Service of Good Friday starts the weekend of Easter. The celebration of Easter for the Orthodox Christians is the most important religious holiday of the year. Good Friday service is with the service of the Lamentations.
The most common estimate of the number of Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide is 225–300 million. Forming a single communion, making it the second largest, single Christian denomination behind the Catholic Church. The Orthodox Christian throughout the world is celebrating the resurrection of Christ.
The Orthodox Christian throughout the world is celebrating the resurrection of Christ.
The Seven Last Words
The Seven last words of Christ remembered in sermons during the Easter season. In addition the theme of a famous choral cantata rendered by choirs.
- “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”Spoken by Christ at the time he was crucified and the Roman soldiers were casting lots for his robe. ( Luke 23:34)
- ” Verify I say unto thee, today thou shall be with Me in paradise.”Spoken to the repentant thief who hung on a cross beside Christ (Luke 34:43)
- “Women, Behold thy Son! Son Behold thy mother.”Spoken to His mother and to the disciple John who was charged with taking care of Christ’s mother. (John 19:26-27)
- “My God, my God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me.” Spoken by Christ during His agony on the cross.(Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34)
- Ï thirst” Spoken by Christ on the Cross in His final hour. Vinegar on a sponge was administered to Him at the time. (John 19:28)
- “Father, Into Thy hands I commend My spirit,” Spoken by Christ just before His death after six hours of crucifixion. (Luke 23:46)
- Ït is finished.”The final words of Christ as He died on the Cross. (John 19:30)
The Service of The Lamentations
In John 19:25 we read ” …standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene” Mary the Theotokos stood by and watched her son die. During the Lamentations service, we sing during the evening of Good Friday. This is when Jesus’s mother expresses her feeling of her son’s death.
Passing Under The Tomb
Has been an old tradition in some of the churches to have the children go under the tomb. not to mention as a young lad, I was an altar boy with my uncle Reverend Theophilos Theophilopoulos in Montreal. There, a set of altar boys would help the children and the aged to get under the tomb. Equally important this act was supposed to represent the renewal of our baptismal commitment.
Holy Friday in the Orthodox Church commemorates not only the death and the burial of Jesus Christ but also his descent into Hades. In addition, he preached to all the souls in Hades. All the ones that died in the past.
As the hymn says, “Thou hast come down to earth to save Adam and having not found him on earth, Thou hast descended, searching for him, even into Hades…” The last part of the service is the procession. Together with the Epitaphio (the coffin) the parishioners following the priests and their helpers into the evening as they walked around the church. As a matter of fact, this procession represents Jesus Christ carrying the cross.
Once the procession re-enters the church the priest prepare to finalize the service. Furthermore, it is the custom to remove the flowers from the Epitaphio and give them to the worshippers. With this in mind, the parishioners take the flower and it is then preserved before their home icon.
“List of Christian denominations by number of members” April 2017 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations_by_number_of_members>
N.Takis “Modern English Translation and metered” <http://www.newbyz.org/lamentations_sisters.pdf>
“Greek Orthodox Services in Sarasota”<http://sarasotaorthodox.com/>