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Paschal cycle

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Russian Resurrection icon

16th century Russian Orthodox icon of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Paschal cycle in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches, is the cycle of the moveable feasts built around Pascha (Easter). The cycle consists of approximately ten weeks before and seven weeks after Pascha. The ten weeks before Pascha are known as the period of the Triodion (referring to the liturgical book that contains the services for this liturgical season). This period includes the three weeks preceding Great Lent (the "pre-Lenten period"), the forty days of Lent, and Holy Week. The 50 days following Pascha are called the Pentecostarion (again, named after the liturgical book).

The Sunday of each week has a special commemoration, named for the Gospel reading assigned to that day. Certain other weekdays have special commemorations of their own (see outline, below). The entire cycle revolves around Pascha. The weeks before Pascha end on Sunday (i.e., the Week of the Prodigal Son begins on the Monday that follows the Publican and the Pharisee). This is because everything in the Lenten period is looking forward towards Pascha. Starting on Pascha, the weeks again begin on Sunday (i.e., Thomas Week begins on the Sunday of St. Thomas). The Paschal cycle continues throughout the entire year, until the beginning of the next Pre-Lenten period. The Tone of the Week, the Epistle and Gospel readings at the Divine Liturgy, and the 11 Matins Gospels with their accompanying hymns are dependent on it.

(For fixed feasts, see Eastern Orthodox Church calendar. For this year's date for Pascha, see Easter. For the method used to calculate this date, see computus.)

Pre-Lent

Icon 03046 Hristos voskreshaet Lazarya

Icon of Lazarus Saturday

Icon 03004 Vhod Gospoden' v Ierusalim

Icon of Palm Sunday

Omovenie nog

Icon of Christ washing the feet of the Apostles (16th century, Pskov school of iconography).

Icon 03005 Sobor 12-ti apostolov s Konstantinom Velikim

Icon of Pentecost

  • Zacchaeus Sunday (Slavic tradition) or Sunday of the Canaanite (Greek tradition): 11th Sunday before Pascha
  • The Publican and the Pharisee: 10th Sunday before Pascha (70 days)
  • The Prodigal Son: 9th Sunday before Pascha (63 days)
  • The Last Judgment; also, Meat-Fare Sunday (the last day meat may be eaten): 8th Sunday before Pascha (56 days)
  • Sunday of Forgiveness; also, Cheese-Fare Sunday (the last day dairy products may be consumed — during Great Lent fish, wine, and olive oil will be allowed only on certain days): 7th Sunday before Pascha (49 days)

Great Lent

Great and Holy Week

Great and Holy Pascha

  • The Resurrection of Jesus Christ: very late Saturday night (with the procession starting at midnight)
  • Agape Vespers: Proclamation of the Gospel to the four corners of the world, symbolized by the reading of the Gospel in various languages from the four corners of the Church building (Sunday afternoon)

Pentecostarion (Paschaltide)

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