The Vespers of the Day of the Resurrection or "η τελετη της Αναστεος (αγαπης)" is a special moment in the celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord. The chant comes again and again on the joyous hymns that cry out the magnificence of the Lord who rose from the dead or rather was risen by His Heavenly Father passing from death to life. It happened here, in the Holy Sepulcher as the tradition states and is confirmed by the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament. Who witnessed? Mary Magdalena who thus became the first "apostle", i.e. the human being sent to other human beings, namely the disciples to ascertain that Jesus had risen from the dead after three days in the Tomb. The present Edicule is more a symbol and this is often quite difficult to explain to the visitors who really believe the Holy Tomb is the half-shaken building where the Orthodox, the Catholics and the Armenians celebrate and the Syrian Orthodox, the Copts and the nearby Ethiopians come to pray as the whole world wants to visit the unique place. In the Syrian Orthodox part of the Holy Sepulcher, there are some very ancient tombs (NiKodemos) who bring us a testimony of how the tombs were by the 1st century. On the other hand, we cannot really know where the tomb bought by Nikodemos was located. The whole place, whatsoever, has been several times changed, transformed, re-shaped and rebuilt. One thing is certainly most ancient: the conviction that this is the place where the Lord died and where he rose. It requires some imagination to remove all the objects, pavement and walls as we see them at the present and see a "hill", because it was a hill by the time of the Lord, located outside of the Jerusalem of his time and a garden where people used to be crucified. And a garden as Mary of Magdalene said as she thought that the Resurrected was the gardener.
The question is thus to know whether we cna recognize the Lord and who recognized him, how and why after his resurrection and to compare this to the reality of a place that we do feel as the whole tradition would confirm that it is the Anastasis, the wonderful name of the site.
Is it only a question of faith?
The Resurrected can only be seen by who the Father and Creator wants. It comes by the grace of the Holy Spirit. This sounds a bit clerical, but no one can oblige anybody, any soul to recognize Jesus, not because we cannot see him, but because, by the time he rose, he was to be seen as "signs" meant the depth of what the revelation requires from us, as human beings to reach out to some fulfillment. The true fulfillment will come with the Second Coming of the Lord. Here, Mary of Magdala saw the Lord, met with him and behaved as a human, a a woman definitely but with a desire of possession before the Lord told her not to clutch to her. She saw her and was called by her name because names identify us and make us known to others, subsequently to how the Lord can call us. On the way of Emmaus, the disciples did not recognize the man who had been walking with till he broke the bread, even if they had felt some "heat, the 'burden' of understanding as Aramaic suggests. The same when the fished on the Sea of Galilee and shared some meat with the Lord. We do not truly fathom how Jesus, resurrected and present in Jerusalem during almost 40 days looked like as we feel the Eucharist but would not stand to get the very heart of the Mystery of Body and Blood of the Lord.
This Sunday, the Church considers that the resurrection allows to share Light, Presence that still grew till Pentecost. A time of "love" as all tongues heard the heralding of the good news. This is why we have no idea of where the Father sent and continue to send Jesus and the Spirit that overshadows the entire universe. It is beyond our understanding to comprehend that the Resurrected is present, hidden or concealed to some or many, open and evident to others, all times, all places, any tribe, nation, location on Earth and far away in the galaxies. This can be quite difficult to accept and to understand, because the Church of the Anastasis is small, tiny. People come, go, pass. They often don't know where they are. They often think they know something of history, local traditions, their own cultures: in the face of the Lord, we know nothing except that we can feel his love. Again, love is not evident either. On this Sunday, the 13 Attributes of Divine Presence as defined by the Jewish tradition is shown and shared, without any possible exclusion, and still, we hardly know how, why it is given to us.