QUESTION:From Pascha onwards, we begin reading from the Acts and the Gospel of John in the liturgies. Why then, on Bright Tuesday, is the passage from Luke 24:12-35 ("Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre..."), instead of St John?
There are eleven Gospel readings pertaining to the resurrection that are read throughout the year at Sunday Matins. However, during the period between Pascha and Pentecost, there are are only six Sundays available, which is insufficient for all eleven resurrection readings to be read at Matins. So five of those readings are read at the Liturgy on various days throughout the period. In this way none of the resurrection Gospels is omitted during the period. The days on which the eleven resurrectional readings occur are as follows:
Gospel 1 (Matthew 28:16-20) - at Matins on the 2nd Sunday of Pascha (Thomas Sunday)
Gospel 2 (Mark 15:43-16:8) - at Liturgy on the 3rd Sunday of Pascha (Sunday of Myrrhbearers)
Gospel 3 (Mark 16:9-20) - at Matins on the 3rd Sunday of Pascha (Sunday of the Myrrhbearers)
Gospel 4 (Luke 24:1-12) - at Matins on the 4th Sunday of Pascha (Sunday of the Paralytic)
Gospel 5 (Luke 24:12-35) - at Liturgy on Tuesday of Bright Week
Gospel 6 (Luke 24:36-53) - at Liturgy on Ascension Day
Gospel 7 (John 20:1-10) - at Matins on the 5th Sunday of Pascha (Sunday of the Samaritan Woman)
Gospel 8 (John 20:11-18) - at Matins on the 6th Sunday of Pascha (Sunday of the Blind Man)
Gospel 9 (John 20:19-31) - at Liturgy on the 2nd Sunday of Pascha (Thomas Sunday)
Gospel 10 (John 21:1-14) - at Matins on the 7th Sunday of Pascha (Sunday of the Fathers of the First Council)
Gospel 11 (John 21:15-25) - at Liturgy on the Saturday before Pentecost
Thus, the reading of the resurrection Gospel according to Luke (24:12-35) during paschaltide perhaps reflects the desire that this important Gospel reading not be omitted during the period when the resurrection of Christ is being so prominently commemorated. As for the placement of this Gospel on Bright Tuesday, perhaps this has to do with the fact that events narrated in that particular Gospel occurred close to that day.
We confidently recommend our web service provider, Orthodox Internet Services: excellent personal customer service, a fast and reliable server, excellent spam filtering, and an easy to use comprehensive control panel.