Holy Friday – Orthodox Holy Week

Holy Friday, Jesus Christ Burial Holy Friday, also known as Good Friday or Great Friday, is a holy day observed by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. This day is commemorated during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and often coincides with the Jewish observance of Passover.

On Great and Holy Friday, the Orthodox Church commemorates the sufferings of Christ: The mockery, the crown of thorns, the scourging, the nails, the thirst, the vinegar and gall, the cry of desolation, and all the Savior endured on the Cross. “Today He Who hung the earth on the waters is hung on the tree.”

This truly holy Day is one …of solemn observation and strict fasting. “We worship Your passion and Your burial, for by them, You have saved us from death!”

In the afternoon, around 3 pm, all gather for the Vespers of the Taking-Down from the Cross, commemorating the Deposition from the Cross. The Gospel reading is a concatenation taken from all four of the Gospels. During the service, the body of Christ (the soma) is removed from the cross, as the words in the Gospel reading mention Joseph of Arimathea, wrapped in a linen shroud, and taken to the altar in the sanctuary. [Read more…]


The Cross – From Holy Thursday to Holy Friday

From the light of Holy Thursday we enter into the darkness of Friday, the day of Christ’s Passion, Death and Burial. In the early Church this day was called ‘Pascha of the Cross,’ for it is indeed the beginning of that Passover or Passage whose whole meaning will be gradually revealed to us, first, in the wonderful quiet of the Great and Blessed Sabbath, and, then, in the joy of the Resurrection day.

Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung on a tree.
The King of the Angels is decked with a crown of thorns.
He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple mockery.
He who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped in the face.
The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the cross with nails.
The Son of the virgin is pierced by a spear.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
Show us also Thy glorious resurrection. [Read more…]


Holy Thursday – Orthodox Holy Week

Last Supper of Christ with His disciples Holy Thursday begins with the celebration of vespers and the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil with a Reserved Eucharist in representation of the earthly presence of Christ realized at the Last Supper.

Two events shape the liturgy of the Great and Holy Thursday: The Last Supper of Christ with His disciples and the betrayal by Judas.

The meaning of both is in love. The Last Supper is the ultimate revelation of God’s redeeming love for man, of love as the very essence of salvation. And the betrayal by Judas reveals that sin, death and self-destruction are also due to love, but to deviated and distorted love, love directed at that which does not deserve love.

In the evening, anticipating the Matins of Friday morning, the Holy Passion service of the reading of the Twelve Gospels is conducted. In these readings Christ’s last instructions to his disciples are presented, as well as the prophecy of the drama of the Cross, Christ’s prayer, and his new commandment. [Read more…]


The Bridegroom Matins – Orthodox Holy Week

Icon of Christ The Bridegroom
Icon of Christ The Bridegroom

Christ the Bridegroom is the central figure in the parable of the ten Virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13); Christ is the divine Bridegroom of the Church as described in the Book of Isaiah (chapter 54), as well as the primary image of Bridegroom Matins. The title is suggestive of His divine presence and watchfulness (“Behold the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night…”) during Holy Week and His selfless love for His Bride, the Church.

The Bridegroom Matins

The Troparion
Behold the Bridegroom comes at midnight, and blessed is the servant whom he shall find watching, and unworthy is the servant whom he shall find heedless.

Beware, therefore, oh my soul. Do not be weighed down with sleep, lest you be given up to death, and lest you be shut out of the kingdom.

But rouse yourself, crying, Holy, Holy, Holy are Thou our God.

Through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.[Read more…]


Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom

Christ Resurrection - Christ is Risen
Christ Resurrection - Christ is Risen!
The Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom is read at the end of Orthros (Matins) at Pascha, the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, universally throughout the Orthodox Church. It was composed sometime during his ministry in the late 4th or early 5th century.

“If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let him enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival. If anyone is a wise servant, let him, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord. If anyone has wearied himself in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.”

If anyone has labored from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let him keep the feast. If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; for he shall suffer no loss. If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near without hesitation. If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let him not fear on account of his delay. For the Master is gracious and receives the last, even as the first; he gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first. He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one he gives, and to the other he is gracious. He both honors the work and praises the intention. [Read more…]


Christ is Risen – Indeed He is Risen – in different languages

Christ is Risen in different languagesAlbanian: Krishti Ungjall! – Vertete Ungjall!
Arabic: Al Maseeh Qam! – Haqqan Qam!
Armenian: Christos harjav i merelotz! – Orhniale harutjun Christosi!
Byelorussian: Khristos Uvoskros! – Zaprowdu Uvoskros!
Chinese: Helisituosi fuhuole! – Queshi fuhuole!
Coptic: Pikhirstof aftonf! – Khen o methni aftonf!
Czech: Kristus vstal zmrtvy’ch! – Skutec ne vstal!
Danish: Kristus er opstanden! – Ja, sandelig opstanden!
Dutch: Christus is opgestaan! – Hij is waarlijk opgestaan!
English: Christ is Risen! – Indeed, He is Risen!
Estonian: Kristus on surnuist ülestõusnud! – Tõesti ülestõusnud!
Finnish: Kristus nousi Kuolleista! – Totisesti Nousi!
French: Christ est Ressuscité! – En Vérité, Il est Ressuscité!
Gaelic: Erid Krist! – G’deya! n erid she!
Irish Gaelic: Tá Críosd ar éirigh! – Go deimhin, tá e ar éirigh!
Scots’ Gaelic: Tha Crìosd air èiridh! – Gu dearbh, tha e air èiridh!
Georgian: Kriste aghsdga! – Cheshmaritad aghsdga!

Greek: Christos Anesti! – Alithos Anesti!
Hebrew: Ha Mashiyach qam! – Ken hoo qam!
Hungarian: Krisztus feltámadt! – Valóban feltámadt!
Italian: Cristo è risorto! – È veramente risorto!
Japanese: Harisutosu Fukkatsu! – Jitsu Ni Fukkatsu!
Latin: Christus resurrexit! – Vere resurrexit!
Norwegian: Kristus er oppstanden!– Han er sannelig opstanden!
Polish: Khristus Zmartvikstau! – Zaiste Zmartvikstau!
Portugese: Christo Ressuscitou! – Em Verdade Ressuscitou!

Romanian: Hristos a Inviat! – Adevarat a Inviat!
Russian: Khristos voskres! – Voistinu voskres!
Serbian: Hristos Vaskrese! – Vaistinu Vaskrese!
Slavonic: Christos Voskrese! – Voistinu Voskrese!
Slovak: Kristus vstal zmr’tvych! – Skutoc ne vstal!
Spanish: Cristo ha resucitado! – Verdaderamente ha resucitado!
Sweedish: Kristus är upstånden! – Ja, Han är sannerligen uppstånden!
Syriac: Meshiha qam! – Bashrira qam!
Ukranian: Kristos Voskres! – Voistinu voskres!
Welsh: Atgyfododd Crist! – Atgyfododd in wir!

Christ is Risen - many languages