So, in lieu of a detailed post about the content of my work and/or home life, I am going to share pictures and a video (!!!--big deal for me, that.) which document this Paschal season for me. I posted last on Great and Holy Friday, with pictures of our just-then-blooming tulips. The next day, which was Holy Saturday, our tulips finally opened up! Well, a few of them anyway...
|Ready to greet Christ's Resurrection...|
|Opening up toward the sun.|
That same morning, I sang at Vesperal Divine Liturgy for Holy Saturday, where the plashchanitsa was still out from the night before, and remained so until that evening at Paschal Nocturnes. Parishes traditionally decorate the plashchanitsa (epitaphios in the Greek tradition, and referring to the shroud that has depicted on it an icon of Christ asleep in death) with flowers--the result is meant to bring to mind Christ laid in the tomb. Here is ours:
|All Saints Orthodox Church, Olyphant, PA,|
Holy Saturday 2012 --
I love how vibrant the flowers were this year :)
I also attempted to capture some audio (via video) of our church choir singing the absolutely beautiful Paschal hymns. For any readers who are unfamiliar with Orthodox Christian worship, in Orthodoxy the choir helps pray the service with the clergy (on behalf of the people), and all of the music is traditionally sung a cappella. Being an Orthodox choir singer is one of the things that is fundamental to who I am--it is that important to me--the role it plays for me is bigger than I can adequately describe, in terms of keeping my sanity in this life.
Today, I managed to upload one of the videos (which again is really just audio, as the video's image is of our choir loft ceiling) to my YouTube account--an account which until now I only had by virtue of being a user of Google products. On the tech side of things, I feel very accomplished! This is my first video upload ever to the interwebs...long overdue, no doubt. The piece in the video is the 9th Ode of the Canon for Matins of Holy Saturday...I know, that's a mouthful! Put more simply, it's one of the brief but utterly beautiful hymns that captures the Paschal spirit so well. It is a hymn to the Mother of God, written from the perspective of her Son who is now (at this point in Holy Week) laid in the tomb. Anyway, I'll let the words speak for themselves, but here is a video containing audio of my church choir singing this piece, often referred to by its first line, "Do not lament me, O Mother" (I am singing soprano/melody in this recording...it was a small group that morning, so it may just be me on soprano, I can't quite remember now. The words of the piece are typed out in this post just below the video.):
Do not lament me, O Mother,
seeing me in the tomb,
thy son conceived in the womb without seed,
for I shall arise
and be glorified with eternal glory as God.
I shall exalt all who magnify you in faith and in love.
So, that was Holy Saturday. Then came Pascha! Yay! I have no pictures of that celebration, but suffice it to say, it was a beautiful occasion.
Bright Week (the week immediately following Pascha) was truly bright in that the sun came out and stayed out for most of it! Which meant the entire tulip bed woke up, their little heads lifting themselves up to the sunlight (fitting, no?).
|Bright Thursday: click on it to see it enlarged--it's worth it :)|
And they've been open ever since, though my husband tells me their time may be coming to an end, as early spring transitions into mid/late spring in our neck of the woods (God willing this week, in terms of temps at least!). This afternoon I did get two more pretty shots of our other tulip bed--this one devoted to red lovelies, right by our flag pole. The afternoon light lit them up so beautifully today...
|My husband has a good eye--these are so picturesque placed like this.|
And note the other tulip bed in the background on the left--
bright happy blooms, even in the shade.
|I didn't edit this photo at all. They really are this vibrant, even more so if|
you click to enlarge. :)
So, even if these tulips go soon, for now they somehow help me participate more fully in the Paschal season, which lasts for 40 days after the great feast itself (which for us this year fell on April 15th).
That's it for flower images from me, for the time being. Before I end this post, it occurred to me, as I was describing earlier how important to me church choir singing is, that today is also my 7th (liturgical) anniversary since joining the Orthodox Church. I was Chrismated into the Orthodox Church on the Feast of the Holy Myrrhbearers in 2005. As I posted to Facebook today, that moment was a paradigm shift in my little corner of the universe if there ever was one. And, in the spirit of this post, here's a picture from that day 7 years ago:
|Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection, NYC|
(my first parish home)
Feast of the Holy Myrrhbearers 2005
Now I need to go and get mentally ready to face the week. (3 more weeks...just 3 more weeks...)
But, as it's still Pascha (yay for feasts that last 40 days!), and I need to remember this as I face the stress of another over-crammed week (Aside: I will likely reread this post throughout the week as a reminder of beautiful, green, vibrant, melodic, uplifting things.), the only appropriate way to end this post is to say, again:
Christ is Risen!!!