The Paschal Egg

In Carpathian Rus', where the hoary Carpathian Mountains gleam, and in Regnant [*derzhavnaya*] Rus' prior to her enslavement by a godless power, from time immemorial, during the days of Passion Week, one could hear from out of the mouths of devout women as they would go about preparing beautifully-painted, multi-coloured *"pisanki"* [Ukrainian-style Paschal eggs], the legend of the little Paschal egg.

Once upon a time, a poor peddler set off for market with a basket-full of eggs to sell. Along the way, he stumbled across a crowd, mocking a Man grown weak and staggering beneath an unbearable burden -- a wooden cross. He had been compelled to carry the cross, with which He could barely -- ever so barely -- ascend the hill whereon crucifixion upon that selfsame cross awaited Him.

Seeing the weakened Man bearing the heavy cross, the peddler left his basket at the edge of the road, and ran up to Him, in order to ease His difficult burthen. Returning to his basket, the peddler discovered that his eggs were covered-o'er with wondrous, brightly-coloured and beautifully-wrought designs.

The Man Who bore the cross was Christ; the peddler was Simon the Cyrenian (Matt. 27, 32), that is, an inhabitant of the city of Cyrene [in North Africa].

From that time on, eggs have become the symbol of the spiritual regeneration of the entire human race.

*Translated into English by G. Spruksts from the Russian text appearing in "Pravoslavnaya Rus'" ["Orthodox Rus'"], No. 7 (1556), 1/14 April 1996, p. 12. English-language translation copyright by The St. Stefan Of Perm' Guild, The Russian Cultural Heritage Society, and the Translator. All rights reserved.

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