Metropolitan Joseph of Priokonessos on Pascha….
Shortly before midnight on Holy Saturday, church bells invite the faithful to take part in the flood of light and joy of the Resurrection of Christ from the dead.
At the end of the Small Panyhida, the Bishop or Priest will light his candle from the vigil lamp of the Sanctuary and will invite the light – formed children of the Church to receive light with these words: “Come receive light from the light, which is never overtaken by night, and glorify Christ, who has risen from the dead”. Then taper by taper and candle by candle the people give and take holy light, and the darkness of night is flooded by light, and everything calms down, and everyone’s soul becomes peaceful and their hearts beat with divine hope.
Darkness has no duration; No it can not have any duration!… NO! . .. Death cannot and is not permanent! … The Light from Light, the true God, whom we saw earlier powerless on the Cross, and dead with his arms crossed, and immobile, being buried by Joseph of Arimathea in his own grave, after having enlightened with His presence the Storehouses of Hades and after “He went and preached to the spirits in prison” (1Peter 3:19), He prevailed over death, granting light, joy, life and resurrection to suffering mankind.
And this sea of lit Easter candles, which is blown about by the spring night breeze, is the reply of the believers to the nonsense and empty words of disbelief and agnosticism, the answer to the wretchedness of doubt and of atheism….
The Gospel reading from the Gospel according to Mark ( 16:1-8) – the 2nd “Eothinon” Gospel – is the scriptural pronouncement that Jesus the Nazarene, the Crucified, “has arisen, He is not here”, in the strangers grave that is, which had given Him hospitality. This trumpet blast of the rising of Christ from the dead is given wing by the bright and joyful plagal first tone of our Byzantine music, and is announced to all the worlds visible and invisible: Christ is risen from the dead, by death He has trampled on death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life”… The night hears it and celebrates.
– From ‘The Lord’s Pascha’ May, 2021