Voices from Russia

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Orthodox throughout the World Celebrate Trinity Sunday

“Orthodox throughout the world celebrate Trinity Sunday…” Does Harrisburg PA count? I think so (it better!)… here’s Fr Daniel Ressetar serving a service for Trinity (he’s been a priest for over 50 years)… thanks to his son, Sasha, for the snap.

On Sunday, the fiftieth day after Easter, Orthodox believers celebrate Trinity Sunday, or Pentecost. On this day, the Church remembers the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles gathered in a house on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. According to the gospel narrative, there was a sudden loud noise like a whirlwind, and tongues of flame came down from the sky and hovered over each of the apostles. The Holy Spirit gave the Saviour’s disciples the grace of the priesthood to preach the Word of God throughout the world. This day is considered the birthday of the Church, and has been solemnly celebrated as such since ancient times. As early as the Third Century AD, according to ancient ecclesiastical writers, it had its special customs and became a great holiday. Most believe that the custom of decorating homes with greenery on Trinity comes from St John Chrysostom. In our Russian tradition, the church floor (and, sometimes, the homes of believers) is strewn with mown grass on Trinity, and the icons are decorated with birch branches. In Russia, Orthodox clergy wear green vestments at Trinity, which symbolises the Holy Spirit’s life-giving power and the renewal it brings. By longstanding tradition, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias will serve Trinity liturgy at Holy Trinity-St Sergius Lavra, the main monastery in Russia, which is dedicated to this holiday. Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis of Constantinople will concelebrate with Patriarch Kirill, as he is here in Moscow on an official visit. Tomorrow, Monday, marks the Day of the Holy Spirit, or Spirit Day. Amongst the Catholics and Lutherans, the celebration of Pentecost (The Descent of the Holy Spirit) and the day of the Holy Trinity are divided… Trinity Sunday comes the following Sunday after Pentecost. Today, which is for them the day of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, Catholic clergy wear red vestments as a reminder of the tongues of fire that descended on the Apostles, and on their Trinity Sunday, they wear white, as for other great festivals.

23 May 2010




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