Origin of the dialogue from Psalm 23 on Pascha

#1
Does anyone know where the practice of the priest knocking on the church doors and saying "Lift up your gates..." comes from? It is done at the beginning of Orthros on Holy Pascha right before re-entry into the church and the beginning of the Canon. Does this practice have any traditional origins, or is it an American invention?
 
#3
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Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος
#5
Although today's brief practice is a remnant of an older practice as noted earlier (and as extensively-discussed on the Greek side), it is also not in line with the ethos and the theology of the Paschal Resurrection. In fact, it can be considered blasphemous. Christ did not ask permission from Hades to raise the dead. Christ destroyed the gates of Hades, and trampled on death. In fact, just examining the hymnology of Holy Week (from the Canon of Andrew of Crete on the resurrection of Lazarus, to the stichira of Holy Saturday), Hades groans and suffers and is severly wounded. These images are more in line with a thrashing of Hades, not a polite exchange between Christ seeking Hades' permission. The hymnology is perfectly in line with Orthodox theology.

Having an enactment of a "king" (played by the parish priest or a bishop) asking permission from "Hades" to enter an empty church could be "endearing" to those faithful present, however, it is not in line with any of the post-Byzantine typika. The Paschal service rubrics in all post-Byzantine typika are clear on what takes place. Nowehere is this practice found. There is no evidence that the Ecumenical Patriarchate ever conducted this "show" at any time in its history. Although there is some evidence that this may have taken place in Jerusalem at some point, eventually it was dropped.

It takes a good deal of introspection and maturity for today's clergy (who implement this practice) to accept that this is wrong and not in line with theology. Many Orthodox bishops in the world specifically forbid this practice. Some post-modernists find it "endearing", aiming more for the show rather than the accepted traditions and the theology of the Apostolic traditions.

But, in our day when everything has been relativized, even Christ asking Hades for permission to raise the dead becomes....acceptable post-modernist "theology".

A blessed Holy Week and Pascha!

NG
 
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#6
I would add (confirming some points in the previous comment) that both Our Lord's and Lazarus's Resurrection (if I am not mistaken Lazarus is especially revered on the island of Cyprus) are taken as examples of possible religious theatre. Researchers are very sceptical on the subject of 1) the historical presence 2) the dogmatic and also "ethical" compatibility of our church with any religious theatre BUT modern "revivals" could try to make a "secular" show out of it, as it has been done for other rites earlier, and in the context of "reviving older theatrical practices", those revivals being very popular among intellectuals since the 19th century. PS. The previous comment is very insightful, from my "structuralist" point of view, according to which: this practice denotes the end of Lent, not the Resurrection itself. There is, though, a "real" crushing of Hades, described here.
 
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