Christ is Risen! Our Church is replete with occasions for expectation and fulfillment. We just completed the greatest experience of this with the Great Fast and Pascha. And so we quickly turn toward our newest expectation which is Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Interestingly, and very tidily, there are forty days before Pascha in which we fast and prepare for the Resurrection, and there are forty days after Pascha until the Ascension of our Lord (the Antiochian Archdiocese has no fasting during this period, incidentally). And then ten days after Ascension we have of course, Pentecost, meaning “the fiftieth day” essentially.
We have entered into a new time of expectation, waiting for fulfillment. One component of this you might have noticed is that we do not say the prayer “O Heavenly King” during this time. Because we are anticipating the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and we are celebrating Christ’s Resurrection, we say instead the prayer, “Christ is risen from the dead trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.”
As you say your daily prayers, this is a good opportunity to be reminded of this. It prolongs the celebration of Pascha for the fifty days and prepares us to receive the Holy Spirit. And we also have the opportunity to read through the Gospel of John and the Acts of the Apostles. Expectation and fulfillment: the Orthodox life.
Christ is Risen!
~ St Nektarios Orthodox Church, Waxahachie, Tx.