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DIOCESE OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND: April 16, 2010
The Global Celebation of Pascha Begins in New Zealand

Due to the fact that standard time resumed on the first weekend of April, the parishioners and faithful of New Zealand this year were the first to begin the global celebration of the Bright Resurrection of Christ with the joyous cries of “Christ is Risen!” It was already midnight there when it was still 11 pm in Anadyr and Kamchatka, 9 pm in the diocesan center in Sydney, Australia, the middle of Saturday in Moscow, and only Saturday morning in New York.

The Paschal midnight office and Divine Liturgy were celebrated in Auckland’s Church of the Resurrection of Christ and St Nicholas Church in Christchurch. At 10:30 am, Paschal Liturgy was celebrated in Wellington, just as His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia performed the midnight office of Pascha at Christ the Savior Cathedral.

The small Auckland church could not accommodate all those who were in attendance, and the parish Rector, Protopriest Vladimir Boikov, Priest Eugene Kulanov and Priest Daniel Millwood performed the services outside, in front of the church, and the fine weather cooperated. The people who gathered to celebrate the Feast Day of Feast Days were happy for the opportunity to see, hear and participate directly in the service. The choir, standing at the side doors of the church, joyfully sang the Paschal canon as the priests chanted each of the irmosy. Paschal joy instantly spread among the believers every time that “Christ is Risen” was heard. Not all, however, could enter the church later to hear the Sermon of St John Chrysostom.

The Divine Liturgy that followed was celebrated by Fr Eugene and Fr Daniel. Happily, there were more communicants of the Holy Gifts than the previous year, and more attended the services of Passion Week. After the traditional Paschal greetings, exchange of eggs and blessing of the kulichi, the believers dispersed to continue celebrations at home. Fr Vladimir, the choir director Andrei and his wife Alena had set off for Wellington to bring the Paschal joy to the believers in the nation’s capital. The residents of Wellington were able to celebrate Pascha, take Communion and have their Paschal foods blessed. After a brief stay in Wellington, Fr Vladimir and the others returned to Auckland in time for Paschal vespers, where many parishioners continued to celebrate the Holy Resurrection of Christ.

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

For photos of the celebrations, visit the official website of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand here.