Great and Holy Friday — April 13, 2012

This is a day unlike any other day. There is no Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion is not received on this day.

At 9 a.m. the Royal Hours will be prayed before the Cross of our Crucified Lord on Golgotha as we keep the silence and fast of this day

holy friday iconAt 6 p.m. the Vespers of the death and burial of Christ will be served. During the Holy Gospel of the Vespers, the Body of Christ will be taken down from the Cross as Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus down
from the Cross. Reverently, the Icon of our Crucified Lord will be taken into the Altar.

Everything seems over: no Divine Liturgy; no Holy Communion; we bury Christ. The SHROUD emerges from the Altar through the Iconostasis and is carried to the grave for burial. Our Temple is the TOMB OF CHRIST and we watch and we pray.

Following the Vespers of Great and Holy Friday, the Matins of Great and Holy Saturday will be served. This Service is called the Jerusalem Matins and this service commemorates Christ’s descent into hell.

During the Matins our minds are directed to the entombed Christ and the prayers of the Church stress His redemptive work during the time that His body lay in the Tomb.

The moment Christ died on the Cross, He rose from the dead, but His Resurrection was not made known to us until the third day. Before He made known His Resurrection to us, He descended into hell to proclaim His VICTORY over Satan and to release Adam and Eve and the Old Testament Saints from their captivity.

Towards the end of the Service, the Shroud will be carried in procession around the Church. It is this procession that symbolizes for us Christ’s descent into hell. Our candles are lit as we walk with Christ and we are reminded that we have been freed and forgiven and through Baptism we have been buried with Christ to rise with Him into the newness of life.