What is Orthodox Pentecost?

What is Orthodox Pentecost?

On Sunday June 23, 2024, the Orthodox Church celebrates Pentecost. What are the specificities of this celebration? Answers from Father Alexis Milyutin, Orthodox priest at Saint-Nicolas parish, in Boulogne-Billancourt.

What is the origin of Pentecost?

Alexis Milyutin : Originally, Pentecost is a Jewish agricultural festival, linked to the festival of Pessah (Jewish Easter) which celebrates the harvest. Subsequently, the festival was associated, among the Jews, with the delivery of the Decalogue and the first tablets of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai. Christians associated Pentecost with the coming of the Holy Spirit to the apostles, which allowed them to spread the word of God throughout the world. This celebration always occurs fifty days after Easter. Which explains why the Orthodox and Catholics, who do not celebrate Easter on the same date, do not celebrate Pentecost on the same day.

What differentiates Orthodox Pentecost from Catholic Pentecost?

Until the 11th century, all Christians celebrated Pentecost in the same way. It is therefore difficult to find differences between Orthodox and Catholic celebrations. The fundamental difference lies in the conception of the Holy Spirit in our churches. For the Catholic Church, the Holy Spirit descends from the father and the son. Among the Orthodox, he only descends from the father.

Also, between the period of Easter and Pentecost, the Orthodox do not practice genuflection (prostration face down on the ground as a symbol of penance and humility before the Lord, editor's note). It is a time of joy and celebration, during which the faithful praise the Lord. After Pentecost Sunday, a period of fasting, also called the Apostles' Fast, is established until the feast of the apostles Peter and Paul. Originally, this time allowed practitioners who were unable to follow Lent to catch up. Today, it has become one of the main fasts of the Orthodox Church.

Is there a particular tradition?

For Pentecost, the Orthodox decorate churches and places of prayer with plants, flowers, or even branches. The Church becomes green, to show that the Holy Spirit is life which appears, which springs forth.

>>> Also read on Lepelerin.com: How to live 24 hours a day with the Holy Spirit?

By Andya Gomichon

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