Holy Week — The Final Days

Great and Holy Friday

The Crucifixion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

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,” sing the solemn worshipers.

Beginning with the Orthros of Holy Friday on Thursday evening, and ending with Vespers on Friday afternoon, the day is one of solemn observation and strict fasting. The richness of the liturgical actions and hymnography on this day, are unsurpassed.

Great and Holy Saturday

Epitaphios

Today hell groans and cries aloud: “My power has been destroyed. I accepted a mortal man as one of the dead; yet I cannot keep Him prisoner, and with Him I shall lose all those over whom I ruled. I held in my power the dead from all the ages; but see, He is raising them all.” Glory to Thy Cross, O Lord, and to Thy Resurrection.

Read about Great and Holy Saturday, “The Forgotten Feast”

Pascha – The Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

The Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

On Saturday, the day after the crucifixion of the Lord, His disciples and followers were filled with gloom, for they had seen their Lord and Master die, crucified on a cross. As Holy Scripture tells us, there was a man named Joseph from the Jewish town of Arimathea.

He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their purpose and deed, and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus (Luke 23:50–52).

Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away His body. [He and] Nicodemus also, who had at first come to Him by night…took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen clothes…as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid.

So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there (John 19:38–42). The women who had come with Him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how His body was laid; then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment (Luke 23:55–56).

Read more on the Antiochian Archdiocese website.

Holy Week Schedule

Holy Friday – April 10, 2015
Reading of The Royal Hours – 9:30am
Removing of Christ from the Cross – 3pm
Lamentations – 6pm

Holy Saturday – April 11, 2015
Divine Liturgy – 9:30am
Great and Holy Pascha – 8:30pm

Great and Holy Pascha – April 12, 2015
Agape Vespers – 11am

Why aren’t we celebrating Pascha at midnight? Because some of our older parishioners would not be able to attend. If we hold the services a little earlier, all can come.

Would you like to read the Gospel in a different language for Agape Vespers? If so, please contact Fr. Hans. The reading in different languages represents the Gospel being preachin in all nations.

Pastoral Message from Met. Joseph

Met. Joseph

Pastoral Message for Great and Holy Pascha
April 12, 2015

Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad, as is meet; and let the whole world, visible and invisible, feast; for Christ hath risen to everlasting joy.
(from the 1st Ode of the Paschal Canon)

Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen!

We greet you with great joy and love as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ. We are reminded by the hymn quoted above that the entire universe rejoices in this singular event which brings new life to all creation. Even the current state of violence and hatred which plagues this world is shattered to pieces by the Lord’s descent into Hades and his resurrection from the dead. We ask all of the faithful to continue to pray for the two abducted bishops, Metropolitan Paul, and Archbishop Youhanna, and the victims of violence around the world, especially in Syria and in the entire region. The victory of our Lord Jesus Christ over the powers of death, and the hope of new life are indeed our only consolation during these troubled times. The triumph of this Paschal season strengthens our faith and renews our hope. Let us therefore rejoice with the heavens and celebrate with the entire universe on this, the Feast of Feasts!

Praying that the Light of the Empty Tomb will bring us the joy and peace that can only come from above, I remain,

Yours in Christ,

+JOSEPH
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archidiocese of North America

Remember in Your Prayers

Bob Jarvis who is recovering from a fall.

Pat and Milan Evanoff.

John, the brother of Pauline Poulos who is suffering from cancer.

Tom and Jean, parents of Patty and Jerry.

Greg and his wife Margaret. Greg is the founder of Project Mexico and has cancer.

How should we pray for the sick? Remember them daily. Say their names and ask God to bestow mercy and grace on them.