Great and Holy Pascha (Easter) is just over two weeks away on April 16. In preparation Fr. George at St. Christopher Hellenic Orthodox Church has been asking parishioners to read the Gospel in various languages that they know. The reading of the Gospel in various languages is a Paschal tradition in the Eastern Rite churches that symbolizes the spreading of the Gospel to different peoples, cultures and countries and through out the world.
After the Presanctified liturgy and after Fr. George had handed me the antidoron, blessed bread, he asked if I could read the Gospel in Ukrainian. I told Father that I didn’t know Ukrainian but that I could read the Gospel in Dutch and Portuguese. After our Lenten devotional class Fr. George asked if I would be able to supply the Dutch and Portuguese Gospels after he assigned me verses to read.
The way this will work is that I will be reading Dutch and Portuguese verses of the Gospel during the Paschal vespers on Holy Saturday night. There will be fourteen to fifteen other people reading the Gospel in various languages standing in the outer part of the sanctuary. According to Fr. George this will look like a cross from above but equally important the positioning of readers will look like a compass that represents the world. The readers will “go around the world” reading the Gospel in our different languages by taking turns. We will go around the circuit several times until every one has read their portion of the Gospel.
Now I need to wait for my assigned portion of the Gospel and then find the corresponding Dutch and Portuguese Gospel verses. Then I’ll start practicing.