Octave of Easter

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Russian Icon of the Resurrection (16th century).
The Octave of Easter, sometimes known as Low Sunday (and also known historically as White Sunday, Whitsunday, St. Thomas Sunday and Quasimodo Sunday), is the Sunday after Easter Sunday. Since 1970 Low Sunday has been officially known as the Second Sunday of Easter (referring to the Easter season) in the Roman Catholic Church. On April 30, 2000 it was also designated Divine Mercy Sunday by Pope John Paul II.

Origins of the names

Octave refers to both an eight-day feast or the eighth and final day of a feast. In the case of Easter, "Octave" refers to both the eight days and the eighth day.

Western Churches

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Andrea del Verrocchio's sculpture of the incredulity of St. Thomas.
St. Thomas Sunday is so called because the Gospel reading always relates the story of "Doubting Thomas," in which Thomas the Apostle comes to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus only after having placed his finger in the nail marks and his hand in the side of Jesus. In the Gospel accounts, this event takes place on the eighth day after the Resurrection, hence their significance for this Sunday.

Divine Mercy Sunday is the culmination of the novena to the Divine Mercy of Jesus, a devotion given to St. Faustina (Mary Faustina Kowalska) and is based upon an entry in her diary stating that anyone who participates in the Mass and receives the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist on this day is assured by Jesus of full remission of their sins. The devotion was actively promoted by Pope John Paul II, who officially set its commemoration on this Sunday in 2000.

Prior to the 1970 Roman this day was called Low Sunday. It was sometimes said that the name derives from its relative unimportance compared to the solemnities of Easter Day, but it is more likely that "low" is a corruption of the Latin word Laudes, the first word of the Sequence of the day: "Laudes Salvatori voce modulemur supplici" (Let us sing praises to the Savior with humble voice). Laudes means "praises".

Traditionally, the newly-baptised would receive baptismal gowns that would be worn until this day, and the official Latin name is Dominica in Albis [Depositis], "Sunday in [Setting Aside the] White Garments". Hence "White" and "Alb" Sunday—which is also the etymology of Whitsunday (Pentecost).

The name Quasimodo came from the Latin text of the traditional Introit for this day, which begins "Quasi modo geniti infantes..." ("As newborn babes...", from the First Epistle of Peter (I_Peter 2:2). Literally, quasi modo means "as recently [sc. born babes]".

Eastern Churches

In the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches, the first Sunday after Pascha (Easter) is known as Thomas Sunday, after the Gospel passage read that day (John 20:19-31) which recounts the story of Christ appearing to the Apostle Thomas in order to dispel his doubt about the Resurrection. It should be noted that among Eastern Christians the Apostle Thomas is not so much remembered as "doubting Thomas," but is rather remembered for his confession of faith: "My Lord and my God," thus being the first to publicly proclaim the two natures of Christ: human and divine.

The entire week from Pascha to Thomas Sunday, known as Bright Week or Renewal Week, is considered to be one continuous day. The hymns chanted every day are identical to those chanted on the Sunday of Pascha, with the exception of a few parts that are taken from the Octoechos (the "Book of the Eight Tones"). Each day has a different tone: Easter Sunday is Tone One, Bright Monday is Tone Two, and so on through the eight tones (skipping Tone Seven, the "Grave Tone"). On Bright Friday, in addition to the normal Paschal hymns, special stichera and a canon in honor of the Theotokos (Mother of God) are chanted in commemoration of her Icon of the "Life-giving Spring." During all of Bright Week the Royal Doors on the Iconostasis are kept open—the only time of the year when this occurs. The doors are closed before the Ninth Hour on the eve of Thomas Sunday. However, the Afterfeast of Pascha will continue until the eve of the Ascension.

Thomas Sunday is also called Antipascha (literally, "in the place of Pascha") because those who for honorable reason were not able to attend the Paschal Vigil, may attend services on this day instead. Pascha is a unique feast in the church year; being the "Feast of Feasts" it follows a format unlike any other day. Those liturgical elements normal to a Great Feast of the Lord which were displaced by Pascha's unique elements are instead chanted on Thomas Sunday.

All Sundays of the year are determined by the date of Pascha. Thomas Sunday is the first Sunday of the year that takes its character and naming from the current Pascha (all earlier Sundays having depended on the previous Pascha).

The days following Thomas Sunday are traditional days for visiting the cemeteries to greet departed loved ones with the joyous good news of the Resurrection. In Russia this normally takes place on the Tuesday following Thomas Sunday and is called Radonitsa. The week that follows Thomas Sunday is called Thomas Week, and a number of the hymns from Thomas Sunday are repeated throughout the week.

Literary Note

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"Jesus I trust in you"]] The Feast of the Divine Mercy or Divine Mercy Sunday falls on the Octave of Easter (the Sunday immediately following Easter). It is dedicated to the devotion to the Divine Mercy promoted by St. Faustina, and is based upon an entry in St.
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Pope John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Italian: Giovanni Paolo II, Polish: Jan Paweł II) born Karol Józef Wojtyła  
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Octave in liturgical usage has two senses. In the first sense, it is the eighth day following a major feast (counting the feast itself as the first day), particularly in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican liturgical calendars.
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For the town in Singapore, see Novena, Singapore.


The word Novena is the feminine form of the Medieval Latin word, "novenus", "ninth", which is the ordinal number from novem, nine.
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"Jesus I trust in you"]] Mary Faustina Kowalska, commonly known as Saint Faustina, born Helena Kowalska (August 25, 1905, Glogowiec, Poland, then in the Russian Empire – Died October 5, 1938, Kraków, Poland) was a Polish nun and mystic, now venerated in the
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Mass is the name given to the Eucharistic celebration in the Latin liturgical rites of the Roman Catholic Church, in Old Catholic Churches, in the Anglo-Catholic tradition of Anglicanism, and in some largely High Church Lutheran regions, including the Scandinavian and Baltic
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Confession of sins is part of the Christian faith and practice ( James 5:16 ). The meaning is essentially the same as the criminal one – to admit one's guilt. Confession of one's sins, or at least of one's sinfulness, is seen by most churches as a pre-requisite for becoming a
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Eucharist (also known as Holy Communion, the Lord's Supper, among other names) is a rite or act of worship that most Christians[1] perform in order to fulfill the instruction that they believe Jesus gave his disciples, at his last meal with them before
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Jesus (8–2 BC/BCE to 29–36 AD/CE),[2] also known as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity, and is also an important figure in several other religions.
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sequence (Latin: sequentia) is a chant sung or recited during the Roman Catholic Mass, before the proclamation of the Gospel. By the time of the Council of Trent (1543-1563) there were sequences for many feasts in the Church's year.
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praise is an impassioned exaltation of God (ie. a Supreme Being, or Creation), typically as an expression of gratitude for one's life or being. In other cases, praise may be tied to more situational aspects such as health and prosperity.
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ALB is a three-letter abbreviation may refer to:
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Pentecost (ancient Greek: πεντηκοστή [ἡμέρα
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The Introit (Latin: introitus, "entrance") is part of the opening of the celebration of the Roman Catholic Mass and the Lutheran Divine Service. Specifically, it refers to the antiphon that is spoken or sung at the beginning of the celebration.
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Bright Week or Renewal Week is the name given within the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches to the period of seven days beginning on Pascha (Easter) and continuing up to (but not including) the following Sunday, which is known as Thomas Sunday.
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Octoechos (Greek Οκτώηχος; Slavonic: Октонхъ, Oktoikh, or Осмогласникъ, Osmoglasnik
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A sticheron (plural: stichera) is a particular kind of hymn used in the liturgy or acolouthia of the Orthodox churches; a sticherarion is a book containing the stichera for the morning and evening services throughout the year.
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A canon is a structured hymn used in a number of Eastern Orthodox services. It consists of nine odes, sometimes called canticles or songs depending on the translation, based on compositions (also called odes) found in the Bible and with one exception, the
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Theotokos (Greek: Θεοτόκος, translit. Theotókos) is a title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches.
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