Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bright Week

For seven months in 1999 and 2000 I lived at Holy Transfiguration Skete on the shores of Lake Superior near Eagle Harbor, Michigan. I was on a sabbatical and wanted to spend time learning, as Pope John Paul II put it, to breathe with the Eastern lung of the Church. Holy Transfiguration Skete is a Ukrainian Catholic Byzantine monastery that is part of the Eparchy (the Eastern word for Diocese) of Chicago.

In the Eastern Churches, both Catholic and Orthodox, the week after Easter is called "Bright Week." For the entire week the doors of the iconostasis, the wall which separates the altar and sanctuary from the rest of the church, are open. This is the only time that they are left open. Two things are signified. First, the open doors represent the stone that had been rolled away from the tomb of Jesus. Second, they represent the fact that Jesus, by His resurrection, opened the doors of heaven.

Eastern Christians greet each other these days with "Christ is risen!" And the reply is "He is risen indeed!"

The antiphon that is sung over and over again is "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs bestowing life."

Happy and Blessed Easter to all!

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

1 comment:

  1. Alleluia!

    Thanks for this post-I love to learn new things, and I truthfully know nothing about Eastern Christians. Bright Week is a wonderful name with an even more wonderful meaning! Thank you for teaching me something new!

    Happy Easter and Happy Bright Week to you!