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The Winter Pascha : readings for the…
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The Winter Pascha : readings for the Christmas-Epiphany season (udgave 1984)

af Thomas Hopko

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler
1181186,178 (4.29)Ingen
"When the winter begins to make way into the Northern World, the Church of Christ begins to celebrate a 'splendid three-day Pascha.'" Thus Father Thomas Hopko begins the first of forty meditations for the season of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, ending with the feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple on the fortieth day after Christ's birth. In the style of his popular book for the paschal fasting season, The Lenten Spring, the author again draws on the biblical readings and liturgical hymns and verses of the season to illumine the way for believers to follow the Church's days of preparation and celebration for the Coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in human flesh. Many references are made to the writings of the saints and Church Fathers, as well as to contemporary Christian teachers and spiritual guides. All those who love the Lord's Coming will find comfort and strength, as well as enlightenment and instruction, for having passed through the Winter Pascha with this book as their companion. Book jacket.… (mere)
Medlem:SG1392
Titel:The Winter Pascha : readings for the Christmas-Epiphany season
Forfattere:Thomas Hopko
Info:Crestwood, N.Y. : St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1984.
Samlinger:Gardening and Horticulture
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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The Winter Pascha: Readings for the Christmas-Epiphany Season af Thomas Hopko

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Father Thomas Hopko has crafted forty "meditations" to reflect upon Orthodox-Christian lectionary readings, designated Feasts during the season, and ancient liturgical verses appointed to "Winter Pascha." Pascha is translated as Easter. Therefore, Hopko meditates upon the "winter" Easter--a "second" Easter season, which occurs proximal to calendar date(s) for the Nativity of Christ.

The number 40 reflects not only the total meditations contained in Hopko's 183-page text, but also 40 days assigned by the Orthodox Church to prepare for the Feast of Christ's Nativity according to the Flesh (called Christmas among western Christians--25 December or 07 January in Orthodox calendars). For example, in the year 2009, Orthodox "Nativity Fast" began on 15 November (new calendar), and ends after the strict Fast of 24 December--the 40th day. However, the comparison stops there. Hopko's goal is to meditate on the entire season of Winter Pascha and not the preparatory 40-day Fast alone.

Readers from many Christian liturgical traditions will find their own ways to this book, which is now 25 years old. I have heard praises from readers with limited knowledge of the Orthodox understanding of the Winter Pascha. However, they tell me that readers outside of Eastern Orthodox traditions need a bit more guidance to note contextual hooks on which the author hangs ideas like work clothes. Therefore, I hasten to add another clarification--a "hook," if you will.

There is no precise equivalent for the season of Advent among Orthodox Christians. Differentiating Advent from Orthodox practice, Advent varies in duration of days each year. Readers with an Advent mindset can avoid misunderstanding Hopko's meditations by not attributing parallels between Advent and Winter Pascha.

Hopko defines Winter Pascha in the first meditation (chapter) [9-11], which bears the same name. The term Winter Pascha was coined by Father Alexander Schmemann, who preceded Hopko as Dean of St. Vladmiri's Orthodox Seminary in Yonkers, NY. However, the idea of Winter Pascha, as Hopko reflects [11], comes from ancient liturgical sources called the Typikon (spelling variant replaces the letter "k" with a "c;" the Greek source for "type"). Schmemann coined the term mid-20th Century.

The Typikon sets a rule or pattern of comparable liturgical observances around the Resurrection (Pascha) and the Nativity of Christ. Hopko notes the Typikon's conscious pattern [10], by which ancient sources exercised intent to unite these major Feasts in a permanent bond of rubrics. The Typikon provides the principal source to conclude that Easter and Christmas mirror the other among Orthodox Christians by disclosing many apparent similarities, whereas Advent and the Winter Pascha resemble distant cousins in a clan.

Hopko makes a couple assumptions that I would like to state. First, the Typikon provides `but one' example among high-liturgical Christians that combines Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition in a practice called "What we pray is what we believe." Second, Hopko assumes that Orthodox Christians, in liturgical practice if not also elsewhere, do not pray like their distant cousins in the Christian clan.

Differences in how and what the clan prays become evident in Hopko's meditation, "The Conception of Mary" [41-4]. "On the ninth of December the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of the conception of the Virgin Mary by her parents Joachim and Anna" [41]. Ostensibly, the same feast of Mary's conception appears in the Roman Catholic calendar on December 8th [42], where it is called the Immaculate Conception. Looks can be deceiving, however.

Hopko briefly entertains profound differences between eastern and western doctrines about the Mother of God [cf. fn.3, 42]. In particular, he notes the Orthodox perspective, which maintains that every human being at birth is sinless. Therefore, Joachim and Anna conceived the Mother of God without the necessity of God interrupting a transmittal of sin to the child. However, as joyfully acclaimed in Orthodox liturgy on December 9th, God made Anna's barren womb fertile, just as God made the womb of Sarah fertile centuries earlier:

"Today the great mystery of all eternity,
Whose depths angels and men cannot perceive,
Appears in the barren womb of Anna.
Mary, the Maiden of God, is prepared to be the dwelling
Place of the eternal King
Who will renew human nature" [44].

Included in Hopko's meditations about the Winter Pascha are 40 days of preparation [9-98 passim], the Eve of the Feast and Feast of the Nativity [99-130], followed by twelve liturgical days that culminate in the Feast of the "Theophany" (Epiphany: 131-61] and sequential liturgical dates that the Church assigns to culminate seasonal "after-feasts" [162-83].

Hopko composes these meditations in simple language. With few exceptions, they may be read silently or aloud because Hopko employs idioms that are common to North American English. For example, alternate reading the following passage about St. Herman of Alaska (12/25 or 13/26 December) with and without verbalizing:
"Herman came to America with the first group of missionaries. He alone survived,..." [46].

Or you might alternate using another passage: "This is the message of Christmas. There is a new Adam. There is a restored image of God. It is the restored image of the Image Himself, God's Son and Word, Jesus Christ" ..."In Him all people can be human" [author's emphasis, 83]. ( )
1 stem Basileios919 | Mar 21, 2010 |
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"When the winter begins to make way into the Northern World, the Church of Christ begins to celebrate a 'splendid three-day Pascha.'" Thus Father Thomas Hopko begins the first of forty meditations for the season of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, ending with the feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple on the fortieth day after Christ's birth. In the style of his popular book for the paschal fasting season, The Lenten Spring, the author again draws on the biblical readings and liturgical hymns and verses of the season to illumine the way for believers to follow the Church's days of preparation and celebration for the Coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in human flesh. Many references are made to the writings of the saints and Church Fathers, as well as to contemporary Christian teachers and spiritual guides. All those who love the Lord's Coming will find comfort and strength, as well as enlightenment and instruction, for having passed through the Winter Pascha with this book as their companion. Book jacket.

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