Pascha and the Twelve Great Feasts

The Feast of Feasts: Holy and Glorious Pascha (Easter) 

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Christ is risen from the dead and by His death he has trampled upon death, giving life to those who were in the tombs.  

The Troparion (Hymn) of the Feast

The Melkite Catholic Church celebrates the greatest day of the annual calendar on the same day as the Roman Catholic Church, which according to the Gregorian calendar always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following March 20th. The earliest possible date for Feasts of Feasts Holy and Glorious Pascha is March 22 and the latest possible date is April 25. One of the saddest remnants of the ancient division of Christianity is the lack of a common date for the celebration of Pascha. In the Orthodox Church, Pascha is usually celebrated according to the Julian calendar on the first Sunday after the first full moon following March 20th and after the Jewish Passover. The Melkite Church is deeply committed to the restoration of full communion between all of the Apostolic Churches, recognizing that “where there is the Eucharist, there is the Church.”

The Twelve Great Feasts

Presented in order of occurrence during the liturgical year. Each liturgical year begins on September 1.

September 8 The Nativity of the Theotokos, the Mother of God
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On September 8thwe celebrate the Nativity of our Lady, the Most Holy Mother of God, and ever-virgin Mary. Holy Ann is more blessed than all mothers until the Virgin becomes a Mother in her turn. On September eighth, she brings into the light of day the woman who will give birth to the infinite light. By her holy prayers, o our God, have pity on us and save us. Amen

Synaxarion of the Feast

September 14: The Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Holy Cross       

On September 14th, we commemorate the universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross. Seeing Your Cross elevated, the whole creation lifts up its voice to praise Your exaltation, O Savior. On the fourteenth, the cross was elevated on Sion. Through the power of Your Cross, O Lord, save us. Amen.

Synaxarion of the Feast

November 21 : The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple 
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On November 21, we commemorate the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. By an angel, the Virgin is nourished in the Temple. He will soon return with a salutation, bringing her the joy of the annunciation. On the twenty-first, Mary makes her entrance into the Temple. By the prayers of the Theotokos, O Lord, take pity on us and save us. Amen.

Synaxarion of the Feast

December 25The Nativity According to the Flesh of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ
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On December 25, we celebrate the Nativity according to the flesh of our ‘Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. God himself is born; his mother is a virgin. The whole creation has never seen a greater wonder. On the twenty-fifth, /god became the Son of the Virgin Mary, and a cave became His dwelling.

Synaxarion of the Feast

January 6The Theophany of Lord  
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At Your baptism in the Jordon, O Lord, the worship of the Trinity was revealed: For the Father’s voice bore witness to You by calling You His beloved Son, and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truth of these words. O Christ who has appeared to us, and enlightened the world, glory to You.

Troparion of the Feast

February 2: The Presentation of the Lord in the Temple                                                       
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Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word!
For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation,
Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
A light for revelation to the gentiles, and for glory to Thy people Israel!

Hail, O full of grace, Virgin and Mother of God, from you has arisen the Sun of Justice, Christ our God, enlightening those who stand in darkness. You, too, O just Elder Simeon, rejoice for you carry in your arms the Redeemer of our souls, who grants us resurrection.

Troparion of the Feast

March 25: The Annunciation
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“Be it done to me according to your word”

“My soul magnifies the Lord and …” 

On March twenty-fifth, we celebrate the annunciation of our most holy Lady, the Mother of God, and ever-Virgin Mary. The Angel made the annunciation to the Virgin that she would have as her Son the Angel of Great Counsel, the very Son of the Father. On the twenty-fifth, Gabriel announced to you who are as pure as a lily the marvel that the spirit would work in you. To Him be power and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Synaxarion of the Feast

Moveable Feast (Sunday before Pascha): Holy and Glorious Palm Sunday
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“Hosanna to the Son of David”

On this day, which is Palm Sunday, we celebrate the glorious and radiant Feast of the Entrance of ‘our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. He who once stretched out the sky as a tent-cloth by His divine word, today is seated upon the foal of a donkey, seeking to raise mankind who had fallen and become like beasts. Wherefore, through Your indescribable mercy, O Christ, enable us to overcome our beastly passions; and make us worthy to behold Your brilliant triumph over Death and Your wondrous and life-giving Resurrection; and have mercy on us. Amen.

Synaxarion of the Feast

Moveable Feast: The 40th day of Pascha, The Ascension of Our Lord
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“You ascended in glory, O Christ our God…”

You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, and gladdened Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Through Your blessing, they were confirmed in their belief that You are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world!

Troparion of the Ascension

Moveable Feast: The 50th day of PaschaPentecost
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Blessed are you, O Christ our God, who have filled the fishermen with wisdom by sending down the Holy Spirit upon them; and who through them have caught in your net the whole world. O Lover of Mankind, glory to You!

Troparion of Pentecost

 August 6: The Great Feast of the Transfiguration  
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On the mountain, You were transfigured, O Christ our God, and Your Disciples saw as much of You glory as they could hold so that when they should see You crucified, they would know that You suffer willingly, and would proclaim to the world that You are the Splendor of the Father.

Kontakion of the Transfiguration

August 15The Dormition of the Theotokos      
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On August 15, we commemorate the venerable Dormition of our Lady, the Most Holy Mother of God and ever-Virgin, Mary. It is not surprising that the Gate of Salvation fell asleep in bodily death, since You, the Creator of the world, had submitted to it. Although she died on the fifteenth, she lives forever. By her holy prayers, O our God, have pity on us and save us. Amen.

Synaxarion of the Feast