Holy Week & Paschal Services

pascha-headerLazarus Saturday – April 23rd

Chrismations at 9:30am / Divine Liturgy at 10am 

Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday transition the Church from Great Lent into Holy Week. On Lazarus Saturday we are given a foretaste, a promise, of Christ’s victory over death in the raising of His friend at Bethany (John 11:46).

 

Palm Sunday – April 24th 

Hours & Divine Liturgy at 9:45am

“‘Blessed is He that comes…’ – that comes not so much out of the past as out of the future : for on Palm Sunday we welcome not only the Lord who entered Jerusalem long ago, riding on a donkey, but the Lord who comes again in power and great glory, as King of the Future Age.” (The Lenten Triodion, p. 58)

 

Bridegroom Matins – April 24th, 25th, 26th 

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday at 6:30pm

These three evening services remind us in their hymns that the end is drawing near, as spoken of in the parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25): “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh after midnight…”

 

Holy Wednesday – April 27th

Service of Holy Unction at 6:30pm

This sacramental service of anointing teaches us afresh that our physical and spiritual struggles are inseparable. The forgiveness of sins and healing of our infirmities are the saving work of Christ, Who comes to bring life to our whole being. As Holy Unction is considered one of the sacraments of the Church, the anointing is reserved for Her members. All others (including catechumens and inquirers) are warmly invited to come forward to receive a blessing from the priest. 

 

Holy Thursday – April 28th

Divine Liturgy at 9am / Passion Gospels at 6:30pm

On this morning we celebrate the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, whose Liturgy we have celebrated throughout Great Lent. Holy Thursday commemorates the institution of Holy Communion in the Last Supper.

In the evening we read the 12 Passion Gospels which begin the Church’s observance of Holy Friday (as evening begins the new day). The priest brings out a large Cross from the sanctuary, and all are invited to venerate.

 

Holy Friday – April 29th

The Royal Hours at 9am / Great Vespers at 4pm / Lamentations at 6:30pm

The morning’s Hours (the traditional 1st, 3rd, and 6th Hours) are interspersed with additional Epistle and Gospel readings.

At the conclusion of Great Vespers, the priest brings the Epitaphion (a cloth with an icon of our Lord after His crucifixion) from the sanctuary and places it in the tomb, venerating it along with the faithful.

The evening Lamentations service begins with praises for our Lord. “The predominant note at this service is not so much one of mourning as of watchful expectation.” (The Lenten Triodion, p. 63) We commemorate Christ’s descent into and hallowing of Hell. And then we process outside with the Epitaphion, singing “‘Holy God, Holy Mighty…’ exactly as they would at a funeral. And yet this is not in fact a funeral procession at all. God has died on the Cross, and yet He is not dead. He who died, the Word of God, is the Life Himself, holy and immortal; and our proceeding through the night signifies that He is now proceeding through the darkness of Hell, announcing to Adam and to all the dead His coming Resurrection, in which they are also called to share.” (The Lenten Triodion, p. 63)

 

Holy Saturday & THE VIGIL OF PASCHA- April 30th

Vesperal Divine Liturgy at 9am / THE VIGIL OF PASCHA 10:30pm

Holy Saturday’s Vesperal Liturgy includes 15 Old Testament readings. The theme of baptism is emphasized in the readings and hymns as baptism and Christ’s Resurrection are inextricably linked. In place of the Trisagion (Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal) we sing “As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ!” The joy of Pascha, our Lord’s Resurrection, is already breaking through.

“On Holy Saturday evening the people… assemble in the darkened [nave] while the Acts of the Apostles are read and then the Midnight Office is sung. As [midnight] approaches, the lights in the [nave] are extinguished. All wait in silence for the moment when the priest will come out from the sanctuary with the burning candle that symbolizes the light of the risen Christ. So the period of the Lenten Triodion closes in a spirit of intense and eager expectation. ‘Surely I am coming quickly,’ the Savior says to us (Rev. 22:20), and in our hearts we make ready to reply to the risen Christ: ‘Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!'” (The Lenten Triodion, p. 64)

Together we process outside with candles, returning to the temple to complete the service of Holy Pascha. The homily of St. John Chrysostom is read. The faithful are communed of the Risen Lord. And together we proclaim: “Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!”

All who are present are invited to share in the blessing of the Pascha baskets and the traditional breaking of red eggs at a light reception downstairs in the parish hall following the service.

 

Great and Holy Pascha – May 1st

Agape Vespers & Paschal Meal at 1pm

We return to the temple on Sunday afternoon to celebrate the joy of Christ’s Resurrection in prayer (Agape Vespers) and fellowship (the big Paschal Meal). This year we will be enjoying a parish potluck in our parish hall and yard. All are warmly invited to attend!

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