ORTHODOX HOLY WEEK

The first three days of Holy Week are devoted to the remembrances of Jesus' last cummunings with His people before His Passion. The first Service of Holy Week comes on the evening of Palm Sunday. The Church begins her day at sunset; thus the first Service of Holy Monday falls on Palm Sunday evening and similarly the remaining services of the Week. The Service usually performed on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday evenings is commonly called the "Bridegroom Prayer" from the following hymn sung during the Service: "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh at midnight; but unworthy is he whom he shall find neglectful. Beware then, my soul, lest thou be weighed down by sleep, lest thou be given over to death, and the door of the Kingdom be closed against thee; but be thou wakeful, crying out: Holy! Holy! Holy! Art Thou, O God; through the intercessions of the Theotokos, have mercy upon us".

HOLY WEDNESDAY commemorates the anointing of Jesus in the house
of Simon by the woman disciple mentioned in St Matthew's Gospel 26:6-13. Her behavior is contrasted with that of Judas, who was to betray his Lord. On Wednesday evening, after Little Compline is said, there follows the Service of Holy Unction, at which the Priest blesses the Holy Oil used for healing of the sick. During the course of this Service seven Epistles and Gospels are read, and seven prayers of blessings recited over the oil; the Priest prays for the health and welfare of the people, and finally anoints all those present, that they may enjoy spiritual and bodily health.

HOLY THURSDAY
commemorates Christ's washing of His Disciples' feet (John 13: 3-17) as an example of humility and love, His Last Supper with His Disciples (Matthew 26:17-30), at which He instituted the Holy Sacrament of His Body and Blood, His prayer and agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:39-46) and His betrayal by Judas (Matthew 26: 47-56). In observance of the Institution of the Holy Sacrament, it is customary for all who can to receive the Body and Blood of Christ on Holy Thursday morning, and to attend the Liturgy. In the evening, the Service of the Twelve Gospels is held, during which are read the twelve Passion Gospels telling the story of the Passion of Christ, beginning with His discourse with His Disciples at the Last Supper, and ending with His entombment in the sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea. Each Gospel read is marked by a lighted candle, and between each reading suitable hymns relating to the Passion are sung. Just before the reading of the sixth Gospel, which tells of he actual crucifixion of Christ, the Priest brings out from the Sanctuary a large crucifix

HOLY MONDAY
commemorates Joseph, the son of Jacob, who was betrayed by his brothers, but who after many sufferings triumphed and came into his own glory. He is regarded as a prototype of Christ. The Gospel of that day (St. Matthew 21: 18-43) tells the parables of the barren fig tree and the evil husbandman, teaching that those who do unrightly thereby forfeit the kingdom of Heaven.

HOLY TUESDAY
commemorates the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) who awaited the coming of the Bridegroom. Those are praised who await the coming of their Lord with the lighted lamp of faith and good works, while the Gospel of the day (Matthew 22:15-23: 1-39) condemns the wicked Scribes and Pharisees who pretended to be just and righteous, but were really evil and malicious.

and places it in the center of the Church; meanwhile a hymn is sung glorifying the crucified Christ, all the people present reverence the Cross. This Service is the morning service ofHoly Friday, hence its preoccupation with the story of the Crucifixion.

HOLY EASTER is the greatest Feast of the Christian Church. It celebrated the resurrection of Christ, and is marked by the most joyful and elaborate of the Church services
Shortly after the beginning of the Resurrection Service, the Priest appears at the Holy Doors bearing a lighted candle, and sings: "Come ye, and receive light from The Light that knows no night; Come ye, and glorify the Christ who is risen from the dead!" The people come forward and light their candles, and all go in procession to the Western Doors of the Church. There the Resurrection Gospel of the Myrrh-bearing Women is read (St. Mark 16:1-8); the procession typifies the women who came with sweet spices early on Easter morning, to anoint the body of Jesus. After the singing of the Easter Hymn "Christ

HOLY FRIDAY commemorates the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ. The
Service is remembrance of the Passion as sung the night before, and no Liturgy is On Friday evening the service is that of the Lamentations at the Tomb of Christ, actually the Morning Service of Holy Saturday. The Epitaphion, or picture of Christ in the Tomb, is placed on a bier of flowers and surrounded with lighted candles. Then follow hymns of lamentation and a procession around the Church, with the bier carried aloft. At the close of the Service all reverence the Cross and receive the blessed flowers. On Holy Saturday the Epitaphion is placed upon the Altar, to remain there until the Feast of Christ's Ascension forty-day sojourn on earth with His Disciples after His Resurrection. On Holy Saturday the Epitaphion is placed upon the Altar, to remain there until the Feast of Christ's Ascension forty-day sojourn on earth with His Disciples after His Resurrection.

singing the great Easter Canon of St. John of Damascus "The Day of Resurrection".

is risen from the dead, having trampled down Death by death, an bestowing life upon those in the tomb", the Great Ektenia is sung, and all re-enter the Church,
The Morning Prayer is followed by the Divine Liturgy at the conclusion of which the Priest reads the Easter Sermon of St. John Chrysostom, and greets the people with the ancient Easter greeting "Christ is Risen!" They respond, "Truly He is Risen!" The Liturgy concludes with the distribution of red Easter eggs, which have been blessed during the course of the service; these signify the new life, which is granted to Christians through the redeeming blood shed for them by the Savior.

HOLY SATURDAY commemorates the entombment of Christ and His descent into Hades. The entombment of Christ is celebrated on Holy Friday evening, and on Saturday morning the Liturgy of St Basil combined with Vespers takes place. This Liturgy is celebrated in light- colored vestments, and the Gospel read is that of the Resurrection according to St Matthew 28:1-20, thus anticipating the Services of Easter Day, which are usually begun about an hour before midnight Holy Saturday.