My Favorite Week of the Year: Great and Holy Week
Today is Palm Sunday. Tonight, we’ll move liturgically into Holy Week. Lent technically ended on Friday. Yesterday was Lazarus Saturday. Both Palm Sunday and Lazarus Saturday fall outside of Lent and Holy Week. This is also reflected in the color you see in the church. The liturgical color for Lazarus Saturday is Gold and the color for Palm Sunday is Green. After the Festal Divine Liturgy for Palm Sunday all the cloths will change to black. Holy Week is somber.
When we enter into Holy Week we do so through Matins. Usually served in the morning, this service will flip flop with Vespers which is usually served in the evenings. My parish will have Bridegroom Matins on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings. I could write whole post about how Bridegroom Matins is my favorite Orthodox service.
Pre-Sanctified Liturgies will be served Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Wednesday will be the last time this liturgy is served until next year during Great Lent. Pre-Sanctified is a special Vespers service. It always makes me giggle to hear “now that we have come to the setting of the sun” and the sun is bright and shining and it isn’t even noon yet .
Our Parish serves a very special service on Holy Wednesday: Holy Unction. My husband jokingly refers to this service as the Orthodox version of a Healing Revival. This is the same service offered when someone is sick. During Holy Week, this service offers all Orthodox Christians the opportunity to be anointed with the Holy Chrism.
On the evening of Holy Thursday, Matins of Great and Holy Friday is served. During this service we hear 12 gospel readings that take us through the Passion of Christ. The Cross is brought out and Christ is placed on the Cross. This picture represents this service. It is from a few years ago.
I love this service because we each hold a lighted candle during the gospel reading. My legs, back and feet do not like this service though because of all the standing for the readings. It is a very emotional service. I am not alone when I have tears streaming down my face at the point when the icon of Christ is put on the Cross. He chose to die so that we may all have life. Though I still claim Bridegroom Matins as my favorite Holy Week service, this is a close second. I decided to write about the whole week a a favorite because I love all the services that I’ve attended.
There are multiple services each day and on Friday there are three. I’ve only been to all three once. I like to go to at least 2 but last year and this year I will only make it to the evening one. This service is very long. Jesus is placed in the tomb. During the service we begin to build toward the hope we have because we know the reality of the Resurrection.
As I write this blog post, I can feel the excitement building. My joy for the Feast of the Resurrection comes from a deeper understanding of Christ’s death and burial. There is something mystical and beautiful and timeless. I am transported back 2000 years and yet I am here and now. Christ conquers death by death and next Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Feasts and the Victory over Death but this week we remember why and how that death came about.
Do you have a favorite time of year? Have a blog post about your favorite book, actor, hymn, Bible verse or anything that is your favorite? Then come link up. Be sure and visit the other blogs linked up to see what their favorite anything is this week.
Rules for linking up:
- Post must talk about something that is your favorite. It doesn’t have to be the same topic as my favorite post this week but it must be about something that is your favorite.
- Please include a link back to my blog. You are welcome to grab the button from the sidebar to include in your post.