The Orthodox date for Easter is based on a decree of the First Ecumenical Council of the undivided Church at Nicaea, Asia Minor, held in 325 A.D. under Emperor Constantine the Great. According to this decree, the determination of the date of Easter is governed by a computation based on the vernal equinox and the phase of the moon. Therefore, Easter Sunday should fall on the Sunday, which follows the first full moon after the vernal equinox, according to the Julian Calendar, which was in use at that time. If the full moon happens to fall on a Sunday, Easter is observed the following Sunday, thus placing Easter on May 2nd this year throughout the Christian Orthodox world.
The centuries-old religious services which recall the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ are conducted each morning and evening throughout Holy Week in Orthodox Christian Churches of over 6 million faithful in the Americas including: Greek, Russian, Romanian, Antiochian, Bulgarian, Carpatho-Russian, Albanian, Serbian and Ukrainian parishes. Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church in Lecanto, the local Orthodox Parish, will celebrate services as follows:
Saturday March 6th 09:00 a.m.: 1st Saturday of Souls: The faithful bring names of their deceased relatives and friends to be memorialized during the Memorial Service held at the end of the Divine Liturgy.
Sunday March 7th: 10:00 a.m. Judgement Sunday.
Saturday March 13th 09:00 a.m.: 2nd Saturday of Souls: The faithful bring names of their deceased relatives and friends to be memorialized during the Memorial Service held at the end of the Divine Liturgy.
Sunday March 14th: 10:00 a.m. Forgiveness Sunday. Great Lent begins the following day on Monday March 15th, known as “Clean Monday”.
Friday March 19th 06:00 p.m. First Friday of Lent, Salutations to the Virgin Mary. And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden. For behold, henceforth, all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is His name.” Luke 1: 46-49. On the first four Fridays of Great Lent, a service called the “Salutations to the Virgin Mary” is held in Orthodox Churches. The origin of this service comes from 626 A.D., when Emperor Heraclius with his Roman army were away fighting against Persia, Constantinople was besieged by the Avars. In collaboration with the Persians, they sought to take over the city of Constantinople. Patriarch Sergios led a procession around the city wall with an icon of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary). The people prayed all night “without sitting” (Akathistos in Greek). That night, a strong wind, which many believe was sent by God, after hearing the intercessions of the Virgin Mary, caused a storm which destroyed the enemy fleet, which withdrew from the city, sparing her.
The poem of the Salutations, which is 24 stanzas long (each one beginning with one of the letters of the Greek alphabet), was composed by St. Romanos the Melodist. On each of the first four Fridays, six stanzas of the Salutations are sung. On the fifth Friday, all 24 stanzas are sung, at a service called the “Akathist Hymn.”
Saturday March 20th 09:00 a.m. 3rd (and last) Saturday of Souls The faithful bring names of their deceased relatives and friends to be memorialized during the Memorial Service held at the end of the Divine Liturgy.
Thursday March 25th 09:00 a.m. Annunciation of the Theotokos: (which happens to fall within the Lenten period) We hear the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel that Mary shall bare a son, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and His name shall be Emmanuel.
Friday March 26th 09:06:00 p.m. Second Friday of Lent, 2nd Salutations to the Virgin Mary.
Friday April 2nd, 06:00 p.m. Third Friday of Lent, 3rd Salutations to the Virgin Mary.
Friday April 9th, 06:00 p.m. Fourth Friday of Lent, 4th Salutations to the Virgin Mary.
Friday April 16th, 06:00 p.m. Fifth Friday of Lent, 5th and final Salutation to the Virgin Mary, the Akathyst.
Saturday April 24th, Saturday of Lazarus 09:00 a.m. Orthros and Divine Liturgy (10:00 a.m.) at which time we hear of the raising of Lazarus by Christ, a foreshadowing of his own death and resurrection in the week that follows.