The Tradition of the Paschal Egg

by 1389 on May 4, 2013

in 1389 (blog admin), icons, Pascha (Easter)

Red paschal eggs decorated in white

By Abbot Tryphon

Icon of St. Mary Magdalene with red egg
Icon of St. Mary Magdalene
with red egg

There is a beautiful tradition within the life of the Church for believers to have as their last meal before beginning the Great Lenten Fast, to eat a hard boiled egg, white in color. This egg represents our sinful nature, and we eat this egg with the hope that the Lenten journey will bring us to repentance, and make us worthy to receive the Risen Lord Jesus Christ.

The great and holy myrrh-bearer Mary Magdalene, equal of the apostles, during a dinner with the emperor Tiberius Caesar, was speaking about Christ’s resurrection. Caesar scoffed at her, saying that a man could rise from the dead no more than the egg in her hand could turn red. Immediately, the egg turned red. This is believed to be an explanation for dyeing eggs red at Pascha.

At the end of Matins, during the Paschal service, the priest hands out a red egg, symbolizing the blood of Christ, to each worshiper. At the beginning of the Paschal feast, following the Midnight Liturgy, believers break the Lenten Fast by again eating an egg.

As we hit our red eggs together, while saying, “Christ is Risen”, we are symbolically proclaiming the truth that Christ, by his death and holy resurrection, broke the bonds and power of death. The breaking of the eggs represents the opening of the tomb, and the crashing of the doors of hell, with Christ destroying the power of darkness and death, forever.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Blogwrath May 4, 2013 at 12:23 am

Although it’s still early, I would like to wish everybody a happy Orthodox Easter!

2 1389 May 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Thanks!

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