Greeting the Resurrection through the Ages

Christ Surrexit vere, alleluia!
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, alleluia!

With this Paschal greeting, we join the Saints throughout the ages who have welcomed the Resurrection of the Lord, “the crowning truth of our faith in Christ” and “the confirmation of all [His] works and teachings” (CCC 638, 651).

The Resurrection is a historical event! The God-man named Jesus of Nazareth claimed that after the authorities had killed him, he would rise again. He made good on that promise and on the third day rose from the dead. All of this took place in our messy world, as it really is. And so we join those first disciples, gathering astounded in Jerusalem on that first Easter Sunday: “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” (Luke 24:34).

During this blessed time of the Easter Octave, we would like to take the opportunity to meditate on our Lord’s victory in a way especially dear to us Dominicans: through the study and preservation of old books!

Dominicans have long cherished and valued old books, and the Order of Preachers continues that love to this day. Archbishop Najib Mikhael Moussa, OP, is renowned even in secular academia for his 2014 rescue of hundreds of medieval books—the heart of Iraqi Christian culture—from the onslaught of ISIS. A friar of our own Province, Augustine Thompson, OP, currently serves as the president of the Pontifical Institute for Medieval Studies, one of the world’s most prestigious centers for the study of medieval European texts.

But why bother with old books in such a festive time? What do the dusty pages of centuries hold for us celebrating our salvation today?

Quite literally the fingerprints of our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the ages!

Siemeon Khromoy. All Saints in Church of the Resurrection in Kishert. Before 1616. 

Across times, places, and cultures, Christian communities have acclaimed the resurrected Lord, each in a special way. They show us that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves: the Church, the People of God, born at Pentecost and proceeding throughout the world even to "the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Throughout this Easter week, we want to savor the Lord’s victory by looking at this varied expression of faith. Join us over the following days, so we can better appreciate the Resurrection we celebrate today!

A 14th-century Italian Antiphonary

An 11th-century Byzantine Evangeliary

A 13th-century Syriac Lectionary