Triduum #6 The Feast of Feasts

Easter is the Feast of Feasts and that means celebrating in a very special way. I know myself that I need to go through all the passion first. I know that nothing feels like Easter when you’ve gone through the whole triduum. I claim every year that the experience will change your life if you make the journey. Someone has already whispered to me that all that I promised a week ago has proved to be true.

Do you have to go through it to join the celebrations? Well oddly, perhaps the greatest Easter sermon the church has ever known is all about how it matters not at all if you arrive at the feast with no preparation but just want to be there and share the light and the joy and the glory of it all. It’s the Paschal sermon of John Chrysostom and I read it every year. In the Orthodox church they read it out loud, sometimes with congregational participation.

You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!
Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

We’ll be celebrating with Schubert’s Mass in G this year at the 1030 service. (One of my favourites as it was sung at one of my ordinations).

There’s always a crowd at Easter. I’ll not know who will be there. We’re preparing for hundreds but there is always room for just one more.

Particularlities of the Feast including me (and the Vice Provost this year) going round flinging water at everyone. We’ll be doing that during the Kyrie tomorrow. There’s no confession on Easter Day – the Kyrie is all you get and the water does for absolution. It’s not a reminder of your sins but the water for baptism which will have been blessed by the bishop in the font earlier in the day. It’s not a reminder of sinfulness, it’s a reminder of bliss.

The Paschal candle burns proudly above everything. The music will be glorious. A wall of sound as we sing the great hymns of resurrection. New life and new hope for all. The smell of heaven in everyone’s nostrils.

Right at the end of the Eucharist this year, we’ll be honouring Mary by singing the Regina Coeli. Our Lady has journied with us down some dark paths this week. At the triumph of her Son, we rejoice with her.

At the end, there’s coffee as usual and fizz as not usual. There’s also rather a lot of chocolate eggs around the building. This year is 2011, right?

Guess how many eggs…..


  1. Nice to see some of the specifics of the music mentioned, the list isn’t on the cathedral website as it stops at Palm Sunday.

  2. Rosemary Hannah says

    I think that, yes, the Triduum at St Mary’s changed things for me – perhaps not quiet my whole life (it is not my first Triduum, though each one is unique, and I have been a Christian a very long time) – but it was a very deep experience and brought me new insights. I had kind-of hoped to escape tears today, but found them rolling helplessly down my cheeks during the sermon from sheer laughter, and afterwards, sharing with a member of the congregation a very deep life-experience involving our Lady, who I believe prayed for me at a very dark time when I could not myself pray, I found the tears of the heart, part joy and part sorrow, once again flowing.

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