When spring arrives and nature awakens to new life, it comes the time of the most sacred Christian holiday – Easter. On this day the Christian world solemnly celebrates the renewal of the world founding virtues such as faith in goodness and love that make people better and more humane. Symbol of eternal life and known worldwide under such names as Passover or Easter, for Bulgarians the day of Easter literally translates as Great Day. As there is nothing greater than the belief that eternal life defeats death and that hope in the salvation of the soul brings forth a better and fairer world. The sun, its warmth, the tender greenry of regenerated life in the spring proves that nothing dies forever, but constantly regenerates for a better life. "The navel of all Christian life is rooted in the resurrection that we celebrate every Sunday when we meet for divine worship," says archpriest Vasilii Saryan, primate of the Church of Transfiguration in Sofia.
"The day of Passover with which we solemnly mark the resurrection of Christ is the moment in time at which every Orthodox Christian should ask himself What is happening? What is the meaning of what has happened? The Resurrection of Christ, for which St. Basil the Great once said that there was nothing new under the sun, except for the risen Christ, comes to show us that it is the most important, the most sacred moment in which the whole of humanity is regenerated. Until the moment of resurrection, mankind sank in darkness, because of its sinfulness and also because of that original sin, which our ancestors Adam and Eve once permitted themselves to commit. At the time of Resurrection the whole universe is regenerated to a new life and in the hope of the personal resurrection of every person and every human soul. In the Holy Scriptures it is said that when Christ resurrected the darkness in which all dead souls sank was destroyed by the sudden flash of bright light. We know that darkness does not exist, but it is just the absence of light. So this is the reason why the evangelist tells us that "when Christ resurrected many graves burst open and many saints resurrected and appeared to the multitude in Jerusalem." That comes to show us that the spirit of resurrection had regenerated mankind both physically and spiritually. "
With the approach of the feast of Easter all senses fill in with joy while everyday worries dissolve in the anticipation of spiritual renewal. All Orthodox Christians prepare their homes and souls to welcome the dearest guest, the one who will bring divine light in their souls. The symbol of this light is the blessed fire. This is greatest miracle in the Orthodox Church and it takes place every year on the eve of the feast of Easter in Jerusalem, more precisely, in the Empty Tomb. It is also known as the Tomb of Jesus and was once erected on top of the place where Jesus was buried and resurrected on the third day. It is believed that the grace of the blessed fire descends upon the earth only on Holy Saturday, just before the Orthodox Easter and after the prayer of the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. That same night, during the solemn Paschal celebration, worshippers gather in the temple to welcome the news of Resurrection and take the blessed fire to their homes. After receiving the fire, Orthodox worshippers greet one another with the following words: "Christ has risen!” says one while the other responds, “He truly has risen.”
"For all of us Orthodox Christians, the moment of Resurrection we celebrate should not be just a tradition. This is a supernatural spiritual experience in the soul of every human being because at this time we get illuminated by the divine light," Vasilii Saryan, of the Church of Transfiguration in Sofia went on to say. "In order to accept Christ in our hearts we must be purified through confession and the holy communion – the Holy Eucharist, which God has bestowed upon us as a source of consolation and remedy for our souls and bodies, but also for physical and spiritual health. The moment of Resurrection itself should be a kind of call for us to purify ourselves so that Christ be truly able to illuminate us with his divine light. This is also the reason why we fast, to prepare ourselves for Easter, the time of deafeating sin through the purification of our souls and the repentance for our sins. During the Divine Liturgy we celebrate the same way as the entire universe once triumphed with all angels and all people living or dead who were involved in the Resurrection. So that from this moment on our lives change for the better and even better with each subsequent resurrection. Nobody knows the day when he or she will die. Therefore, each holiday, while we still live in this world, we should celebrate with joy. For us Easter should be a call to repent and with each passing year, with every Passover, the approach of one’s final day should be a step closer to hope in the salvation of one’s soul and the resurrection of the Lord."
English version: Delian Zahariev