What’s in a Name: Pascha or Easter?
By Our Lady of Fatima Russian Catholic Church
San Francisco, California
The theological name for the Feast of the Resurrection is Pascha. From its form, we can see that the Greek word comes from the Hebrew Pesach (Passover). Christ’s saving passion, death and resurrection are the fulfillment of the Passover of Israel into freedom. Pascha is the new creation, the eighth day on which all things are made new. We read the Prologue to St. John’s Gospel (John 1: 1-17) on this day, emphasizing the new beginning.
Many European languages use the original term: Pascua, Pâques, etc., since in Latin, the season is called Tempus Paschale. While Easter will probably remain the common designation for the season in the English-speaking secular world, it seems appropriate for Christians to use the more theological term Pascha, especially when referring to the celebration of the mysteries of our salvation.