Bright Saturday

Today is the seventh day of Bright Week, the joyful celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. In today’s Apostolic Reading, St. Peter again proclaims, “The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses” (Acts 3:15). The gospel returns to the theme of baptism, for our life in Christ through the mystery of baptism is the beginning of our share in Christ’s eternal resurrection.

The gospel today begins, “After this, Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing” (John 3:22). This is the only passage in the gospels that tells of Jesus baptizing, and he raised a theological problem: if Jesus baptized, would this be already the saving baptism in water and the Spirit. St. John, therefore, corrects himself in the next section of his gospel, “Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself was not baptizing, just his disciples), he left Judea and returned to Galilee” (John 4:1-3).

The icon posted here, from the Novgorod School, nonetheless depicts Jesus baptizing, a baptism that is life-giving. Whatever the meaning of John 3:22, as a people reborn in the Holy Trinity in the font of baptism, the life-giving baptism of water and the Spirit, today we seal the feast in the joy of our baptism, in which we died with Christ, so that we could rise with him in his resurrection” (Romans 6:3-4).

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras

Wasylyna Yukash fell asleep in the Lord

Wasylyna Yukash, 96, fell asleep in the Lord at her home on Saturday, March 24, 2018.

Friends may call at The Celentano Funeral Home, 424 Elm Street, New Haven, on Thursday, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Father Iura will pray the Panachyda service at 7:00 p.m.

The Funeral Liturgy will be served at St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church, 569 George Street, Friday, April 6, 10:00 a.m.

Mrs. Yukash’s obituary may be read here.

May Wasylyna’s memory be eternal!

Bright Monday

Hearing the story of the fearful passion of our Lord, one is struck by two things: he was opposed by the religious leaders of his people, and was branded as a blasphemer deserving of death. He was persecuted by the state for treason because he made himself a king. Jesus was rejected then by the powers-that-be just as he is rejected today by a world which worships only power and the hatred of the other. The disciples may have believed and loved Jesus, but they proved to be of no help, they ran for their lives. One denied him but then repented, another betrayed him and lost the gift of life. But! – look and see – what does God make of this wretched situation? He takes it and he turns it upside down, transforming it into a cosmic salvation of the world and the total destruction of death. It is as Isaiah prophesied: “For the Lord shall rise up as on Mount Perazim, be-stir himself as in the Valley of Gibeon, to carry out his work—strange his work! to perform his deed—alien his deed!” (Isaiah 28:21).

Today the power of the world and its worshippers are shown to be vain and empty. Today the Lord reveals true power, as we heard at the end of the Paschal Vigil Gospel, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)” And today, as he appears to his disciples in the upper room, saying: “‘As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (John 20:21-23).

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras


This is the “Feast of feasts.”

This is the radiant and glorious day of the Resurrection of our Lord.

This is a day of faith and hope and love.

Of faith – This is the day of resurrection, let us be enlightened by it … Fr. Taft told the story of a Russian Orthodox priest who said that there was no greater experience of faith than to live the brilliant and radiant night of our Lord’s resurrection, making the sign of the cross. We cannot truly celebrate Pascha without being transformed.

Of hope – “Christ is risen from the dead, by death he trampled death, and to those in the tombs he granted life. We sing our hope over and over again, this is our life, this is our hope of resurrection.

Of love – Pascha is the mystical marriage of Christ and his church:

Today, Christ has shown forth from the tomb as from a bridal chamber …”

It means love of one another, “let us embrace one another! Let us call “Brethren” even those who hate us and in the resurrection, forgive everything …

It is the day when God gives himself to us in communion for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.

It is the day when we forgive everyone, even those who hate us.

May the radiant joy of Pascha fill us all.

“Christ is risen.”

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras

A Paschal Sermon

The Catechetical Sermon of St. John Chrysostom is read during Matins of Pascha. This sermon is typically preached by the priest in Byzantine churches on Easter Sunday.

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived thereof. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.

And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.

Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

Holy and Great Friday Procession at the Parish 2018

Yesterday, those in attendance at the Holy and Great Friday service for the adoration and veneration of the Holy Shroud, formed an outdoor procession.

Holy Friday is the day that changed the world!

The Kondakion for the Liturgy helps us to understand the divine drama of the day: “Come, let us praise him who was crucified for us, for when Mary saw him hanging on the cross, she exclaimed: Though you endure the cross, still are you my son and my God.”



Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday, March 31

8:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great

4:00 p.m. Blessing of Easter Foods
5:00 p.m. Blessing of Easter Foods

6:00 p.m. Prayer at the Tomb —Procession and Paschal Matins

Holy Saturday

“It is finished!”

When Jesus died on the Cross, at that moment he trampled upon death by his death.

“He rose on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Why the wait?
First, our Lord was a pious Jew, part of the people with whom God had made a covenant. It was to perfectly fulfill this covenant that Jesus rested on the seventh day from his labors to begin a new creation on the eighth day.

“The great Moses mystically prefigured the present day when he said: God blessed the seventh day. For this is the blessed Sabbath. This is the day of rest on which the only-begotten Son of God kept the Sabbath in the flesh by resting in death from all his works according to the plan of salvation. Returning again to what he was through the Resurrection, he granted us eternal life. He alone is good and Loves us all.” (Doxasticheron of Holy Saturday)

By keeping the Sabbath, he fulfilled the Scriptures, as we profess always, “he rose according to the Scriptures.” This was to fulfill the sign of Jonah, who spent three days in the belly of the great fish: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 12:39). This day is the sign given to all believers.

Father Alexander Schmemann wrote that Holy Saturday manifests our life in the world. The Son of God was not subject to corruption, but we are mortal and must return to dust. Peter preached on Pentecost: “This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him. But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:23-24). But we are still held by the throes of death. This day is a reflection of our lives in the world. He live in the hope of resurrection and eternal life, but for now we must work to establish the kingdom of God in the world in which we live, a world that does not know Christ, a world in which we all must confront the mystery of death. Today we pray that God may give us the grace, the strength to “do his will, on earth as it is in heaven.”