Pascha eggs

Today I wanted to share our method of dying Easter eggs. This is an old Russian favorite, I used to always wonder how my grandmother put the designs on the eggs and this year I gave it a try.

What you need:

  • Onion skins
  • Eggs
  • Pot
  • Flowers or leaves (fun activity with kids to find from nature)
  • Baige stockings

Take your scissors cut the stocking into pieces that will fit the eggs inside and hold the flowers on them. Tie one end in a knot, put the egg inside and then put the flower on it, then tie the other end. 

Repeat the process with the rest of the eggs and put them inside with the onion skins.

Boil the eggs in the pot for about 15 minutes or until you have reached your desired color. Once done remove the stocking and the flower off the egg and set to cool in cold water. Then tada…


Ready to get blessed by the priest after the Pascha Liturgy. 

The boys really enjoyed this activity because they got to find the decorations to put on the eggs and then got to see their imprints on the eggs. “Ooooo wow” says my oldest son. 

Next up to tackle for our traditional food is Kulich aka Easter Bread or Pascha bread. This one is a long process one. Will keep you posted.

How is your Easter prep going? Do you have any traditional food you eat?

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Homeschooling: Feast

Greeting everyone!

Tomorrow is a great Feast of the Presentation of our Lord into the Temple according to Orthodox tradition. I love sharing this Feast with my children and everyone because St. Simeon’s prayer can be heard every Vespers in our church:

Lord now let your servant depart in peace

According to Thy word

For my eyes have seen Your salvation 

Which Thou has prepared for all people 

A light to enlighten the Gentiles 

And the glory of Your people Israel

(Luke 2 29-32)

With my kiddos we took the pictures of our sons when they were being presented to the church after 40 days and showed them those explaining that this is also what happens during this Feast as Christ himself gets presented into the Temple. The deep tradition and history can be clearly seen with this Feast which is why I love talking about it with children. You can see their wheels turn and make connections and it’s beautiful.

We took Sculpey clay and made our own figures of

  • St. Simeon
  • Theotokos
  • St. Joseph
  • Two turtle doves 
  • Baby Jesus 

As I read the story I retold the story using the figures and left room for my oldest to reenact it on his own afterwards. Also showing them an  icon of the Feast and pointing out who is who in the icon before he sees it in church to make the connection as well.

My husband, the artist that he is, drew a wonderful chalkboard drawing of the icon and we will have it as our story for the rest of the week. 


This is all part of the Catechism of the Good Shepherd program which teaches kids about the church using the Montessori method. 

Enjoy this Feast tomorrow!

Blessings.

Today

Today I woke up at 4:30 am to one of my cats throwing up, had to get up to clean it up before my husband got up to go to work at 5 am just to be a good wife and not have him step on cat throw up in the morning. As I walk into the bathroom for some spray the other cat decided to use the litter box leaving the wonderful smell of his cat presence everywhere. After completing my favorite 4:30 am clean up (insert sarcasm face here) of course I was too wired up to sleep so I finally fall asleep for an hour before my son wakes up for the day.

The whole day this 10 month old boy has been nothing but teething pains and complains driving me over the edge a few times making me wonder where all this joy is that people speak of when it comes to parenting. Fast forward hours, many meltdowns and a beer later, finally its bedtime for the little one and all I can say is, this day is finally over! Yes this was the day that God had made. I did not rejoice or was glad in it. But tomorrow is another day as they say, full of new experiences, joys and surprises, hopefully they don’t start at 4:30 am. Summer '14 022

Post Pascha blues

Yes the glorious Pascha. We have made it. We have fasted over 40 days and have reached the celebration that is the feast of feasts. Yet every year without fail more and more people that I talk to seem to confirm the feeling that I always seem to receive along with this Pascha season. Our priest calls it the “post Pascha blues.” All the services are now back to their normal schedule, the length of the services is no longer 4 hours and every year it feels so lonely to me. Here we are celebrating the Resurrection of Christ yet I always seem to loose the joy very fast. The everyday woes of life always catch up to me faster then I can notice them and I get just stuck in a funk. How do we keep the joy of the Resurrection with us?

It is the question that may take my whole life to answer, maybe that is why we do have Lent and Pascha every year. During our recent trip to the monastery I noticed how easy it was to get back to everyday cares right when we started driving back and hit a few gas stations. How easy it is to start caring about entertainment and food. The joy of simplicity is hard to keep. The joy of Pascha seems to be swept up and I start dealing with post Pascha blues and try to get the joy, as well as keep the joy, for as long as I can.  Platina 2014 048

Christ is Risen!!!

Paschal message by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

Beloved in the Lord

Your Graces the archpastors,

all-honourable pastors and deacons,

God-loving monks and nuns,

dear brothers and sisters!

On ‘this chosen and holy Day’ when the world ‘that is visible and invisible’ (see: the Canon of Holy Pascha) glorifies the Prince of life and Victor over death, I send my heartfelt greetings to all of you through the Paschal exclamation:

CHRIST IS RISEN!

From year to year the good news of the Resurrection resounds victoriously, encouraging us to render praise to God and the Saviour, who has trampled down death by death and has made us co-participants in the life eternal which is to come.

As we celebrate this ‘Feast of feasts and Triumph of triumphs,’ it is with a special spiritual feeling that we recall the redemptive act of the Saviour of the world, his sufferings on the Cross and bright resurrection. Pascha is not some beautiful legend, not some theoretical theology and not a nod towards a popular custom established in the distant past. It is the essence and kernel of Christianity. It is the victory that God has granted to us.

From the time of the apostles and up to the present the Church has preached Christ’s resurrection as the greatest miracle in the history of humanity. She speaks of this miracle not only as a fact of the Gospels, but – and what is especially important – as a moment of destiny for all those who have received the Paschal good news. This feast bears the most direct relationship to us, for Christ’s resurrection, the Lord’s redemption of the fallen world, is the greatest joy which the human person can experience. No matter how difficult our life, no matter what everyday troubles besiege us, no matter what grief and imperfections we have to endure from the world around us – all of this is nothing in comparison to the spiritual joy, to the hope of eternal salvation that God gives us.

As St. Paul says, ‘he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken our mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in us’ (cf. Rom 8:11).

On the radiant day of Christ’s resurrection the souls of millions of the faithful are replete with thanksgiving to the Creator, and our earthly life acquires true meaning. Christ’s Passover is the greatest triumph of life, the triumph over death bringing love, peace and spiritual transformation.

In celebrating Pascha we each time open up a new period in our lives, for the risen Lord renews human nature, fortifies us in tribulations, and grants to us the strength to accomplish good deeds.

The Paschal message, which has transformed the whole course of world history, encourages us to be morally transformed, to be spiritually renewed, which is so essential for modern-day society. It reminds all people of the sources of Christianity, as well as of the coming eternal Kingdom where ‘God may be all in all’ (1 Cor 15:28).

During these radiant days of the Paschal feast we are called upon to share our joy with our relatives and those close to us, to show them active love and mercy. Such are the traditions sanctified over the centuries, and in following them we testify to our participation in Christ’s heritage and belief that the Lord has truly risen.

Now, as before, the Russian Orthodox Church diligently carries out her saving mission, tirelessly proclaiming God’s truth, affirming the importance of the Gospel commandments, calling for peace and harmony, serving the spiritual unity of nations living in the countries under the pastoral care of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Our special prayer today is for the peoples of Russia and Ukraine that peace will reign in the minds and hearts of our brothers and sisters by blood and in faith so that the ties that have been lost and co-operation which is so needed may be restored.

In proclaiming the love of God which surpasses all knowledge (cf. Eph 3:19), Christianity brings people together by overcoming national, cultural and state boundaries, for ‘the light of Christ illumines all’ (cf. Jn 1:9).

May the risen Lord grant that we may all with benefit for our souls continue our earthly pilgrimage in recalling our lofty Christian responsibility and vocation to create within ourselves and those around us a strong faith, sincere love and steadfast hope. May the joy of this feast day strengthen and inspire us to accomplish good works, grant to us the courage and strength amidst the stormy waves of the sea of life to retain our endurance and calm, to withstand temptation and trials, to overcome, in the words of St. Sergius of Radonezh, ‘the hateful divisions of this world.’

May the light of Christ’s glory that has shone forth from the Life-bearing Tomb abide with us and illumine our hearts, extending to those who are close to us and those far removed from us, and upon all who are in need of our care and support.

In congratulating all of you on the great feast of Holy Pascha, I prayerfully wish for you generous spiritual gifts, physical strength and the gracious aid which is from above in the triumphant journeying with Christ. Amen.

+KIRILL

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

Moscow
Pascha
2014 AD

 

Glorious Pascha is here!

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived thereof. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.

And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.

Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.

St. John Chrysostom Paschal Homily

Good read

Lent 2014 134

Recently I have been reading this book by Sofia Cavalletti. It is a great insight into a child’s mind and its religious potential. It is based on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Montessori style program that is available for Sunday schools. We use this at our parish even though we had to modify lessons based on Orthodox teachings, however it is has been an eye opener for me so far and makes me view the upbringing of children differently.

Blessed Feast!

Blessed Fest everyone! Today marks the day that our Lord and God and Savor Jesus Christ came into Jerusalem to be crucified. This Feast always makes me ponder how the people that welcome Him as a king later were the same people that said “crucify Him!” Here He is, the only sinless one. Final stretch. Time when we might as well be spending the night at church because of all the services and preparation for Pascha.