If any be devout and love God, let them enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any be wise servants, let them rejoicing enter into the joy of their Lord. If any have laboured long in fasting, let them now receive their recompense.
If any have wrought from the first hour, let them today receive their just reward.
If any have come at the third hour, let them with thankfulness keep the feast.
If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let them have no misgivings, because they shall in nowise be deprived therefor.
If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let them draw near, fearing nothing.
If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let them, also, be not alarmed at their tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of His honour, will accept the last even as the first. He gives rest unto them who come at the eleventh hour, even as unto them who have wrought from the first hour.
And He shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one He gives, and upon the other He bestows gifts. And He both accepts the deeds and welcomes the intention, and honours the acts and praises the offering.
Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first and likewise the second. You rich and you poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honour the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden. Feast you all sumptuously. The calf is fatted. Let no one go hungry away.
Enjoy you all the feast of faith. Receive you all the riches of loving-kindness. Let none bewail their poverty, for the universal Kingdom has been revealed. Let none weep for their iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let none fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into hell, He made hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: “Hell,” said he, “was embittered when it encountered Thee in the lower regions.”
It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the Unseen.
O death, where is your sting? O hell, where is your 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!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave!
For Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.