Orthodox Pentecost is celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter and takes place on June 4 this year. For hundreds of years, Orthodox Pentecost has been celebrated with tremendous zeal as an important Christian holiday. Because Easter is calculated differently in the Orthodox and Western churches, the Orthodox church will have a different date than the Western church. On Pentecost Sunday in the Orthodox Church, it is customary to refrain from kneeling during church services from Easter Sunday through Pentecost Sunday. Celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
History of Orthodox Pentecost Sunday
Orthodox Pentecost Sunday is the final day of the Easter cycle, which began 92 days earlier on the Orthodox holiday known as Shrove Monday. Pentecost Sunday is the day on which Christians remember the day on which the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles in the shape of fire, as described in ‘ Acts, chapter 2’ of the ‘New Testament.’
The origins of Pentecost can be traced back to a Jewish harvest festival known as Shavuot. The apostles were enjoying this celebration when they experienced the coming of the Holy Spirit. It sounded like an extremely powerful wind, and it looked like flames protruding from the ground. The Holy Spirit granted the apostles the ability to communicate in other tongues, and they immediately began preaching the word of Jesus to the Jews who had traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival of Pentecost. At first, people who were passing by thought that the apostles must have been drunk. However, the Apostle Peter told the crowd that the apostles were filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit. Many Christians consider this day as the day the Church was established.
The following day, Monday, is known as Pentecost Monday, and it is a holiday in a number of the countries located in Eastern Europe. In the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition, the term ‘Pentecost’ can refer to both the day itself and the time beginning fifty days before Easter and ending on the day of Pentecost.
Orthodox Pentecost Sunday timeline
The Pentecost festival is mentioned in “Epistola Apostolorum,” a work by the Eastern Church.
Origen, a theologian and the head of the catechetical school in Alexandria, and Tertullian, who was a Christian priest and writer from Carthage, both refer to it in their writings.
The creed is expanded during the First Council of Constantinople, which is the second ecumenical session, and it is at this council that the phrase "proceeds from the Father" is added.
Whitsunday is the name of the feast given to it formally in the “First Prayer Book” of Edward VI, and this name has been used by Anglican churches ever since.
Orthodox Pentecost Sunday FAQs
On Pentecost, what kinds of foods do people typically eat?
Cheesecake, blintzes, and kugels are all traditional dishes associated with the holiday. Some Jews who follow the Sephardic tradition bake bread with seven layers and call it “el pan de siete cielos,” which translates to “seven heavens.” This bread is said to symbolize Mount Sinai.
Why is Pentecost important to Jews?
The Feast of Pentecost is also the second most important feast in the Jewish calendar and is one of the most important three agricultural feasts.
Is Pentecost the same as Shavuot?
Yes, they mean the same thing.
How to Observe Orthodox Pentecost Sunday
Attend the Divine Liturgy
Attending the Divine Liturgy to celebrate and give thanks to God is the most essential thing you can do on this day. Attend Pentecost Sunday with your family members.
Pray to the Holy Spirit
Another way to celebrate is to pray to the Holy Spirit. You can say a prayer or sing to the Holy Spirit.
Celebrate the birth of the church
Today marks the anniversary of the Holy Spirit's descent, which we commemorate. It is often regarded as the church's birthday, so you can make some interesting desserts to celebrate the occasion.
5 Interesting Facts About The Pentecost
Icon of the Pentecost
The icon of the Pentecost is in red and gold, known as the’ Descent of the Holy Spirit,’ signifying a great event.
Liturgy is performed on this day
On the day of the feast, the liturgy is performed, but it is preceded by a service known as Great Vespers the evening before, and then another service known as Matins is performed on the morning of the feast itself.
The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity
The all-holy, life-creating, all-powerful Spirit, one of the three Persons of the Trinity, is honored in the Divine Liturgy on the Monday after the feast.
Kneeling prayer is suspended
Kneeling is normally suspended during the Paschal service, but during the Vespers service on the day of the feast, there is a special kneeling prayer.
The Sunday of Thomas
On the Sunday that falls fifty days following the celebration of Pascha, the church observes this very important feast by performing the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom.
Why Orthodox Pentecost Sunday is Important
It celebrates the birth of the Christian Church
This day commemorates Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, and his subsequent ascension to Heaven. It also marks the start of the Christian Church's mission to the rest of the world.
It reminds us of the Holy Spirit
Pentecost reminds us of the power of the Holy Spirit. This allows us to appreciate the power of the Great Commission, which was to empower the disciples to carry out Christ’s command.
It gives us hope
Pentecost keeps us hopeful. The Holy Spirit present at the Pentecost all those years ago is the same today and for evermore.
Orthodox Pentecost Sunday dates