The Arrangement of The Paschal Week
Pascha (pronounced ‘pa-skh-ah’) is a Coptic word that means pass over. Paschal Week is the celebration of pass over in the Church of the New Testament. The Israelites celebrated the pass over first as commanded by God through Moses, as they were getting ready to leave Egypt. They kept a lamb from the 10th to the 14th day of the month of Nissan of the Jewish Calendar (The Jewish calendar is lunar calendar, however most of the time Nissan coincides with April). On the 14th the lamb was slaughtered and they used the blood to cover the two posts and the over hang of the doors of their homes so that when the angel of death came around, and saw the blood he passed away and every first born in this house from people to cattle was saved from death. This was in the last plague in which the first born males of all the Egyptians from Pharoah to the lowest of the low was killed by the angel of death as punishment for the enslavement of the people of Israel, the Hebrews. The Israelites were commanded to eat the lamb of the pascha cooked on a fire and not boiled, on bitter herbs they grilled it to remember slavery (for the New Testament Church, spiritual slavery to Satan and to Sin). Eat every part of it, its legs and its head, and its intestines to remember the need for all the parts and that they are holy in the Lord, and again spiritually to remember that we are all parts of Him (Christ). We are His bones and His flesh as the apostle wrote. His Church that He bought (redeemed) with His precious blood.
After this, that was the tenth plague, pharaoh allowed them to leave Egypt. Also, after we partake of the Lamb of God we also are freed from the slavery of sin. They continue the celebration to this day as a remembrance of freedom from enslavement. However, the more important symbol of the paschal celebration escapes our Jewish brothers, that is the celebration of salvation from the enslavement of Satan through the precious blood of Christ our Savior. Christians celebrated the Paschal week since the early days of the Church, since our Lord Jesus Christ celebrated Passover with his disciples, and they in turn celebrated the same with their disciples and so on. Although the celebration and meaning are the same, our blessed Coptic Orthodox Church exceeds all the others in our elaborate celebration.
To appreciate the Paschal Week, we need to understand the meaning of the arrangement, which the Church made, guided by the Holy Spirit. It is a full week celebration, Sunday through Sunday, in which we enact the passion (suffering) that Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ endured for our Salvation. We complete the Paschal Week with the celebration of His Resurrection, victory over death, by death he defeated death, and those who were in the tombs, received the promise of eternal life. Each day of Paschal celebration has two groups of prayers: The Morning Prayers and the Evening Prayers.
You can browse the Paschal Books by clicking on their titles on the left side of this page. The books have been divided into 6 categories for easier lookups.
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