated. (How does one say "Itasca"?) --Rdr. Andrew

"Itasca" is like Chaska, Shasta, Tabascah ( = "tabasco" in southern Appalachia?)!

On another note, I think the worry about "Easter" and it's pagan origins neglects the important connection between the timing of Pascha and natural religion. (This goes for Christmas as well.)"The first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox" - that's not an accident. It's the flowering of Spring, tied in with the cylces of the spheres!

There's a cool etymological point to make with pascha too. In Hebrew, as you mention, it's pesach - referring of course to The Passover feast, etc. Also there's a sense of "passing over into the dawn" here. In Greek, it's accidentally associated with the verb pascho, to suffer. Of course, we can see in that the gracious and marvellous sacrifice of Christ for our salvation. Cool, eh?


I disagree that mentioning the English translation of Pascha is superfluous, but then I've been infected with the monks' desire to translate into English wherever possible. It is certainly an eccentricity: They're a monastery; they can get away with calling things whatever they want, because they don't interact much with the rest of the world. In the secular world, we have to use language that everyone else uses in order to be understood.
I agree with the expanded discussion of Easter. The discussion of Independence Day is probably a little biased towards a compatibilist understanding of the term Easter, but that may be unavoidable.
I think that Fr John's point about the coincidence with natural religion is important, too. I think Fr Alexander Schmemann suggested at one point having two different dates for Easter: One for the northern hemisphere and one for the southern. In any case, the discussion should make note of the similarities and differences. --Basil 15:07, 15 Jan 2005 (CST)

That's an interesting point about the two dates for Easter. Do you remember where he says that? Also, re: Pasch, what is English? What makes sense in terms of mathematical linguistics (precise conjugates or whatever) doesn't always make sense for practical usage. In accord with our style guidelines, and the desire for NPOV, I don't mind if eccentric readings or perspectives are mentioned in footnotes (or some equivalent). I just think for the main body of texts, things should be kept pretty mainstream. If a good portion of the English speaking world adopts Pasch, well then we'll change it.

Also, I think that OrthodoxWiki articles should be descriptive rather than prescriptive. Your personal arguments or preference for a particular position may indeed be quite valid. I don't think it would be bad to create some pages off of your personal page to explain and expand your perspective on things, arguing prescriptively for a certain reading. It seems to me that we should explicitly encourage that, as long as it can be done with charity and respect in a spirit of dialogue-- Again, just let this take place on Talk pages like this or on your personal page (which can indeed become a small personal site).

FrJohn 15:14, 17 Jan 2005 (CST)

I certainly do not intend for articles to be prescriptive. I am too eccentric myself to go around prescribing what others should do. (I do enough of that foolishness on my own website, anyway.)
As far as the etymology of Pasch is concerned, it has a long history as an English word, which I'm sure a reading of its entry in the Oxford English Dictionary would reveal. I do not have a copy handy (!), nor am I close to a good library. My guess would be that it comes from the French Pasque. The American Heritage states that Pasch has been in the language since Middle English. I'm not against borrowing from Greek or Russian when necessary, I just happen to have a preference for the peculiarities of English when possible.
But then, that would get us into a discussion of the devolution of the English language, a topic for a rather different place and time, I am sure. :)
Unfortunately, I do not remember where I read that about Fr. Alexander and the two dates. If I recall, I will be sure to make it known. On my talk page, perhaps? ;) Right now, my once voluminous library has either been sold off or is in another's care, or I would try to track it down. --Basil 20:29, 17 Jan 2005 (CST)
"As far as the etymology of Pasch is concerned, it has a long history as an English word" - Hey, didn't know that. That's interesting too! English has a lot of words from French and German, so I guess "Pasch" was in the running for awhile, but the Germanic version won out! Didn't mean to sound accusing there about the "prescriptive" part... I'm grateful for your contributions! FrJohn

I'm something of a logophile (i.e., a word geek), and I've not heard of Pasch before now. That doesn't mean it hasn't been around, though, just that I hasn't encountered it. My 1973 OED records it as referring to (Jewish) Passover since 1200 and to the feast of the Resurrection since 1131. It also lists the term as "archaic" or "historical," though, which means it wasn't in much use when the entry was put together.
I think we can agree that "Pascha" is the most common form today, though. In any event, I'll make a note about "Pasch" in the entry. --Rdr. Andrew 06:26, 18 Jan 2005 (CST)

Communing at Pascha

I laughed out loud when I read the following: "Many parishes take the Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom literately and commune all Orthodox Christians who are in attendance." It reminded me of my attendance at two different Pascha liturgies in the same parish. One year I was struck by the fact that, despite St John's exhortation for "fasters and non-fasters alike" to receive communion, the priest made his usual exhortation that those who had not fasted could not receive. The other year I noticed he moved St John's homily until the end of the liturgy after communion. So situated, St John's exhortation to come to the feast could only be interpreted as referring to the lamb dinner served in the parish hall after the liturgy! I do think that, if we are going to use St John's homily (and we should), then we ought not to follow practices at the same liturgy that blatantly ignore his exhortation. --Fr Lev 06:54, March 7, 2007 (PST)

As one priest put it though, Pascha is 40 days, so even those who come at the eleventh hour have 39 more days to properly prepare for communion. I think the Paschal homily refers to those who have not fasted during the 40 days. It does not mean that one should walk in after having just wiped the ketchup from his cheese burger from his face, and without having gone to confession, receive holy communion. Most priests are hearing confessions before the midnight office. If someone came to confession then, they would literally be coming at the 11th hour, and would be communed if they had made even the slightest attempts to properly prepare themselves. Frjohnwhiteford 20:41, April 20, 2007 (PDT)

The reference was not to the eucharistic fast, but to the Lenten fasting rules. And in the parish referenced there were no confessions heard that day. --Fr Lev 20:43, April 21, 2007 (PDT)

Byzantine practice

I've made a few notes in the article, but at this point, its description of the celebration of Pascha is mostly based on the Slavic practice. This still needs expansion to include, for instance, the ceremony of the knocking on the doors to the tomb and the Gospel from Mark chanted during Orthros. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs 08:21, March 21, 2007 (PDT)

Blessing of foods

The article says "Foods from which the faithful have been asked to abstain during the lenten journey are blessed and eaten only after the Divine Liturgy."

Does it mean (in some places) foods which were abstained are blessed after the Divine Liturgy? I am in Japan, whose tradition is heavily influenced by the Russian tradition, and there our custom seems the priest blesses foods (mainly eggs) after the Matin and before the First Hour.

Of course we took no food before the Divine Liturgy! --Cat68 00:52, April 9, 2007 (PDT)

There seems to be some variation on this point, which can certainly be noted in the article. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs 06:50, April 9, 2007 (PDT)
It looks the main problem was that it was unclear whether "only after the Divine Liturgy" was modifying "bless" or "eaten." I have adjusted this so that when the blessing occurs is not identified, and I have retained a reference to eating after the Liturgy. I think this should sufficiently clear up the confusion. --Basil 09:44, April 20, 2007 (PDT)
In answer to Cat68: actually, yes, at my Antiochian parish here in Austin, Texas, the foods are both blessed and eaten after the dismissal at the end of liturgy. In either case, Basil's modification looks good. Gabriela 20:26, April 20, 2007 (PDT)

Thank you for your editing, now it looks me much clearer. Gabriela, thank you for your information it's quite interesting. How lovely to learn diversity among traditions :) --Cat68 04:15, May 2, 2007 (PDT)

Diversity tag

Summary: I removed the diversity tag after making adjustments.

I made a few adjustments so that various traditions were noted. I don't believe this is complete by any stretch. I think at least now no one should say, "We don't do that!" Obviously, not every single little ritual difference is going to be covered in an encyclopedia article; I've just attempted to cover the basics.

However, if it should be felt that still more work should be done, feel free to stick it back on. --Basil 09:51, April 20, 2007 (PDT)

Celebration of the feast

This section needs a major revision in that the celebration begin with vespers. A section for vespers (or vesperal liturgy, or vespers with liturgy of St Basil) should be added. Why: Pascha doesn't start at midnight: it's no different from any other day of the year in that it starts with vespers the evening before. In this case vespers is combined with the divine liturgy of St Basil on Holy Saturday. At this service standard hymns of the resurrection are sung in tone 1, which is the tone of the day of Pascha; the resurrection gospel is read; the colors are changed to bright colors. Indications are that it's Pascha, and liturgically it is Pascha. Of course, the explosive celebration is held off until midnight, so that we don't say "Christ is risen" or sing the paschal troparion until midnight; the canons say the fast must continue till midnight; and this of course is because Christ didn't rise on Saturday afternoon but during the night. But liturgically it's Pascha by the time you're midway through the vesperal liturgy; certainly by the time the gospel is read and the colors are changed. The transition begins with the singing of resurrectional hymns at Lord, I have cried, just like on any other day of the year. According to the typicon (Moscow typicon at least) the timing of the St Basil's Liturgy is the latest in the year. Fr A Schmemann wrote of the "genius" of the Byzantine division of the feast into two parts: the Holy Saturday liturgy and the midnight service. In earlier times baptisms of catechumens would occur between the two services.

And then a mention of the reading of the book of Acts, since that comes after the vesperal liturgy and concerns the life of the Church after the resurrection; and a section about midnight office (or nocturne) should be added, because obviously that comes after the vesperal liturgy but before paschal matins. That the canon of Holy Saturday is re-read at nocturne shows that at that point, we're still waiting (in a sense) for the rising, even though the resurrection has been announced earlier in the day and we know the Lord is risen. The troparion (apolytikion) of the resurrection in Tone 2 is sung ("When you descended to death, O life immortal ...") because it mentions the descent into hades, the slaying of hades, and the raising of the dead from the depths (topics of Holy Saturday)