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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Celebrating Pentecost Sunday and After in the Orthodox Christian Church

For the feast of Pentecost the icon of the Holy Trinity, the three angelic figures who appeared to Abraham, is placed in the center of the church for veneration. This icon is used with the traditional Pentecost icon. The church building is decorated with flowers and the green leaves of the summer to show that God's divine breath comes to renew all creation. Green vestments and coverings are also used.
In many parishes the feast is celebrated starting the evening before with Great Vespers. Some parishes also serve Matins on the morning of the feast before the Divine Liturgy.
The Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom with special hymns replacing the standard Antiphons. The hymns O Heavenly King and We have seen the True Light are sung for the first time since Easter, calling the Holy Spirit to "come and abide in us," and proclaiming that "we have received the heavenly Spirit."
An extraordinary service called the Kneeling Vespers, is observed on the evenig of Pentecost. This is a Vespers service to which are added three sets of long poetical prayers, the composition of Saint Basil the Great, during which everyone makes a full prostration, touching their foreheads to the floor (prostrations in church having been forbidden from the day of Pascha (Easter) up to this point). In many parishes, this service is done immediately after the Liturgy.
The Monday after Pentecost is the Feast of the Holy Spirit in the Orthodox Church, and the Sunday after Pentecost is the Feast of All Saints.
Even though the start of the Church year is considered to start in September, the liturgical center of the annual cycle of Orthodox worship is the feast of Pascha, preceded by Great Lent, and pre-lent, and followed by the fifty days of paschal celebration until the feast of Pentecost. Until the start of the next Great Lent, the Sundays and weeks following Pentecost, are numbered from Pentecost. Liturgical readings and hymns will be based on the "weeks after Pentecost" as listed in the OctoechosApostolos, and Lectionary arranged Gospel.
Source:Orthodox Wiki, Pentecost
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