The Paschal Season

The Paschal season consists of the forty days from Pascha to the Ascension. We consider the time our risen Lord spent with his disciples, preparing them for the tasks which lay ahead, after our Lord's return to heaven. We also commemorate several miracles of the Messiah's earthly ministry. In the liturgical books, the days from Pascha up to (but not including) the feast of the Ascension are called days of Pascha.

The Weeks of the Paschal Season

The Paschal season consists of five full weeks and one partial week (follow the links for more information about each week):

The Paschal season ends on Wednesday in the sixth week, the day before the feast of the Ascension. On this day, called the Leave-taking of Pascha, the Paschal services are celebrated once more as they were on Pascha and during Bright Week, to conclude our celebration of the Lord's Resurrection.

The Services of the Paschal Season

During the Paschal Season:

Sundays in the Paschal Season are particularly festive. The Paschal stichera are sung at Vespers, and the Divine Liturgy ends with the triple singing of "Christ is risen", with the special conclusion: "Let us bow before his resurrection on the third day."

From Pascha to Pentecost, there is no fasting (though Wednesday and Friday remain days of abstinence, except during Bright Week), and we do not kneel at any services, in honor of the Resurrection. Also, the prayer to the Holy Spirit ("O heavenly King") and the thanksgiving hymn to the Holy Spirit ("We have seen the true light") are not said or sung until Pentecost.

Onward to Ascension, and Pentecost

On the fortieth day of Pascha, we celebrate our Lord's return to heaven, on the feast of the Ascension. The postfeast continues for the following nine days. During this time, we recall the nine days the disciples waited for the sending of the Holy Spirit.

On the fiftieth day of Pascha, or Pentecost, we celebrate the Descent of the Holy Spirit, and like Pascha, this celebration continues for a full week.

The first Sunday after Pentecost is the Sunday of All Saints, dedicated especially to the saints and martyrs of the Church.

On the following day, we return to "ordinary time", the weeks after Pentecost. This Monday also marks the beginning of the Apostles' Fast, which continues through June 28.

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