The Radunitsa ("Day of Rejoicing") is a holiday in the Orthodox Church which falls on the Tuesday of Saint Thomas Week— nine days, respectively, after Pascha (Easter). This day is a general memorial for the departed; we remember those Orthodox Christians from all ages who have died in the faith, and in the hope of the Resurrection ...
Stop. Look. Listen.
In the Songs of Songs we read:
“Arise, my dove and come: Winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth.” (2: 10-12).
The storm of sorrow is gone, and Jesus the Nazarene, whose very title in Hebrew means the Flower, has appeared in glory. Beautiful was that Flower when it took its roots in the dark cave of Bethlehem. Fragrant was that Flower when it was bruised and pinned to the Cross which became its vase: but glorious is that Flower today, for It now fully blooms never to wither away again.
He Is Risen.
Easter is the Queen of feasts, the solemnity of solemnities, because the Saviour of the world had risen. Let the bells ring till the steeples reel; let the organs peal forth their loudest notes; let the flowers of spring exhale their sweetest fragrance, for this is the day the Lord has risen.
Yesterday and the day before we saw Him covered with wounds: today we see Him glorified. Yesterday and the day before our hearts were sad, because He who raised people to life—was dead Himself. It is natural for a flower to die in the autumn: it is natural for the sun to go down in the evening, but when the flower withers in the summer, and when the sun grows dark at noon—that is sad.
On Good Friday The Flower of Nazareth died; today It is risen in an eternal spring. A few days ago the Sun went down at noon. but now It has risen for an eternal day. The Lord has risen today, and He will die no more. Let the whole earth rejoice, for “This is the day which the Lord hath made: we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24).
During the holy season of Lent our eyes were moist with tears of sorrow, but today they glitter with tears of joy. In the tears of Good Friday our eyes saw clouds of sorrow: in the tears of Easter Morning they see the rainbow. The showers of weeping eyes on Good Friday refresh the garden of our soul for Easter Day. The premature Flower of Nazareth that was plucked and crushed on Good Friday gave its sweetest fragrance on Easter morning. Our altars that were as bare as the desert, are now decorated with flowers, and the bells that were hushed as a sepulchre, now peal out the gladsome tidings of the Resurrection. On Good Friday the cruel enemies cried out to Christ: “Come down from the cross!” On Easter Morning an angel from heaven sings: “He is risen!”
On Easter day the soul of Christ returns to take possession of His body.
Those sightless eyes again sparkle like jewels. Those ears are once more open to hear the sorrows of men. That Royal Blood spilt on Calvary once more flows through His veins. No purple garment of mockery is on Him now. No crown of sharp thorns disfigures His sacred brow. No blood trickles down that Holy Face which angels delight to admire. The crown of thorns is replaced by a halo of heavenly light. His disfigured Face is changed to a beauty that is rare on earth. His five wounds remain, but they are not gaping wounds; rather they are tender lips which proclaim the glory of His Divinity.