Thursday, April 16, 2009

Great and Holy Friday


Tomorrow is Holy Friday. Here, again, is S. V. Bulgakov (follow this same link for his detailed liturgical notes):
All the worship services of Great Friday are devoted to the reverent and touching memory of the saving passion and death on the cross of the God-man. Each hour of this day is the new suffering and the new effort of the expiatory suffering of the Savior. And the echo of this suffering is already heard in every word of our worship service - unique and incomparable both in the power of tenderness and feeling and in the depth of the boundless compassion for the suffering of the Savior. The Holy Church opens before the eyes of believers a full picture of the redeeming suffering of the Lord beginning with the bloody sweat in the Garden of Gethsemane up to the crucifixion on Golgotha. Taking us back through the past centuries in thought, the Holy Church brings us to the foot of the cross of Christ erected on Golgotha, and makes us present among the quivering spectators of all the torture of the Savior. The hymns of the Holy Church cry out: "we see a strange and terrible mystery accomplished today: He whom none may touch is seized; He who looses Adam from the curse is bound; He who tries the hearts of men is unjustly brought to trial; He who closed the abyss is shut in prison; He before whom the hosts of heaven stand with trembling stands before Pilate; the Creator is struck by the hand of His creature; He who comes to judge the living and the dead is condemned to the cross; the Conqueror of Hades is enclosed in a tomb"; "every most pure member" of His "holy flesh endured dishonor for us: the head - the thorns, the face - the spitting, the jaws - the buffeting, the mouth - the taste of vinegar mingled with gall, the ears - the impious blasphemies, the back - the scourge, and the hands - the reed, the whole body - extension upon the cross, the joints - the nails and the side - the spear"; "the creator of all is mocked by His own servants; how great is the Master's love for mankind! He prayed to His Father for those who crucified Him, saying: Father, forgive them this sin: for they know not what they do is unrighteous"; "We worship Thy passion, O Christ, show us also Thy glorious resurrection".
Liturgical service:
Scripture readings:

Matins
(Thursday evening):
  1. John 13: 31-18:1.
  2. John 18: 1-28.
  3. Matthew 26: 57-75.
  4. John 18: 28-19:16
  5. Matthew 27: 3-32.
  6. Matthew 15: 16-32.
  7. Matthew 27: 33-54.
  8. Luke 23: 32-49.
  9. John 19: 25-37.
  10. Mark 15: 43-47.
  11. John 19: 38-42.
  12. Matthew 27: 62-66.
First Hour:
  1. Zechariah 11: 10-13.
  2. Galatians 6: 14-18.
  3. Matthew 27: 1-56.
Third Hour:
  1. Isaiah 50: 4-11.
  2. Romans 5: 6-11.
  3. Mark 15: 16-41.
Sixth Hour:
  1. Isaiah 52:13-54:1.
  2. Hebrews 2: 11-18.
  3. Luke 23: 32-49.
Ninth Hour:
  1. Jeremiah 11: 18-23; 12: 1-5, 9-11, 14-15.
  2. Hebrews 10: 19-31.
  3. John 18: 18-19:37.
Vespers:
  1. Exodus 33: 11-23.
  2. Job 42: 12-16.
  3. Isaiah 52: 13 - 54:1.
  4. I Corinthians 1: 18- 2:2.
  5. Matthew 27: 1-38; Luke 23: 39-43; Matthew 27: 39-54; John 19: 31-37; Matthew 27: 55-61 (one composite reading).
At Vespers the burial shroud (Greek, Επιτάφιος; Slavonic, Плащаница) is taken out.

From the Fathers:
Other articles:
For many more Holy Week links, see here.

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