Orthodox Bulgarians Celebrate Easter

Society | April 24, 2011, Sunday // 10:14|  views

The Paschal, or Easter service was officiated by 96-year-old Patriarch Maxim, the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, at Sofia's St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Thousands of Orthodox Christian worshipers in Bulgaria clutching candles crowded into churches Saturday night to hear the Holy Mass that celebrates Easter, the day when Jesus resurrected from the dead.

At midnight sharp, when the mass was over, as is the ritual, the believers were asked to go around the church three times, with their candles burning. There is a belief that if you have been a good Christian, your candle will not go out no matter how strong the wind might be, because you have no sins.

After all church ceremonies are over people gather around, exchange their colored eggs and carry out the ritual of cracking them.The eggs are cracked after the midnight service and during the next days. One egg is cracked on the wall of the church (and this is the first egg eaten after the long Great Fast). Each person selects his/her egg. The people take turns tapping their egg against the eggs of others, and the person who ends up with the last unbroken egg is believed to have a year of good luck.

On Easter people great each other with "Christ Is Risen" while the reply is: "He Is Indeed Risen."

On Sunday, all eparchies in Bulgaria serve the so-called "Second Resurrection" mass. The mass at the Sofia Sveta Nedeliya church is expected to be led, once again, by Patriarch Maxim. It will begin at 10:30 am.

A number of events and celebrations will be held across the country. In Sofia there will be an Easter concert on the summer stage at the Sveta Troitsa park and an organ concert at the catholic church St. Joseph. Open air concerts and sports tournaments will be held in many other cities and towns.

Bulgarian Orthodox believers start the preparations for the Resurrection Day with the Great Lent. Following the fifth Sunday of Great Lent is Palm Week, which ends with Lazarus Saturday. Lazarus Saturday officially brings Great Lent to a close, although the fast continues for the following week. After Lazarus Saturday comes Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and finally Easter itself and the fast is broken immediately after the Divine Liturgy. Easter is immediately followed by Bright Week, during which there is no fasting, even on Wednesday and Friday.

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, which his followers believe occurred on the third day (counting inclusively) after his death by crucifixion some time in the period AD 27 to 33.

We need your support so Novinite.com can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!

Tags: Easter, Palm, Lent, Jesus Christ, eggs, Resurrection Day, Orthodox, Christians, Holy Mass, Holy Week, Patriach Maxim.


» Related Articles: