Orthodox America

  Pascha – Ransom from Sorrow

St. John Chrysostom

(Read in churches at the end of the Paschal Matins)   

Though Thou didst descend into the grave, O Immortal One, yet didst Thou destroy the power of hell, and didst rise again as Conqueror, O Christ our God, Saying to the myrrhbearing women, Rejoice! and giving peace to Thine Apostles, and offering to the fallen resurrection. Kontakion for the Feast, Tone 8

      If anyone is pious and a lover of God, let him take part in this bright and beautiful festival. If anyone is an honest servant, let him enter into the joy of his Lord and rejoice. If anyone has exhausted himself with fasting, let him now enjoy his reward. If anyone has worked from the first hour, let him receive today his just due. if anyone has come after the third hour, let him feast thankfully. If anyone has arrived after the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings, for even he will lose nothing. If anyone is later than the ninth hour, let him come without any hesitation. If anyone has arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not fear his slowness. For the Lord is generous and receives the last as the first. If gives rest to one who comes at the eleventh hour as to one who has worked from the first hour. And He is merciful to the last and provides for the first. And He gives to the former and bestows freely on the latter. And He receives their labours and welcomes their purpose. And He honours the act and praises the intention, Therefore enter all of you into the joy of our Lord, and let the first and the second receive the reward. Rich and poor, rejoice together. Strict and lax, honour the day. You who fast and you who do not, be glad today. The table is full; let all fare sumptuously. The calf is ample; let no one go away hungry. Let all take part in the banquet of faith. Let all take part in the wealth of His goodness. Let no one lament his poverty, for the common Kingdom has made its appearance. Let no one bewail his falls, for forgiveness has dawned from the tomb. Let no one fear death, for the Saviour's death has freed us. He quenched it by being detained by it. He Who went down into hell, despoiled hell. And hell was embittered when it tasted His flesh, Isaiah anticipated this and cried: "Hell, he says, was embittered when it met Thee below." It was embittered for it was emptied. It was embittered for it was mocked. It was embittered for it was destroyed. It was embittered for it was bound. It took a body, and encountered God. It took earth, and met Heaven. It took what it saw, and fell where it had not seen. Death, where is thy sting? O hell, where is thy victory? Christ is risen and thou art dethroned. Christ is risen and the demons have fallen. Christ is risen and the Angels rejoice. Christ is risen and life is liberated. Christ is risen and there is none dead in the tomb. For Christ has risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion to the ages of ages. Amen