Holy Pascha this year was celebrated by the nuns of the Convent of St Mary Magdalene, Equal-to-the-Apostles, in the absence of pilgrims and regular worshipers, attended only by a few volunteers who had the good fortune of finding themselves in the monastery at the time.
Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia headed the midnight office and celebrated Divine Liturgy. He was joined by the mission’s clergymen: Hieromonk Misail (Minin), Hieromonk Feodor (Kiritse), Priest Roman (Gultyaev) and Hierodeacon Gerasim (Kotovsky).
The procession of the cross, which symbolizes the morning trek of the Women Myrrh-bearers to the Tomb where Christ was buried, circled the church three times under the singing of “Thy Resurrection, o Christ Savior.” An icon of the Resurrection of Christ was carried by Abbess Elizabeth (Smelic), head of the convent.
The festive service was quick but ceremonious. After matins, Divine Liturgy was celebrated, during which by tradition, the Gospel was read in six languages: Greek, Hebrew, Russian, Romanian, English and Church Slavonic. Following the words of St John Chrysostom: “The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously,” everyone in attendance partook of the Holy Gifts of Christ.
Fr Roman performed the Paschal vespers on Pascha day itself in Ascension of the Lord Convent on the Mt of Olives, along with Archimandrite Vasily (Druzhinets), Hegumen Iona (Galishnikov) and Deacon Vyacheslav (Batalsky). Abbess Varvara (Novikova) and the sisters prayed at the service.
On the second day of Pascha, the Chief of the REM performed matins and celebrated Divine Liturgy, at the end of which was a procession of the cross.
On Bright Friday, the feast day of the Icon of the Mother of God “Life-giving Wellspring,” Archimandrite Roman made a Paschal visit to the Bethany Community of the Resurrection of Christ and performed matins, followed by Divine Liturgy, together with Archimandrite Innokenty (Sereda). Afterwards, under the beautiful peal of bells, the worshipers made a procession of the cross on the grounds.