Easter of Christ: the meaning and meaning of the main Orthodox holiday
The return of the Russian people to the faith of their grandfathers is of great spiritual importance. But not everyone understands what is meant by the resurrection of Christ, and why it was needed.
I believed in Christ already at a conscious age, but could not understand the true meaning of the sacrifice of Christ. Why did you have to die to rise? What is Easter of Christ in Orthodoxy?
In the article I will tell you about the meaning of the main Christian holiday. We will travel to ancient Judea in order to become imbued with the spirit of those times and experience all the events connected with the death and resurrection of the Son of God.
Secrets of the resurrection from the dead
The basis of the Orthodox faith is the resurrection of Christ. It was with the preaching of the resurrection that the apostles began their asceticism: to testify to the world about the Kingdom of God and the forgiveness of sins. It was thanks to the resurrection that all people were granted eternal life.
Therefore, Easter of Christ is the main holiday of the Christian world. This is the basis on which the Orthodox faith holds.
The Savior of the World, Jesus Christ, voluntarily accepted a martyr’s death for our sins, and on the third day he rose from the dead in a new body, revealing to the world the miracle of God’s salvation.
It was just on the eve of the Jewish Passover, when the Jewish people celebrated salvation from the punishing sword of the Lord. The angel of death passed by all the houses on the doors of which there was the blood of a sacrificial lamb.
This holiday is called Passover in Hebrew.
The body of Jesus was removed from the cross and laid in a tomb according to Jewish custom — entwined with linen (shroud) and anointed with incense. The cave, where the body of the Savior was buried, was intended for a rich Jew, who, out of grace, gave it to the burial of the body of Christ.
This man was a member of the Jewish High Court of the Sanhedrin, but he secretly visited Jesus and listened to his teachings.
The tomb was closed with a heavy stone and sealed, as the leaders of the Jewish people feared that the body might be stolen. The stone was so heavy that even the strongest men could not move it. It was this stone that was strong evidence of the resurrection of Christ.
When the students came to the cave on the third day, there was no body at the burial site. The seal was in place, the stone too — and the body of Christ miraculously disappeared.
When the angel of the Lord in a form of lightning descended from heaven and removed the stone, the soldiers guarding the coffin were filled with horror: the tomb was empty. The soldiers fled in fear, leaving the tomb unguarded.
Early on Sunday morning pious women came to the tomb to complete the procedure of anointing with fragrant oils. There was no limit to their surprise when they saw the empty tomb.
Women felt that the body was simply stolen. They went to the apostles to report the event.
When the apostles came to the tomb, they saw the swaddled clothes in place of the body. Soon they left for the city, leaving Mary Magdalene to mourn for Jesus.
The woman was in the tomb when two angels informed her of the resurrection of Jesus. At this time, Mary saw Christ entering the tomb, but did not recognize him.
Only when Christ called her by name did she recognize a familiar voice and rushed at the Savior’s feet. But Jesus forbade touching himself and told her to go to the apostles and report on his resurrection.
The warriors guarding the tomb went to the high priests to inform them of the disappearance of the body. This news greatly upset the leaders of the Jewish people, and they began to come up with a plan on how to dissuade the people in the fact of the resurrection of Christ. After bribing the guards, they told them to tell a story about how the disciples of Jesus secretly stole his body.
Unfortunately, the soldiers were taken to the word. Therefore, in the Jewish people very few people believed in the miraculous resurrection of the Savior — the Messiah.
The appearance of Christ in the imperishable body
After his miraculous resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples more than once, but the first thing he did was visit his mother Mary. The woman was comforted in her grief when she saw the living Son.
When Jesus met his followers, he said to all, «Rejoice.» It is time for great joy for people, because after the death of the body, the soul of Jesus descended into hell.
But being sinless, the soul of Jesus found eternal salvation and an immortal body.
For forty days, Christ appeared to his disciples and instructed them. More than 500 people witnessed his resurrection.
After forty days, Christ ascended to heaven in his immortal body and promised to return. From that memorable day (Ascension), all Christians await the second coming of their Savior and observe their souls and bodies in purity and holiness.
As Jesus promised, after 10 days, that is, on the 50th day after Easter, the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles in the form of fiery tongues. It was the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the formation of the first church on earth.
That day about 3,000 people believed in Christ.
Where was the soul of Jesus after death? He descended into hell, where the souls of all times were. In the Easter iconography, we can see how Jesus brings Adam and Eve out of hell, from whom the Fall came.
Together with the souls of Adam and Eve, Christ freed all the others who awaited his salvation. This is the whole essence of crucifixion and resurrection — the salvation of people.
Every year the Orthodox Church celebrates its main holiday — the Resurrection of Christ. According to the Old Testament teachings of all sinners awaiting punishment.
But Jesus Christ became the sacrificial lamb for the redemption of the sins of mankind. It was a priceless sacrifice that the God-man offered for all sinners on earth.
Jesus conquered death, gained an imperishable body, and showed everyone the way of salvation — through faith.
Therefore, the annual Easter liturgy begins with the exclamation «Christ is Risen!» Resurrection is the secret act of God, his will.
This is an action incomprehensible to the human mind that can only be taken by faith.
After the resurrection of Christ, death is considered a temporary sleep — assumption.
The holiday begins with a procession around the church under the sound of bells. With this action, Orthodox Christians recall the arrival of pious wives to the tomb.
Then begins the morning service before the locked church doors (symbol of the closed tomb of the Lord). After exclaiming “Christ is Risen!”, The priest opens the church door, which symbolizes an open tomb.
After that, all Christians hug and kiss each other. This action is called “christosovanie.”
Joy and triumph fills the hearts of believers, because they have found hope for eternal life in the palaces of the Lord. From this moment on, the doors to the iconostasis remain in the churches for a week, which symbolizes free access to the kingdom of God.
At the Easter liturgy, Artos is blessed with specially baked bread, symbolizing the bread of life. At the end of a bright week, Artos is distributed to the believers in pieces.
Up to the feast of the Trinity, believers do not kneel down and do not put belt bows. These are days of great joy, so all prayers are read while standing.
In many churches, all the Holy Week bells ring as a sign of Christ’s victory over death.
Why are painted eggs a symbol of Easter Christ? Because from the egg comes a new life. The Bright Resurrection of Christ is the victory of life over death.
Eggs are traditionally painted red, which symbolizes the blood sacrifice of Christ. He redeemed us with his blood, washed our sins in it.
This could only be done by the God-man, who Jesus Christ was — the Son of God.
The Jews at Easter celebrate the liberation from Egyptian slavery, the Christians celebrate the liberation from sins and death.
After his triumphant resurrection, Jesus established a new covenant between God and people, canceling the old one. From this point on, any believer in Christ becomes the heir to the kingdom of God, and death has no power over him. The apostle Paul tells us about this event:
Under the new covenant there is no more punishment, God’s mercy and love enters the rights. It is a covenant of love, joy, and everlasting bliss.
This is what the Savior of human souls gave us, so the whole Christian world is filled with joy and joy on a bright week.
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