Celebrating Holy Pascha


As in the past few years, Abba Seraphim presided at the Divine Liturgy for Pascha Eve at the Orthodox Church of St. Mary & St. Felix at Babingley in Norfolk, supported by Deacons Mark Saunders and Christopher Barnes, assisted by Subdeacons Roger-Kenneth Player and Trevor-James Maskery. The service was well attended by members of the congregation as well as local Orthodox families from a variety of nationalities. He asked them to keep in prayer Miss Dorothy Cossins, one of the founder members of the parish, who has always faithfully led the congregational singing for all services. She has been confined to home with mobility problems for the past few weeks and may need to move into care in the near future.

In his homily, Abba Seraphim spoke of the Orthodox understanding of Holy Week and the Resurrection Feast. He was pleased to see recently an article in The Guardian by Giles Fraser on the Western emphasis on our Lord’s passion and death, too often based on St. Anselm’s satisfaction theory of atonement and contrasting this with the Orthodox stress on Christ’s resurrection as freeing mankind from the imprisonment of death. He especially liked Fraser’s dismissal of the theological use of ‘economic’ metaphors, “Salvation is not some bloody cosmic accountancy. It’s a prison break.” Abba Seraphim highlighted St. Athanasios the Apostolic’s teachings on resurrection, “Through this union of the immortal Son of God with our human nature, all men were clothed with incorruption in the promise of the resurrection. For the solidarity of mankind is such that, by virtue of the Word’s indwelling in a single human body, the corruption which goes with death has lost its power over all.”  He felt that the saint’s emphasis on the solidarity of mankind was hugely significant, as it correctly represents the nature of God as “the lover of mankind,” rather than a callous despot enslaved by a legalistic concept of His own justice, which detracts from the purpose of the cross as a supreme act of sacrificial love by our Lord.