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Bright Week

The Lord remained on Earth after His resurrection exactly 40 days. During this time, the services of the Orthodox Church return us to the night of Holy Easter. "Christ is risen!" — we greet each other and kiss thrice. Especially festive, joyful and majestic is the first week (Church Slavonic "sedmitsa," or seven days) following Easter, which is called Bright.

On Bright Week "all and all" — is Christ, Christ the resurrected. The fast, the time for crying and sorrowing, is over, the entire world is singing and glorifying the Lord. Each day in the morning, upon the conclusion of the liturgy, there is a procession, symbolizing the going of the women myrrh-bearers to the grave of Christ. The praying walk in the procession with lit candles.

All the services of Bright Week are served with open Royal doors, so that any one of us can see the church ritual in full detail. Open Royal doors symbolize the Lord’s grave, from which the Angel rolled the stone away. On this week there is no fast on Wednesday or Friday, but it is necessary to avoid overeating, which is so easy to do after the long fast.

On Friday of Bright Week is the commemoration of the icon of the Mother of God "The Life-Giving Font," and water is blessed after the liturgy. On the next day, on Great Saturday, the faithful are given pieces of the artos. There are no marriages or prayers for repose (panihidas) on Bright Week. Funeral services are performed, but more than half of the service consists of Easter chants.

The Resurrection of Christ — is the cornerstone of the Orthodox faith. The Apostle Paul teaches: "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain" (1 Cor. 15:14). The joy of the Easter night — is a breach into the Heavenly Kingdom, the beginning of the endless joy of Heaven. How happy were the saints, such as the Ven. Seraphim of Sarov, who became worthy of continually having the memory of the Resurrection in his soul, and who met every person coming to him with the words: "My joy! Christ is risen!"

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OFFSITE: Beginning Orthodoxy, Part 2 - The original article.
OFFSITE: Orthodox Church in America - Photo on this page comes from the OCA's site.