Is there anyone who is devout and a lover of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.
Is there anyone who is a grateful servant?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!
Is there anyone who is weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages!
If anyone has labored from the first hour,
let them today be justly rewarded!
If anyone has come at the third hour,
let them with thanksgiving join the feast!
If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour,
let them have no doubt; for they shall suffer no loss.
If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour,
let them come without hesitation.
If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour,
let them not fear on account of their delay!
For the Master is gracious and receives the last even as the first;
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour,
just as to him who has labored from the first.
He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first;
to the one He gives, and to the other He is gracious.
He both honors the work and praises the intention.
Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord!
Whether first or last, receive your reward.
O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy!
O you ascetics (sober) and you negligent (slothful), celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast and you that have not, rejoice today!
The table is rich-laden: feast royally, all of you!
The calf is fatted: let no one go away hungry!
Let all partake of the cup of faith.
Let all receive the riches of His goodness!
Let no one lament their poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that they have fallen again and again,
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free.
He that was taken by death has annihilated it!
He descended into Hades and took Hades captive!
He embittered it when it tasted His flesh!
Anticipating this, Isaiah exclaimed:
“The nether world is all astir, embittered as it prepares for your coming!”
Hell was embittered, for it was abolished!
It was embittered, for it was mocked!
It was embittered, for it was purged!
It was embittered, for it was despoiled!
It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!
Hell took a man, and came upon God!
It took earth, and encountered Ηeaven!
It took what it saw, but crumbled before what it could not see!
O Death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?
Christ is Risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is Risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life reigns free!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead!
For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen!