"Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of 




                                                        "The Fifty Day Period”

                                                            The Book of Fifty

This period of time follows the “Triodion Period” (Pre Lent, Great Lent & Holy Week).  It includes the moveable (revolving feasts of Pascha, Ascension, Pentecost & All Saints.)  This period of “sacred time” begins with the services of Easter Sunday and ends with the evening service of Sunday of All Saints (the 9th Sunday after Easter.) 

Just as with the Triodion period and book of hymns known as the Triodion Book, there is a specific book of hymns for this post Easter period as well, entitled THE PENTECOSTARION.

This entire period of 50 days is seen as a time of joy and celebration, for it commemorates the Lord’s resurrection, ascent to heaven & the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.

S P E C I A L    F E A T U R E S:

The first week – called “Bright Week” or “New Week of Creation” There is no fasting (not even on Weds & Firs) “Christ Is Risen” is said and sung constantly.  The 50th psalm is not to be recited, nor the “Holy God”.   Funeral Services are not served (burials are, but not with the normal funeral service)

Generally, through the period:

There is to be no kneeling (until the Pentecost Day Kneeling Service).  This is so, to maintain the attitude of celebration & resurrection (rising up), vs that of repentance (kneeling).

The prayer “O Heavenly King” is omitted from Pascha to Pentecost.  This is so, in that we “relive” waiting for the descent of the Holy Spirit “a-new”.

The book of Acts is read (virtually) at all services (daily).  This is so, in that the book of Acts recounts the events of the spread of the Resurrection by the apostles following our Lord’s Resurrection and the Descent of the Holy Spirit.

On the day before Pentecost (Sat) the day is dedicated to remembering the dead, to emphasize that even the dead share in the Feast.

On the day after Pentecost (Mon) the day is dedicated to the Holy Spirit (There is no fasting during this week).


This was a feast which the Jews celebrated on the sixteenth day of the month of Siwan (June), or the fiftieth day after the second day of the Passover which fell on the sixteenth of Abib, or Apri.  They also called it the Feast of Weeks, because seven weeks from Passover passed before it came.

The Greeks gave it the name Pentecost, which means the Fiftieth Day (after the Passover) … (see Dt. 16:10) The Jews celebrated it in remembrance of the law which was given to them at the hands of Moses on that day on Mount Sinai.  The Holy Church of Christ, however, celebrates it in remembrance of the descent of the Holy Spirit, fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ.  The Arabic name Ansarah is Hebrew in origin and means “congregation”.   On that day people congregated from distant places.

                                                               IN 2018

Pascha – April 8

Mid Pentecost - Wed. May 2

Ascension Day – Thurs. May 17

(40 days after Pascha)

Saturday of Souls – Sat. May 26

Pentecost – Sun. May 27

All Saints Day – Sun. June 3

Apostles Fast Period – Mon. June 4

(runs through June 29)

Feast of the 12 Apostles – Sat. June 30



                   Well, if He didn’t, you’re wasting your time being a Christian

     Both friends and enemies of the Christian faith have recognized the Resurrection of Christ to be the foundation stone of the faith.  St. Paul wrote to those in Corinth, who in general denied the resurrection:

-  “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain.”

-  St. Paul rested his whole case on the bodily resurrection of Christ.  Either He did, or He didn’t rise from the dead.  If He did, it was the most sensational event of all time, proving once and for all that God exists and is really involved with mankind.

     On the other hand, if Christ did not rise from the dead, Christianity is merely an interesting museum piece – nothing more.  It has no real purpose, nothing to get steamed up about.  And its followers have nothing to grasp on to, the poor deluded fools.

     The attack on Christianity by its enemies has most often concentrated on the resurrection because it has been correctly seen that this event is the crux of the matter.  In the early 1930’s a remarkable attack was made on the resurrection by Frank Morison in his book Who Moved the Stone? 

-  As a lawyer, he felt that he had the knowledge necessary to prove once-and-for-all that the resurrection was merely fraud and superstition. 

-  However, while doing research he discovered that it wasn’t that easy of a matter to deal with.  And in his book, he describes how he became persuaded against his will of the fact of the bodily resurrection.


There are several questions to be considered in answering the question, Did Christ rise from the dead?  Among them, two stand out: the empty tomb and the alleged appearances of Christ.

     How can we account for the empty tomb?

-  The earliest explanation circulated was that the disciples stole the body of Christ.  In Matthew 29: 11-15, we have the record of the reaction of the chief priests and elders when the guards gave them the news that Christ’s body was gone.  They gave the soldiers money and told them to explain that the disciples obviously came at night and stole the body while the guards slept. 

-  That story is so absurd that St. Matthew doesn’t even bother to refute it!  Who knows what goes on while he’s asleep?  There is also a psychological and ethical impossibility to this argument.  Stealing the body of Christ would be something totally foreign to the character of the disciples and all that is known of them.  It would mean that they were promoters of a deliberate lie which was responsible for the misleading and ultimate death of thousands of people. 

-  It is also inconceivable that, even if a few of the disciples had conspired and pulled off this theft, they would never have told the others.

Furthermore, each of the disciples faced the test of torture and martyrdom for his statements and beliefs.  Men will die for what they believe to be true, though it may actually be false.  They do not however, die for what they know is a lie.

Another hypothesis is that the authorities, Jewish or Roman, moved the body

Had this been the case, it would have been easy to smother Christianity right from the beginning.  They could have simply displayed it to the public, thus proving that Christ was still dead.

One of the strangest theories has been that the women were so overcome with grief that they lost their way in the dimness of the early morning and went to the wrong tomb!

-  If this had been the case, why didn’t the authorities simply go to the right tomb and produce Christ’s body?  It is also inconceivable that Peter and John would make the same mistake.  And surely Joseph of Arimathea, who owned the tomb in the first place, could have easily solved this problem.

The swoon theory has also been advanced to explain the empty tomb. 

In this view, Christ did not actually die, but had given in to exhaustion, pain and the loss of blood.  The coolness of the tomb revived Him.  Accounts from all sides, Christian and non- Christian alike, emphasize the fact that Christ certainly died.

-  The only theory that adequately explains the empty tomb is the resurrection of Christ from the dead.


The second piece of data that must be explained is the recorded appearances of Christ.  These occurred from the morning of His resurrection until His ascension forty days later.  Ten distinct appearances are recorded in the New Testament, and they show great variety as to time, place and people.  Two were to individuals, Peter and James.  There were appearances to the disciples as a group, and one was to 500 assembled followers.  The appearances were at different places also.  Some were in the garden near his tomb, some were in the upper room.  One was on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, and some were far away, in Galilee.

-  For the same reasons that the empty tomb cannot be explained on the basis of lies or legends, neither can we dismiss the statement of the appearances of Christ on this basis.  This is testimony given by eye-witnesses fully and profoundly convinced of the truth of their statements.

The major theory advanced to explain away the accounts of the appearances of Christ is that they were hallucinations. 

-  At first, this sounds like a believable explanation of an otherwise supernatural event.  It is believable until we begin to realize that modern medicine has observed that certain laws apply to such psychological phenomena.  As we relate these principles to the evidence at hand, we see that what at first seemed most plausible is, in fact, impossible.

Hallucinations occur generally in people who tend to be vividly imaginative and of a nervous makeup.  But Christ appeared to all sorts of people of various dispositions. 

-  Hallucinations are extremely subjective and individual, and thus no two people may have the same, identical experience.  They usually occur only at particular times and places and are associated with the events fancied.  But Christ’s appearances occurred both indoors and outdoors, in the morning, afternoon and evening. 

-  Hallucination also occur over a long period of time with some regularity, but Christ’s appearances happened during a forty-day period and then stopped abruptly.  No one ever said they happened again. 

-  Finally, in order to have an hallucination, one must so intensely want to believe something that he projects something that really isn’t there and attaches reality to his imagination. 

One might think that this is what happened to the disciples but, in fact, the opposite took place – they were persuaded against their wills that Christ had risen from the dead.


Mary came to the tomb on the first Easter Sunday morning with spices in order to anoint the dead body of Christ.  She was obviously not expecting to find Him risen from the dead.  In fact, when she first saw Him she mistook Him for the gardener!  It was only after He spoke to her and identified Himself that she realized who He was.

When the other disciples heard the news, they didn’t believe it either.  The story seemed to them “as an idle tale.”

-  When Christ finally appeared to the disciples, they were frightened and thought they were seeing a ghost!  Jesus finally had to tell them, “Handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.”  He asked them if they had any food, and they gave Him a piece of broiled fish.  Luke doesn’t add the obvious – that ghosts don’t eat!  (Luke 24:36-43).

The Gospel of St. John gives us the graphic story of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples eight days later.  He graciously invited Thomas to examine the evidence of His hands and His side.  Thomas, who had doubted what the other disciples told him and wasn’t about to hallucinate, looked at Jesus and fell down in worship: “My Lord and my God!”  (John 20:19-31).

-  To hold the hallucination theory in explaining the appearances of Christ, one must completely ignore the evidence.

We have to ask, What was it that changed a band of frightened, cowardly disciples into men of courage and conviction? 

Some fifty days later, Peter risked his life by saying he had seen Jesus risen from the dead.  He preached this in Jerusalem where the events had taken place, where the facts could be verified, and where his life was in danger.  Only the reality of Christ’s resurrection could have produced this change in the disciples.

Finally, there is the evidence for the resurrection which involves all of us.

If Jesus Christ rose from the dead, He is alive today, powerful to invade and change those who invite Him into their lives.  The Orthodox Church bears testimony to this fact, not only on Easter, but throughout the entire year.

-  He has done for us what He said He would do.  Christ’s invitation to “come and see” still stands and is offered to all.


Taking all this evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic incident better or more strongly supported than the resurrection of Christ.  Nothing substantial has ever come of so-called proofs against its reality during the past two thousand years.

The resurrection still stands out as the basis for our faith.  Without it, we would have no faith.


Taken from "Upbeat Magazine"

March/April issue 1979


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Thursday, December 14, 2017

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