Historical Acts of Jesus Christ that Changed the World!

For the Word of the Lord endureth forever.” {1 peter 1:25}

 Historical Background of Pascha (Easter)

 

Feasts and Fasts are significant religious events and observations "In that awaken the spirit and faith of man. The center of all festivals P and celebrations of the Christian Church is the Christian Pascha. Its heritage is recorded in the Old Testament as the main observance of the Jewish religion; its Christian incidents occupy the Golden Pages of history; its meaning is the cornerstone of the Scriptures and becomes the main objective of faith, devotion and inspiration for the Christian. The Christian Pascha is the treasure of the Church which has adopted it as the great ineffable monument.

 

The Christian Pascha is not only Easter, but also includes the Lord's Supper and His Crucifixion. These three extinct events of the last hours in the life of Jesus Christ must be considered as one in meaning for His redemptive work. The fact that these events are a part of history and are considered a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies, they are followed by some outward links between Old Testament references and New Testament statements.

 

The sacrifice of the lamb in the Jewish religion is considered a pattern for the Christian Pascha, in which the victim is Jesus Christ Himself. In that the Christian Pascha is of the highest im­portance for the believer, it requires a thorough study of its deep meaning for salvation and of its historical circumstances and pre­suppositions, as well as its observances in the Christian Church. Therefore, the subject of Pascha will be divided into three treat­ments. First, the historical circumstances and presuppositions as they are recorded in the Old Testament, New Testament and the Apostolic Tradition of the Church; second, the deep meaning of the Christian Pascha as the redemptive work and sacrifice for the salvation of the Christian believer; third, a summary of the rich hymnology and devotion of the Eastern Orthodox Church. By such devotion the believer commemorates this very important work of God, and by participating, communicates with God Himself.

 

Herein only the first treatment will be presented. The other two are included in separate issues "The Last Events in the Life of Christ" and "Holy Week in the Eastern Orthodox Church".

 

In reference to the historical circumstances and presuppositions of the Christian Pascha, some adopted observances recorded in the Bible will be explained. Answers to some questions should serve to make more steadfast the faith of Christians. The questions include: What is the connection be­tween the Lord's Supper, and His Crucifixion and Resurrection? On what day did each of these incidents take place? Why is the celebration of the Christian Pascha not fixed on a certain day? Why is the Christian Pascha always on Sunday? Why does the Orthodox Church, as it did from the beginning, still use leavened bread, unlike other Christian Churches which, since the turn of the second millennium, changed to unleavened bread? How does the Christian Church calculate the date of its Pascha? These questions and others, though they are of a practical significance, contain the funda­mentals for a deeper study of the Christian Faith.

 

PASSOVER IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

 

Passover is the English equivalent of the Hebrew pesah, the Aramaic pasha, the Greek pascha, faska by Josephus, and pascha in the New Testament. It is claimed that the word from which it is derived might be the Greek pascha, from the verb pascho which means suffer, to be afflicted, to be in evil plight; eu paschein to be well off, or to receive benefits. The Jewish Passover is the most distinctive festival of the Jewish Religion.' Its origin, significance and method of celebration are given in Exodus 12:1-49; 23,18; 34,25.

 

The Jewish Passover, as it now is known, was instituted in commemoration of the freeing of the Hebrew people, under the leadership of Moses and by the miraculous act of God, from the slavery of the Egyptians. God commanded the slaughter of a lamb, without the breaking of any of its bones, by each Jewish family, and the anointing with its blood of the upper part of the door of each house. This was a sign for the Angel of God, who protected the first-born of the family from death. This observance is a vivid remembrance for the faithful Jew who today still par­ticipates in its annual celebration, the Jewish Passover festival, according to prescribed ritual. The Jewish Passover feast begins on the evening of the 14th of the month Nissan, theoretically a full moon, and lasts seven days.

 

Various special dishes are served and only unleavened bread may be eaten during the festival in memory of the fact that the Jews, hastening from Egypt, had no time to leaven their bread. The observance of the Jewish Passover feast is extremely elaborate. Among its characteristics are several pertinent facts to the present treatise. At noon the 14th of Nissan, the leavened bread is eaten, or burned. It is succeeded by the days of unleavened bread (cf. Luke 22:1). after a ceremony in which the Hallel (cf. Psalm 113, 118) is recited, and the preparation of the sacrifice follows.

 

The lambs are killed, skinned and the sacrificed portions (cf. 3,1-5) offered with incense on the altar; the lamb is roasted in an earthenware oven, a spit of pomegranate wood put in at the mouth, passing through the vent.

 

The meal is partaken with wine, the first cup with bitter herbs and the haroseth, which is a paste of dates, raisins and other ingredients combined with vinegar. A second cup of wine is followed by the haggadah, or showing forth (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:26—Ye proclaim) the significance of the Passover lamb, the bitter herbs, and the unleavened bread. After the second washing of hands, pieces of the unleavened cakes are dipped in the haroseth and handed to everyone in the group. Then the Paschal lamb is eaten, and a third cup of wine is filled and drunk. This is known as the cup of blessing (cf. 1 Cor. 10,16). Other observances take place until the 21st of Nissan, when the feast ends.

 

THE CALENDAR

 

The present treatise deals with the historical period of Jesus Christ and the way it corresponds with the Old Testament heritage. This was taken under consideration in the Christian Church, es­pecially in the Eastern part of the Church. For this reason some information on the calendar, which should be borne in mind for a better understanding of this treatise, will be presented.

 

1. The earth completes its orbit in 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 36 seconds, which is the length of the solar year (measured by the earth's course in relation to the sun); the moon passes through each phase in 29 days, (12 hours, 14 minutes, 2.8 seconds) so that 12 lunar (measured by the moon's revolution) months (called a lunar year) come to 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes. The problem of the calendar has usually been to harmonize solar and lunar reckonings. The surplus of the solar over the lunar year (365 days to 354) can be somewhat rectified in three years by adding a month of 33 days, an intercalary (extra) month.

 

2. The Julian Calendar, which was calculated by the astronomer Sosigenes by the authority of Julius Caesar, pontifex maximus, in the year 46 B.C., has 365 days and 6 hours, hence a little longer than the actual recurrent cycles in nature. According to the Julian Calendar, every year divisible by four is considered a leap year.

 

3. To correct the discrepancy, the Gregorian Calendar was introduced in the 16th century (1582), by which time the accumulation of a surplus of ten days had displaced the vernal equinox from March 11 to March 21. It was ordained that thereafter the years ending in hundreds should not be leap years unless they are divisible by 400. For instance, 1700 and 1900 are not leap years; 2000 is a leap year because it is divisible by 400. It is understood that otherwise every fourth year continues to be a leap year according to the Gregorian calendar, too.

 

4. The Jewish calendar is an adjustment of the lunar calendar to the solar year. It consists of 12 lunar months with an addition of one intercalary (extra) month of 30 days, which occurs seven times in 19 years. The inter­calary month is added before the month of Nissan. During the month of Nissan, which anciently was considered the first month of the year, the great festival of Passover takes place. Every lunar month starts with the new moon; consequently the 14th to the 15th of the month is approximately the full moon. The month of Nissan is one of the twelve lunar months of the Jewish calendar and corresponds approximately with March-April of the Gregorian calendar.

 

5. Each day of the week of the Jewish calendar starts from the sunset of the preceding day. For instance, the 15th day of Nissan starts from the sunset of the 14th day and ends the evening of the 15th. Nevertheless, for clarity, the evening of a particular day will be referred to as the same day. For instance, the evening of the 14th of Nissan is referred to as 14th Nissan, although this evening is considered the beginning of the next day, the 15th, as far as the celebration is concerned. In the Orthodox Church the custom of observing a celebration by beginning with the evening of the preceding day has been retained. For instance, Saturday evening at Sunset is the beginning of the celebration of Sunday, although the date is not changed in the everyday usage.

Crucified?

 

6. Watch (Hour) of the day in the Jewish calendar is a three-hour period of time by which the day is divided. The first watch starts at 6 a.m. and ends 9 a.m. The third watch starts at 9 a.m. and lasts until 12 noon. The sixth watch starts at 12 noon and ends at 3 p.m. The ninth watch starts at 3 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m. The celebration of the next day begins at 6 p.m. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes the watches "Hours", and has special services theoretically every three hours of the day. At sunset the Vesper Service begins for the next day's celebration.

 

On What Day was Jesus Christ Crucified?

 

The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, a tragic event of history, marked the climax of His Life on earth. The Church of Christ has distinguished this particular day from all others. On this day Christians rededicate their lives to Christ. The four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, agree that the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified was the day of Preparation for the Sab­bath, which is called Friday. Friday is the same as the "Day of Preparation" in the order of the days of the week according to the Jewish calendar. The word Friday in English is not a literal translation of the word "preparation", as it is in Greek: Paraskevi. The four Evangelists refer to this day with certainty in the fol­lowing passages. Joseph of Arimathea asked for the body of Jesus, when evening had come, since it was the day of preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Mark 15:42. It was the day of preparation, and the Sabbath was dawning, when this good man laid it (the Body) in the rock-hewn tomb, Luke 23:54. St. Matthew adds that next day, that is, after the day of preparation, the chief priests gathered before Pilate and asked the sepulchre to be made secure, (27:62). St. John also stresses the point that the day of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ was Friday: Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover when the Jews cried out, Away with him, Away with him, crucify him, (19:14). Also the unnailing of the Body took place on the same day since it was the day of prep­aration, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the Sabbath (for the Sabbath was a high day) . . ., (19:31). The entombment, according to the same Evangelist, was in a new tomb . . . so because of the Jewish day of preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there, (19:42). As far as the day of Crucifixion is concerned, then, it is unanimous and explicit that Friday was the day of preparation for the Sabbath.

 

On What Date Was Christ Crucified ?

 

1. FRIDAY,   THE   14th   OF   NISSAN

The 15th of the month of Nissan was dedicated to the Jewish Passover, beginning with the sunset of the 14th. The question has been raised if this particular Friday on which the Cruci­fixion of Jesus Christ took place fell on the 14th or the 15th of the month of Nissan, for the sources are not very clear. For clari­fication of the date one must consider the Lord's Supper as well as the Passover itself in order to examine the circumstances and the order of the events.

 

The Evangelists Mark (14:12-14), Matthew (26:17-19) and Luke (22:7,8,11,15,16) seem to indicate that the last meal of Jesus Christ and His Disciples was eaten at the conclusion of the regular Passover meal. St. Luke says that it was the desire of Jesus to eat this Passover with His Disciples. According to the first three Evangelists (Synoptics), the evidence of an order suggests many features of Passover meal; for example, the family group with Jesus presiding, the prayer of thanksgiving, the cups (Luke 22:17,20), the breaking of the bread, the solemn attitudes, the exposition and the conclusion with a hymn.

 

Although the order suggests the features of the Passover, the same Synoptics contain hints that the Supper was not a regular Passover meal. St. Mark (14:1-2) states that two days before the Passover feast the priests resolved to capture Jesus. This capture actually took place after the Lord's Supper. If the particular Friday on which Jesus was crucified fell on the 15th of Nissan (the very day of the Passover feast, which started on the preceding evening after sunset), all the activities which took place would have been considered contrary to the prevailing customs and the law of rest. Such activities as the arrest of Jesus with swords, the meeting of the Sanhedrin, the release of the prisoner, the lowering of the dead body from the Cross, are actions which would have been illegal and contrary to custom if they had taken place on the day of the Passover feast.

 

It is evident that the Crucifixion took place before the Passover feast. Because the Crucifixion took place on Friday, the Passover feast began after this; that is, after the sunset of the 14th of Nissan, which is considered a part of the 15th day. It could be concluded then that the Friday of the Crucifixion was the 14th and not the 15th of the month of Nissan and that consequently the "Last Sup­per" was not a Passover meal.

 

The Evangelist John states that now it was the day of prepara­tion of the Passover and about the sixth hour (12 noon) when the Jews, still in the Praetorium, cried out, away with him, away with him, crucify him (19:14-15). He also says that they themselves did not enter the praetorium, so that they may not be defiled, but might eat the Passover, John 18:28, which indicates clearly that Jesus died on the afternoon of the day (14th of Nissan) before the Passover. This inference is strongly reinforced by St. John (13:1,29) when he says, Now, before the feast of the Passover.. . Jesus was telling him (Judas) buy what we need for the feast.. . So after receiving the morsel he (Judas), immediately went out; and it was night. It is certain, then, that the "Last Supper" of Jesus took place not on the evening when the Jewish Passover started but on the evening preceding it. It must be concluded then, that Jesus' Last Supper took place on the 13th of the month of Nissan and not on the 14th.

 

2. LORD'S SUPPER AND INSTITUTION OF HOLY COMMUNION

The Evangelists do not refer to any circumstances or objects included in the Passover meal, such as the lamb. This is a "sig­nificant omission". It is significant that in the Lord's Supper there was only one cup, while at the Passover meal each participant has his own cup from which to drink. Equally significant is the fact that Christ at the "Lord's Supper" draws no parallel between the Paschal meal and the Christian sacrament. At the Lord's Supper Christ presents a loaf of bread as the symbol of His Body, while for the Passover meal the roasted lamb is the significant symbol. It is important to note that some Christian churches always cele­brated the Pascha on the 14th of Nissan, the date of the Cruci­fixion, whatever the day on which it fell, not only Sunday. These Christians were called "Fourteensters" from the number 14, the date of the Crucifixion. They would have been called "fifteensters" if Christ was Crucified on the day of the Passover Feast, the 15th of Nissan. This is further evidence that the Friday of the Crucifixion fell on the 14th of Nissan.

 

The Evangelist Luke mentions that the feast of the Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover, (22:1) and continues, then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying 'Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat it' (22:7-9) . . . and they prepared the passover (cf. v.13); at this time the Lord said, “I shall not eat it”(never eat it again, RSV), (v.16). It would seem that this passage is contradictory, but it is not neces­sary to assume that the "preparation" here means for the same day. It could mean that the day was approaching and that the paschal atmosphere had begun to develop among those who gath­ered for the Passover feast.

 

The reference to the first day of the Unleavened Bread, on which the Lord's Supper took place, need not mean that it was the first day of the Passover with which it is usually identified. The first day of the Unleavened Bread can mean that it was the first day of its preparation, and not the first day of its eating. The Jewish people were not permitted to eat the unleavened bread apart from the Paschal lamb.

 

The fact that Jesus sent only two disciples to prepare the Pascha gives evidence that it was not for the preparation of the lamb, but the preparation of the room in that crowded city. Because it was necessary for all members of the group to be present when the lamb was killed, it was unlawful for the two disciples to prepare the Paschal lamb alone. It was impossible for Jesus and His group to have eaten the ritual Passover meal one day before the official starting of the Passover feast. The conclusion is that Christ did not eat the ritual Passover meal Thursday evening, the 13th of Nissan. Whether or not it was a meal is incidental. Attention should be focused on the purpose of Christ, which was to institute the Christian mysterion of Communion with the patterns of bread and wine as His Body and His Blood.

 

The understanding that the Last Supper was not the Jewish Pass­over prevailed throughout Christendom for many centuries. Thus the entire Church used leavened bread, not unleavened, for the Holy Eucharist. So it is clear that the entire Christian world for centuries never did identify the Mystic Supper with the Jewish Pascha. The Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church continues to use leavened bread. Neither the contents, nor the date of the celebra­tion, nor the elements and their manner of use, nor the giving of thanks at the Mystic Supper were similar to the Jewish Passover.

 

3. CONCLUSION

It is clear, then, that the institution of the "Lord's Supper" was an independent inauguration of a new concept which was destined to remain the most significant treasure of the Church. Although some of the customary features of the Passover feast were included, such as the family group, the prayers of thanksgiving, the breaking of the bread and the concluding hymn, the Lord's Supper was entirely new and separate from any other custom of the Passover feast. There was a custom among Hebrew teachers of gathering with their disciples to drink from "the cup of love" on the evening of the 13th (now Thursday) of Nissan. The teachers and their dis­ciples on those occasions discussed subjects of the higher spiritual life. They did not pronounce the ritual words of the Jewish Passover, nor had they the lamb or the unleavened bread and the bitter greens, or anything else relative to the ritual of the Jewish Passover. The Passover took place the next day, the evening of the 14th, called the day of preparation. Probably it was this "cup of love" gathering which took place on the Thursday evening in question.

 

The Hour of the Crucifixion

 

What was the hour of the Crucifixion? To determine accurately, it must be remembered that the Hebrew day was divided into three-hour periods (watches). The first watch began at 6 a.m., the third at 9 a.m., the sixth at 12 noon, and the ninth from 3 p.m. unto 6 p.m., when, after the setting of the sun, the new day began. The Christian Church preserved this custom in certain services, such as the office of the "Hours" and especially in the Vesper Service which always refers to the celebration of the following day. For example, the Vesper Service of Saturday evening refers to the events of Sunday and is sung in the tone of Sunday (see Calendar).

 

Bearing in mind this division of the day into watches, it is easy to determine the time of the Crucifixion by referring to the state­ments of the Evangelists. At this point, St. John seems to differ from the other Evangelists, especially from St. Mark. St. Mark relates that, it was the third hour (9 a.m.) when they crucified him, (15:25). And when the sixth hour (watch; 12 noon) had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour (3 p.m.), (v.33). And at the ninth hour (v.34) . . . Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last, (v.37). Referring to the un-nailing, St. Mark continues, And when evening had come (v.42) . . . Joseph went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus (v.43) . . . and he granted the Body to Joseph (v.45). According to St. Mark, then, the Crucifixion took place at 9 a.m. The darkness was at 12 noon and Jesus breathed His last at 3 p.m. St. Luke relates only that it was now about the sixth hour (12 noon), and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour (3 p.m.) . . . he breathed his last, Luke 23,44,47. The Evangelist John states that now it was the day of preparation of the Passover and about the sixth hour (12 noon), (19:14) when the Jews still being in the praetorium were answering Pilate's questions crying, Away with him, away with him, crucify him, John 19:15.

 

The Evangelists are not interested in details which in themselves do not affect the essence of the Event. Nevertheless, there is no substantial difference in time, for St. Mark mentions specifically the three-hour intervals in describing what took place (the Cruci­fixion, the darkness and the death) without implying, of course, that the Crucifixion began promptly at the very first minute of the Hour (watch). It seems that St. John expresses the matter more logically saying, "about" the sixth Hour, which means around 12 noon. This could be approximately at the end of the Third Hour, as mentioned by St. Mark.

 

It would seem that the trial of Jesus required longer than three hours, even if it had started at the beginning of the first hour, 6 a.m. This was the time set for the official trial by the council of chief priests and presbyters, even though for all practical purposes sentence had been imposed during the night. Many events transpired during the official proceedings which conceivably could not have taken place during a brief three-hour period. Formal charges pre­sented before the Roman procurator, Pilate; a full and comprehen­sive account of the night interrogation of Jesus; the mocking; the hesitation and doubt of Pilate as to the guilt of Jesus; the sending of Jesus to Herod, and Pilate's attempts to vindicate Jesus; the return of Jesus to Pilate; the freeing of Barabbas; the narration of the dream of Pilate's wife; the dialogue between Christ and Pilate; the washing of the hands, the tragic journey of Jesus bearing the Cross to Golgotha, which was a distance of about three-quarters of a mile; the incidents enroute; and finally the preparation for the Crucifixion; all are referred to by the Evangelists, and would have required far longer than 180 minutes, if Jesus really were Crucified at the beginning of the Third Hour (9 a.m.).

 

St. John wrote his Gospel later than the Synoptics, and appears to correct the time and date of the Crucifixion, asserting that it took place on the day of Preparation, Friday, the 14th of Nissan, around the "sixth hour (watch)", which could be before or after­noon, on Golgotha, just outside the walls of Jerusalem. The Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church has accepted and preserved St. John's account concerning the time.

 

In conclusion, the Crucifixion, which took place on a certain day — Friday — which means the day of Preparation, was the day before the beginning of the Jewish Passover. Because the day of the Jewish calendar started officially on the preceding evening, it is understood that the official Jewish Passover ritual started at sunset of Friday the 14th of Nissan. After the sunset of the 14th is legally the beginning of the 15th; consequently it is included in the 15th day of the month. Therefore, the evening preceding is considered both the 15th as the beginning of the Passover meal and the 14th as part of the calendar day.

 

The Passover feast, which always falls on the 15th of Nissan (beginning with the sunset of the 14th, which is theoretically a full moon), took place in the year of the Crucifixion on Saturday. The ceremonial killing of the lamb occurred the preceding day, Friday. The Passover meal started after sunset of the 14th, Friday evening.

 

The Resurrection of Christ

(Sabbath), the day after the Crucifixion, was the first day of the Jewish Passover, the 15th of Nissan. The Passover lasts for seven days to the 21st of the month. This Sabbath was a day of strict rest from work, explaining why the myrrhers could not go to the tomb on this day to anoint the Body of Christ. On this day, also, the chief priest asked Pilate to give orders that the sepulcher be secured until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away, Matthew 27:64. The chief priest's request was granted, be­cause according to the law it was forbidden for Jews to work on this day. At the same time, this request in itself was human assur­ance that no one would steal the Body, enabling His disciples to tell the people he has risen from the dead, Matthew 27:64.

 

The Resurrection became known on the first day of the week . . . while it was still dark, John 20:1; at early dawn, Luke 24:1; very early on the first day of the week, Mark 16:2; towards the dawn of the first day of the week, Matthew 28:1, all referring to the dawn of the first day after the Sabbath. This day is Sunday, and originally it was named by Christians, Kyriake, the day of the Lord, to commemorate this great Event.

 

Many appearances of Jesus Christ took place after His Resurrec­tion and are recorded in the Gospels. In St. Matthew, Christ appears to the two Marys near the tomb, and then later to the eleven in Galilee (cf. Mtt. 28:8-10, v.l6). In St. Mark, Christ appears to Mary Magdalene, to two disciples walking in the country, and to the eleven, but the location of these appearances is not given (cf. Mark 16:9,12,14). In St. Luke, Christ appears to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, and also to Peter and to the eleven. The second and third appearances occurred in Jerusalem (cf. Luke 24:13-26). In St. John, Christ appears to Mary Magdalene near the tomb and to the disciples (except Thomas) on the same day ap­parently in Jerusalem; to the eleven (including Thomas) eight days later at an unnamed place; and again to seven of the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias (cf. John 20:11-19, and 21:1-2). It was due to these appearances of Christ after His Resurrection that the Disciples radically changed their attitudes and established immutable convictions and faith in Christ, and spread His Gospel throughout the world.

 

The interval from the death of Christ to His Resurrection was about 39 hours. Christ died at the beginning of the ninth hour, (3 p.m.) Friday, and His first appearance took place at dawn (6 a.m.) the first day of the week, which is Sunday for Christians, (from Friday, 3 p.m. to Saturday, 6 a.m., 15 hours; Saturday 6 a.m. to Sunday 6 a.m. 24 hours; total, 39 hours).

 

The passage of time was not three full days and nights, a period of 72 hours, but parts of three "days". This has never been considered as contradictory to the three-day Resurrection, for this period extended in part over the three-day span: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The "three-day" Resurrection had been prophesied in the Old Testament and explicitly by Jesus Himself, saying destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up, John 2:19. By this Christ was implying the Resurrection of His own Body, not the temple of Solomon. The high priests did not understand, and accused Him of blasphemy. This recalls an earlier incident when even His own disciples did not understand Him.

 

The following is a summary of the sacred Events of the latter part of the last week in the life of Christ, pertaining to Pascha, the climax of which was His Crucifixion and Resurrection.

 

wednesday, the 12th of Nissan, Judas dealt with the chief priests to betray Jesus Christ, his Lord.

 

thursday, the 13th of Nissan, Jesus sent two of His disciples to "prepare" for the Passover meal. On this day, after sunset (which legally is considered the beginning of the following day), the "Last Supper" took place. Whatever supper it was, if any, it was not the Passover meal. At this time Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist (Communion) as recorded in Luke (22:19-20); Christ used leavened Bread and wine and said This is my Body . . ., This is my Blood. During this night Christ's betrayal, His agony and prayer, His arrest, His trial, and Peter's denial took place.

 

friday, the 14th of Nissan, the hearing before the council, the mockery of Christ, Jesus before Pilate and Herod, His condem­nation, His Crucifixion, His last Seven Words, the un-nailing of His Body and His burial took place. The Crucifixion occurred at about 12 noon, and the un-nailing about 3 p.m. The Passover feast started about 6 p.m. at sunset, which was the legal beginning of the Passover Feast, the 15th of Nissan.

 

saturday, the 15th of Nissan, was the first day of the Passover Feast, and the laws of rest prevailed. For this reason the myrrhers did not go immediately to the tomb to anoint the Body of Christ. sunday, first day of the week in the Jewish calendar, early in the morning, the new era of the glorification of the Lord and His Church began. Christ had Risen, indeed. Christ's appearances, be­ginning early in the morning changed the attitude of His disciples, thus inspiring their faith and strengthening their will to preach His Gospel and pronounce vigorously Christ's Message of salvation to mankind. They carried on the mission, and handed it down to other disciples and ambassadors throughout the centuries and to far-flung lands.

 

Determination of the Date of  Pacha (Easter)

 

The determination of the time of the celebration of the Christian Pascha was of primary importance, because irregularities in its observance could divide the Church. The First Ecumenical Synod, in 325, officially determined the time of the Christian Pascha, despite the fact that its main purposes were the formulation of the orthodox faith, which was defined by this Council in the first seven articles of the Symbol of Faith, the Nicene Creed, and defending the divine truths of the Church against Arianism. However, there is no canon of this Council, known to anyone regulating the date of Easter. Zonaras, a 12th century scholar of canon law, comment­ing on the first canon of the Synod of Antioch, 341, said, "there is nothing to be found concerning Easter in the proceedings of the First Ecumenical Synod", or, if there is something other than the canon, he did not know of it, because the minutes of that Synod were unavailable to him. But Balsamon, another 12th century com­mentator of canon law, stated, "the problem of Pascha is not spe­cifically found in the canons of the Synod of Nicaea (the First Ecumenical Synod), but it is found in the minutes of that Synod". The seventh Apostolic canon forbids the celebration of the Pascha before the spring equinox or during the celebration of the Jewish Passover. Furthermore, Blastaris in 1335 compiled a list of annual dates of the Paschal celebration, which are the sources for the determination of date of the Christian Pascha.

 

For the determination of the time of the celebration of the Chris­tian Pascha, then, two elements have been taken into consideration: in the first place, the Jewish Passover, whose pattern had been es­tablished in the Old Testament to prepare Christians to participate in the New Pascha, for Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed, 1 Cor. 5:7; and in the second place, that the Jewish Passover started with the full moon of the 15th of the month of Nissan, in the spring season. Having in mind these conditions, the leaders of the churches did not specify a permanent date in the calendar as they had, for instance, the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, although they were without assurance that the baptism of the Lord took place on that particular day. The feast of Pascha was ordained to be a moveable feast in the calendar because of the various phases of the moon towards the earth. In the third place, the actual day of the Christian Pascha was to fall always on Sunday, the day of Christ, inasmuch as it was the day of Resurrection, which has always been considered the center of Christian faith and salvation. As a matter of fact, in the Eastern Orthodox Church every Sunday's Divine Liturgy service is the reenactment and commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ.

 

The Eastern Orthodox Church preserves unaltered this tradition of the ancient Church, not only in its doctrines, but in its worship and in its rich hymnology as well. Kyriake, Sunday then, has in substance the whole content of the Christian Pascha, and it has been selected as the day for the annual remembrance of the Pascha. Therefore, the Church opposed other tendencies such as that of "fourteensters", who celebrated the Christian Pascha on the 14th of Nissan, whatever day of the week on which it fell.

 

The First Ecumenical Synod, taking into consideration all these facts, determined and ordered that, first, the Christian Pascha will always follow the Jewish Passover, which was the pattern and preparatory step for the Christian feast. Second, since the vernal (spring) equinox falls on March 21, the Synod determined in a specific way that the Christian Pascha will be celebrated (1) the first Sunday after (2) the full moon which falls (3) after the spring equinox. The determination of the time of the celebration of the Christian Pascha utilizes both the lunar calendar, as does the Hebrew calendar, and the solar calendar, which is used today. The Church also accepted March 21 as the beginning of the Spring Equinox. Third, the Christian Pascha is closely related to the Jewish Passover, for the date of the celebration of the Christian Pascha should take place only after the Jewish Passover, and in conjunction with the other three conditions. Later, other conditions which are exceptions to the rule, were taken into consideration.

 

The Roman Jurisdiction of the Catholic Church and Protestant Churches have abandoned the last condition, that is the Jewish Passover, and have preserved only the first three conditions. The Eastern Orthodox Church preserves all four. This is one of the main reason for the different dates of Pascha in the Eastern Orthodox (Orthodox Catholic) and Western Churches. Since the Orthodox Easter falls after the Jewish Passover (the 15 of Nissan), the Passover is the main factor, which motivates the dating of the Orthodox Easter. Therefore, the Orthodox Easter depends upon the Jewish calendar. Very seldom does the full moon after the Vernal Equinox play a role in the designation of Orthodox Easter. Therefore emphasis is focused on the Jewish Passover rather than on she full moon after the Vernal Equinox.

 

THE SIGNIFICANCE  OF  CHRIST  ON  EARTH

 

Dates and places are significant for historical facts and events which play a role in the life of nations and peoples. A pivotal event in history is related to the Person of Jesus Christ, His life and His influence on mankind. The coming of Christ divided history into two distinct Eras, Before Him (B.C.) and After Him (A.D.) This division of history did not take place only as far as time is con­cerned, but also as far as the interpretation and purpose of life and the relationships of nations and men are concerned.

 

The last hours of Christ's life, when He inaugurated the divine mystery of the communion of man with God, was lifted on the Cross and with open arms embrace again mankind in love and sacrifice, rose from the dead, restoring His glory and establishing His Church forever, all these events have been unforgettable vivid remembrances for His devoted followers throughout the centuries.

 

These sacred events of the life of Christ, which have been kept alive with zeal in the hearts of His believers, were recorded on scrolls and parchments, and preserved in monuments to be handed down from generation to generation to all, constituting the Golden Page in the life and history of mankind.

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"Prejudice Makes Prisoners of the Hated and the Hater"

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because...

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that I can't hear what you are saying" (+Thaddeus)

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  The Founding of Orthodoxy 

How Many Times

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The Demise of Marriage And Dissolution of the Family

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PaschaLenten Season - Easter 2006

Lent 2006 Message (New)

Who are the Modern Day Pharisees and Sadducees who abuse the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ? (New)

     Go to "Commemorations" for daily Commemorations, or When Viewing a News Article click on the link to either the Return to "Home Page" or Daily News for 2006 for today's current Daily/weekly News and Information or the:

2006 NEWS ARCHIVE

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     Our Daily/Weekly News and information gathering has enlarged.  As a result, we will be posting, on the entry page, only those current News and Informational Items for the day/week.  All other news and informational items for previous days in the month will be moved to our Archive Pages for that month and year, as shown above... 

     Also... It is suggested you view the article and especially the related commentary opinion having to do with your telephone, internet and other activities since the defeat of one of the extension provisions of the Patriot Act by clicking here...

From Our Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot and Primate, +Joseph Thaddeus (Stanford), OSB, SSJt., Ph.D.

 

A Fool For Christ who believes

"Prejudice Makes Prisoners of the Hated and the Hater"

(Why the Photo Image as seen above?  See Quotes for September-October-November 2005 from "Franklin")

At:

Apostle1.com, Apostle1.org and Apostle1.net

We are an educational, News-informational and research Web Site dedicated to providing such as befits those who seek things pertinent to the Orthodox Catholic Christian Faith and life.

 

Also Know that:

 

We, at apostle1.com do cause for "Point" and "Counterpoint" discussions at our web site.  This is sometimes the same way in which authors and writers do in order to bring about both sides or arguments in discussions or about some issues affecting the Church as a whole.  Abbot +Gregori and our Metropolitan Archbishop do this from time to time.  What part of celibacy does one not understand?

 

However, it has come to our attention that un-named individual(s) think it wise and not harmful to start attacking by taking copyrighted materials to use in their own web site without permission, per se: as for an example, the subjects pertaining to "Homosexuals" and "Homosexuality in the Church," etc. for the purpose of advancing their own causes to start their attacking of other(s) which is not bound in and with the Church, but with a personal agenda of self-image because of anger, hate, fear and worse.  They are Roman in attitude and practice, but not Orthodox, although calling themselves "Orthodox" even "Celtic". 

 

It is understood, according to information and belief, that three of his/her/their websites may have been closed by former service providers due to complaints against him/them for internet terrorism, spewing "hate" and causing for an individual whom he/they discuss, to be exposed to potential physical harm which happened in the early part of the 2005 when they thought themselves wise in their own conceit, for things of more than 13 years in the past.  What part of "Hate" - "Exposing another to threats of losing life" - "Internet Terrorism" does he/they not understand? Now, under other domain names, the same/similar hate messages re-occur against the same individual. 

 

We find them to be un-orthodox and un-Christian in spirit and truth for they continue to argue things of the past that is not a part of the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, and (in fact) go against the very commandments of Jesus Christ!  And those who do such are, it is opined upon investigation and in most instances, the very one(s) who had been or are under ban as excommunicated individuals posing as duly ordained clergy who had been a part of this jurisdiction (and so many numerous others) in times past.       

Apostle1.com's NOTE:  A few have sent inquiries as to why we post information and/or articles relating to what might be considered as political and sometimes from other Protestants .  And the reply is much the same as it states on the entry page....  We Are:

A Non-Profit Religious Hosting Service

and

an Educational, News, Informational and Research Web Site dedicated to providing such as befits those who seek things pertinent to the Orthodox Catholic Christian Faith and life for various

Traditional Orthodox Jurisdictions

While the answer and question above is not sufficient for some to understand, we take the view (which we believe is ORTHODOX) that all things pertinent to life and living affects, and has an effect, upon not just our belief (Orthodox), but (for many) the way in which we act in accordance with our belief, our very faith. 

Because this is a highly Protestant Country in which we live, having an effect upon the laws of the land, we should know something of what is on-going and where efforts by those denominations may affect and have a intrinsic effect on our very laws, for such does have an effect upon our daily lives as Orthodox Catholic Christians. 

If one is not cognizant of the real events happening both locally and in the world, although many are removed from the world... one will not know what to expect or what to do, or how one can or cannot act which might betray one's faith and accrue the wrath of civil authorities as laws change.  Yet, we are also reminded that these things must happen and it was for that which there exists many early Christian Martyrs and Saints. 

While we can remove ourselves from the world, we still live in it.  And for the faithful, theirs is a struggle for knowledge and understanding.  All things are pertinent to the Orthodox Catholic Christian Faith which is the very foundation of Christianity.  As such, we can not abandon them and leave them blind to events and happenings. 

What we post as related to those things similar to various articles which might have a political theme or non-Orthodox Catholic Christian content, of sorts, does not mean or imply that we are supportive of, or against something articulated in an article, so much as it is NEWS and our faithful should be made aware, for such may be the very thing that will impact their day-to-day life. 

Remember, not all Protestants, especially hard core cultic groups such as "Charismatic" - "Evangelical" and other people are not so generous in their viciousness toward anyone and anything that appears "Catholic" whether of the Roman or Orthodox jurisdictions, for they do not know or want to learn that which makes them "different" in their walk and talk as being far from the roots of Christianity. 

Remember, it is the Roman jurisdiction which has more outwardly shown that it can be one of the most vicious toward those who are not Roman but are very much "Catholic" - for the sun and moon does not rise and set on the Vatican (Latin or Roman) jurisdiction as to who is or is not "Catholic" for the Roman jurisdiction split (schismed) from the roots of "Catholicism" which is founded in what is termed and called today as "Orthodoxy".

Any good article or piece of information will be considered so long as it is not defamatory or slanderous toward an individual when not based on TRUTH or FACT, or which is altered out of context from its original publishing by recognized sources.

+Joseph Thaddeus (Stanford), OSB, SSJt., Ph.D.

“I prefer a defeat accompanied by humility to a victory accompanied by pride.”

                                                                               --An Elder

A Curse or a Blessing?  Depending on to whom it may...

 

    Yes, our Metropolitan Archbishop, +Joseph Thaddeus, SSJt., Ph.D. strongly defends the Seals of the Confessional for such leads to true Repentance in thought, word and deed whereby the penitent is required to make amends, where possible, to seek forgiveness of those harmed by his actions whether real or imagined, and to give his forgiveness to those who have harmed him before taking the Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist, Jesus the Christ.  The reality of this understanding is bound up in and with the findings for which cause he, himself, had been character assassinated by his detractors who claim the courts prevented him from breaking the Seals of the Confessional which is not the truth at all.... Click here to see what another bishop's findings are...

 

    The workings of Holy Spirit will not be daunted by those who attempt to cause disruption!  It is for these and other reasons that you are urged to read what true repentance and forgiveness means for real "Christians".

 

   "It would be better to have ten (10) true repentant X-felons who ask for and give true forgiveness than it would be to have one (1) non-x-felon or common person whose self-righteousness exceeds even the Pharisees, Sadducees, the gossip mongers, slanderers and un-repentant; for the repentant x-felon understands the true meaning of the Church's purpose as being the spiritual hospital." (siq) +Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, SSJt., Ph.D., Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot, Primate

 

Yes... "Prejudice Makes Prisoners of the Hated and the Hater..." (1992-Fr. Alan Stanford)

 

One can ask, "What part of 'Prejudice' and 'hate' do you not understand?  Are you a complacent person?  In light of the saying, examine yourself!  You may be surprised if you are honest with yourself for your soul may convict you before Jesus Christ convicts you in the times to come!

 

"When tested by some trial you should try to find out not why or through whom it came, but only how to endure it gratefully, without distress or rancor."

St. Mark the Ascetic.

"
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit." Psalms 32:1-2
 

    For further information about how spammers, hackers and those who are angry with you can or will attempt to do damage, we offer the following link as regards some of the computer - internet problems:

 

http://msn.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,116258,00.asp

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Saint Jude Thaddeus (Helper of the Hopeless) and  The Thaddean Fathers (SSJt.)

 

MAN: To Err, the Church and Holy Spirit


The True meaning of Repentance and forgiveness

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE CLERGY

 

Is Christianity At The Cross Roads?

 

As The World Goes, So Goes The Church

 

Anomalies in Ecclesiology of Contemporary Orthodox Churches

 

Attempts at Coming to An Understanding of Orthodox Catholic Christianity

 

A Response to two articles: “Pedophilia Condoned (Approved) By Islam & Dalai Lama With Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Others"

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