This is the day which the Lord has made

CRIST aras! Crist soþlice aras!

(The Paschal greeting, in Old English)

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An icon of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

"Christ is risen! Truly he is risen!"

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“GO”, he says, “tell my brothers that they should go to Galilee, and they shall see me there”.

Oh, what wonderful loyalty on the Saviour’s part, what wonderful generosity!

Those whom, before his Passion, he was accustomed to call “disciples”, and at other times even “servants”, these same people, after his Resurrection, he calls “brethren”,

to show that in rising again he has taken up once more the condition of that same humanity which he had worn before, and also to raise them up to the crown of immortality, to be earned, to be hoped for, the crown in which he himself now in his own flesh surpassed [them].

It was well thought out, that he should announce that he was to be seen by the disciples in Galilee; and what the holy Gospels declare in the ensuing passages, he showed mystically in this act, and recommended both the truth of his resurrection, and the advance of our spiritual life.

‘Galilee’, of course, is interpreted to mean ‘a journey made to another country’. [A view taken by Pope Gregory I.]

And happily he was seen in Galilee by his disciples, he who had now ‘journeyed over’ from death to life, from corruption to incorruption, from torment to glory, so that he might impress upon us the victory of his resurrection not only by the display of his body and the urging of his words, but also by the name of the place in which he would appear and speak.

Old road from Rosh Pina to Safed in the Galilee, Israel

"Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me". The old road from Rosh Pina to Safed in the Galilee, Israel

But we shall be able to delight in the same joy of his resurrection as it was then, only if we now take the trouble to ‘journey to another country’, from the seduction of vice to the works of virtue.

Consequently, it is a matter of the utmost concern, my brethren, that, since we know the time of the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, since we are celebrating his feast, we should by unbroken advances in good works ‘journey to another country’, to heavenly contemplation.

Because we do not know the time of our own resurrection (which however we can be in no doubt is going to be), let us conduct ourselves with particular watchfulness on this night especially, in expectation of it.

Let us pray him in his pity, who soon sublimely overcame the death he humbly took upon himself for our sake, that at the time of our resurrection he will grant us to ‘journey over’ from death to life.

Let us ask him, who is Christ our Passover, sacrificed for us (1 Cor 5:7), that he will stand surety for us, both to accomplish worthily the festival of Paschal joy now beginning, and also through it to reach eternal glory.

St Bede (+735), monk of Jarrow. Sermon IV (“Vigilias nobis”) for the Paschal Vigil. This is my amateur translation.

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CHRIST has risen from the dead,
by death he has trampled on death,
and to those in the graves given life.

THE Angel cried to her that is full of grace, ‘Pure Virgin, rejoice!, And again I say, Rejoice! For your Son has risen from the tomb on the third day’.

Shine, shine, O New Jerusalem, for the glory of the Lord has risen upon you; dance now and be glad, O Sion, and you too rejoice, pure Mother of God, at the arising of him to whom you gave birth.

(Translations from Anastasis.)

“Christ has risen”, softly chanted in Greek by monks of the Varlaam Monastery in Russia. The harmonisation grows with each verse, and finally gentle bells can be heard.

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