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Holy Friday

by 1389AD Comments Off on Holy Friday
Filed under Headlines, Music, Orthodox Christianity at April 13th, 2012 - 4:57 pm

The Noble Joseph

Uploaded by dlucs on Apr 27, 2011

The male choir of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, East Meadow, NY sings the troparion “The noble Joseph, when he had taken down Thy most pure Body from the tree, wrapped it in fine linen, and anointed it with spices, and placed it in a new tomb.” at the conclusion of vespers for Holy Friday, April 22, 2011.

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Holy Week in the Eastern Orthodox Church

Rev. George Mastrantonis

A Daily Account of the Solemn Services During Holy Week in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve; after that, He was seen of above five thousand brethren at once.”
(1 Cor. 15:3-6)

Approach to Holy Week

Holy Week in the Eastern Orthodox Church institutes the sanctity of the whole calendar year of the Church. Its center of commemorations and inspiration is Easter, wherein the glorified Resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated. Every Sunday is dedicated in the Eastern Orthodox Church to the Resurrection of the Lord. One hundred days also are dedicated to Easter, 50 before it for preparation, and another 50 after it for commemorating the glorification of the Lord. Easter is considered the “Feast of Feasts.”

The 50 days before Easter, known as a part of the period of Triodion1 (“three” + “odes”), are the period for strengthening faith in the Lord. The means are well-known to people of spiritual experience. They are repentance, which means to change from indifference to full devotion; prayer, which is considered the soul of faith, and through which faith emerges from theory into life; and self-control, which governs our relationships with our fellowman. These means are practical indicators of our vivid faith in God. With this preparation, we are invited to enter the sanctuary of Holy Week, not as spectators, but as participants in the commemoration and enactment of the divine Acts that changed the world. A Christian must always be well-trained and well-armed to fight against those who try to corrupt his spirit and take away his freedom. The Christian must keep his own spiritual kingdom intact and his freedom of religion and uprightness vivid in order to be a part of the Kingdom of God, where the compassion of the Lord and His Resurrection will be experienced. There is no other place where the Kingdom of God can be expanded except the heart of man; and there is no other gate whereby we can enter the Kingdom but that of “repentance.” This was the proclamation of the new era of Jesus Christ, who said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2)

The 50 days which follow Easter are signified by the Pentecostarion2 Gr. Pentikonta 50). They are dedicated to the spiritual enjoyment of the participants in the deep belief that Almighty God is our Companion in our everyday life and thoughts. It starts with the celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection. During this period, the Church of Christ, which is His Mystical Body, was instituted and strengthened. His disciples and Apostles were the witnesses of the appearances of the Risen Lord; they were the recipients of the Holy Spirit, Who changed completely their attitude of fear, Who made the Apostles into piercing heralds and ambassadors of the New Message of salvation in the name of Christ, the Savior. This was an experience, teaching, and inspiration they handed down as the treasure of the Christian Faith. Christians are called to commemorate the same divine Events and to enact them in their hearts and minds, based on the realization that “Christ is Risen.”

The entire Christian confession is contained in the words “Christ is Risen.” St. Paul, referring to this fact, clearly and emphatically says: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (I Corinthians 15:14) This is the reason why, from the beginning, the Church of Christ set forth as the center of its worship and faith the Resurrection of its Lord. From the earliest days after Pentecost, the Apostles designated “the first of the Sabbath” of each week for the remembrance of the Resurrection of our Lord. This day was called the “Lord’s Day” in the Revelation of John, who said: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day…” (1:10) It was this tradition which the writers and hymnologists of the Orthodox Church had in mind when they wrote hymns and odes for eight consecutive Sundays (Lord’s days) having for their subject the Resurrection of Christ as the basic belief of redemption and of worship. The fifth article of the Ecumenical Creed of Faith, the Nicene Creed, refers to this belief as well.

The Resurrection of Christ, in relation to the Crucifixion, constitutes the essence of the Christian Easter, which is the center of the celebrations of worship of God in the Orthodox Church. Herein will be presented the events and services of the Passion Week, recorded in the New Testament, as they exist in the Eastern Orthodox Church today. The Passion Week, from the triumphant entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem until His Resurrection, contains a series of events in the life of Christ the Savior that link prophecy with its fulfillment.

“They cast lots upon my vesture…”

Good Friday Morning

According to the Hebrew custom, the “Royal Hours,” four in number, are read at this time. These services consist of hymns, psalms, and readings from the Old and New Testaments, all related prophetically and ethically to the Person of Christ. In some churches, the “Hours” are read in the afternoon, before the Vesper services.

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do…”

Good Friday Morning

(The service is Vespers sung on Friday afternoon.)

The Vespers of Friday afternoon are a continuation of the Royal Hours. During this service, the removal of the Body of Christ from the Cross is commemorated with a sense of mourning for the terrible events which took place. Once more, excerpts from the Old Testament are read together with hymns, and again the entire story is related, followed by the removal from the Cross and the wrapping of the Body of Christ with a white sheet as did Joseph of Arimathea. Apostle Paul, interpreting the dreadful event, exhorts the Church: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of Godwe preach Christ crucifiedthe power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor. 1: 18f.)

As the priest reads the Gospel, “and taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in a white cloth,” he removes the Body of Christ from the Cross, wraps It in a white cloth, and takes It to the altar. The priest then chants a mourning hymn: “When Joseph of Arimathea took Thee, the life of all, down from the Tree dead, he buried Thee with myrrh and fine linen…rejoicing. Glory to Thy humiliation, O Master, who clothest Thyself with light as it were with a garment.” The priest then carries the cloth on which the Body of Christ is painted or embroidered around the church before placing It inside the Sepulcher, a carved bier which symbolizes the Tomb of Christ. We are reminded that during Christ’s entombment, He descends into Hades to free the dead of the ages before His Incarnation.

The Gospel readings which relate these events are: Matt. 27:1-38; Luke 23:29-43; Matt. 27:29-54; John 19:31-37; Matt. 27:55-61. Good Friday is the only day in the year on which the Divine Liturgy is not officiated.

Today, the devoted Christian ponders in his heart the deep meaning of the Seven Last Words of Christ uttered on the Cross, the first Divine Pulpit of Christianity.

“Do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves…”

Good Friday Evening – The Lamentation

(The service is Matins of Saturday morning sung by anticipation, on Friday evening.)

It consists of psalms, hymns, and readings dealing with the death of Christ, in contrast to His divinity, and in expectation of His Resurrection. One of the hymns relates: “He who holds all things is raised up on the Cross and all creation laments to see Him hang naked on the Tree.” The thoughtful and well-written Odes, sung by the choir, compare the Compassion of God and the cruelty of man, the Might of God and the moral weakness of man. The Odes picture all Creation trembling when witnessing its Creator hung by His own creatures: “Creation was moved…with intense astonishment when it beheld Thee hung in Golgotha.” The Odes remind us of the vision of Isaiah, who saw Christ, “the unwaning light of the manifestation,” and cried aloud, “The dead indeed shall arise and all those on earth shall rejoice.” During this service, the Body of Christ is carried in procession around the church. In some parishes, the entire flower-bedecked Sepulcher, symbolizing the Tomb, is carried in the procession.

The entire congregation joins in singing the three parts of the “Hymns of Praise” (there are approximately 300 hymns, but only a few are sung). After these hymns are sung, the priest sprinkles the Sepulcher and the whole congregation with fragrant water. There is a simultaneous praise of both the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ with their purpose of the redemption of man. We no longer lament the sufferings of the Crucified One; we now lament chiefly for our own sins because we are far from God. So these services should have a rather personal meaning of repentance and of strong faith in God.

Christians observe Good Friday with fasting, prayer, cleanliness, self-examination, confession, and good works, in humility and repentance so that the Grace of the Cross might descend upon them.

The Gospel reading is Matthew 27:62-66.

More here:

Muslims Attack Unbelievers On Our Holy Days

by 1389AD ( 64 Comments › )
Filed under Africa, Christianity, India, Iran, Islamic Terrorism, Jihad, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria at April 11th, 2012 - 8:30 am

These attacks took place on or around the date of Easter celebrated by Western Christians. Orthodox Pascha will be celebrated on April 15, 2012.

50 people killed in Easter Sunday bombings

Easter car bombing in Nigeria 2012

Abuja: At least 50 people were killed when explosives concealed in two cars went off near a church during Easter Sunday services in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, eye-witnesses said.

Shehu Sani, the President of Civil Rights Congress based in Kaduna, said two explosions took place at the Assemblies of God’s Church near the centre of the city with a large Christian population and known as a major cultural and economic centre in Nigeria’s north.

“There were two explosions and the casualty figure may go up because some injuries were really critical,” he said on phone.

Another resident of the city, Miss Blessing Audu said that the explosion has caused panic among Christians celebrating Easter.

She said some parts of the church were damaged even as the vibration caused by the explosives were heard in several parts of the city.

An emergency worker on condition of anonymity explained that the bombs were planted in two cars near the church.

At least 50 people were killed amid fears that the casualties may rise from the blasts.

He said his agency has been able to recover 20 bodies from the site.

Police spokesman Aminu Lawal confirmed the incident but sought more time before making a formal statement.

Ahead of Easter celebrations, the US and the UK had warned of possible bomb attacks, advising its citizens against travelling to certain parts of the country.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombings, but the BBC reported that Boko Haram recently said it would carry out attacks in the area over the Easter holiday.

The radical group has carried out a series of attacks on churches and other locations on Christmas Day, including outside the church in capital Abuja, where 44 people died.

It is waging a bloody war against the government to seek the enforcement of strict Shariah law and the release of all its detained members.

The group has bombed churches and attacked mosques in the 150-million nation that has both Muslim and Christian population, with Muslims predominant in the north while Christians mostly living in the South.

Coordinated multiple bombings and gun attacks in the northern city of Kano by Boko Haram cadres killed 185 people, including an Indian from Gujarat on January 20. A suicide bomb attack by the group at the United Nations headquarters in Abuja in July last year killed 26 persons.


Sheik has the story on many more Easter attacks:

Un-Islamic Easter Bombs (2012)

Follow his links to news stories from Somalia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Yemen, Sudan, Iran, Syria, and the Philippines.

Attacking unbelievers on their holy days is a cherished Mohammedan tradition. Nothing to do with Islam, as always…

Not only Christians were attacked:

Hindu Muslim riot in Hyderabad. Desecration of Hanuman Temple with alleged Beef throwing created communal tension.

Bhagyanagar (Hyderabad) | 9th April, 2012: An indefinite curfew was today imposed in the sensitive Madannapet and Saidabad areas of the walled city. A Hanuman temple at Kurmaguda, (in Saidabad) was found desecrated on the Sunday morning which was followed by incidents of stabbing and heavy stone-pelting, hence curfew has been imposed, police said.

A day after the Hanuman Jayanti (6th April, 20-12), in the early hours of Sunday, 8th April 2012, the devotees of the Hanuman temple at Kurmaguda, in Saidabad, were in for a shock to find green colour had been splashed on the walls of the temple and pieces of cow meat were thrown inside the temple from the grills.

The naturally agitated Hindu youth protested against this sacrilegious act. The Muslims who are a majority in that area launched an offensive on the Hindus and both sides engaged in a duel of stone fight. Sensing trouble, the police indulged in lathi charge and also fired tear gas hurting many of the protesters. At the same time, the Muslims grouped themselves into a larger group and more or less occupied the main road of Saidabad armed with stones and swords, eye witnesses told NewsBharati…

Much more here.

Sword-wielding Muslim mobs? This is 2012!

Here’s another instance of that, in Egypt.

Nearly fourteen centuries ago, mobs of jihadis armed with primitive weapons took advantage of the weakness of their more civilized foes and brought about the Dark Ages. Why are we letting that happen all over again?

Hinglaj Hindu Temple committee chairman kidnapped in Balochistan by suspected Islamists in the eve of Yearly Pilgrimage.

Islamabad, Apr 9,2012, (PTI)

The chairman of the committee that manages the famous Hinglaj Mata temple in Balochistan province of southwest Pakistan has been kidnapped just two days before the beginning of the shrine’s annual pilgrimage, according to a media report today.

Maharaj Ganga Ram Motiyani was abducted at Lasbela in Balochistan by two men in police uniform.
His followers organised a protest outside the Karachi Press Club yesterday and demanded that the government take steps for his recovery.

“Motiyani’s kidnapping appears to be a conspiracy against Hindus since he was kidnapped two days before the gathering.

“He has not been kidnapped for ransom because he is a poor man,” Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council and a former member of the Sindh Assembly, was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune daily.

Thousands of Hindus, including yatris from India, travel to the cave temple of Hinglaj Mata for a pilgrimage in April…

More here.

The Pascha Celebration in Greece

by 1389AD Comments Off on The Pascha Celebration in Greece
Filed under Christianity, Headlines, Orthodox Christianity at April 28th, 2011 - 11:16 pm

Athens News: An exuberant celebration

(Link provided by Sparta)

by Damian Mac Con Uladh
25 Apr 2011

Holy Friday celebration in Greece
Orthodox Christians carry the Good Friday epitaphios in the Aegean Sea next to a burning cross on an islet off the coast of the island of Tinos

INSTEAD OF concentrating on his military duties, Hugh Wybrew spent most of his two years’ national service in the Royal Air Force back in the 1950s learning Russian, a move that brought the London native into lasting contact with Orthodoxy.

“Half our teachers were Russian emigres and at Easter they wanted to go to church. So I went from Cambridge, where I was at the time, to London for the Easter service.”

This was Canon Wybrew’s first encounter with Eastern Christianity. His subsequent career and postings – a year’s scholarship at the Russian Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris (1958-59) and a two-year posting as Anglican chaplain to Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia (1971-73) – resulted in his “becoming soaked in Orthodoxy”.
Wybrew, who was ordained into the Anglican Church in 1960, believes Western Christians have much to learn from how the Orthodox celebrate Easter.

Easter paramount

For one, Easter retains its place as the most important religious event and popular feast in Orthodox Christianity, whereas in the West it has been eclipsed by Christmas, a phenomenon that he dates back to the Middle Ages.

He also singles out the “sense of quite exuberant joyfulness” that the Orthodox express at the proclamation of the resurrection by the priest, amid great excitement, as the faithful press forward to light their candle, announcing to each other that Christ has risen.

“The Western Easter is much lower-key,” says Wybrew, now retired and living in Oxford. “There is silence between the three proclamations of the Resurrection by the priest. The candle is lit from the new fire and then it’s all very ordinary.”

Wybrew also admires the way the Orthodox, “who don’t separate the death and resurrection of Jesus, derive a great sense of victory from the cross on Good Friday”.

“The East has that view of the cross that comes out strongly in John’s Gospel,” explains Wybrew, “which says that the moment of Jesus’ death is the moment of his glory.”

He observed that this joyous anticipation is also reflected in the generous decoration of Orthodox churches with flowers on Good Friday, in a colourful and marked contrast to the more sombre mood prevailing in Western churches on the same day.

“The Western ceremony is less exuberant than in the East and this reflects very much the difference between the Latin-Roman mentality and the more Eastern mentality,” observes Wybrew, who added that in the parishes where he has ministered he has used Orthodox hymns “in an attempt to inject something of that sense of the victory of the cross on Good Friday”.

In Wybrew’s view, the Orthodox liturgical practice “is more wholehearted in its following” of the celebration of Holy Week, as it first developed in Jerusalem in the 4th century.

Thanks to the account written in 385 by one pilgrim, a Spanish nun called Egeria, much is known about how Jerusalem observed Great Week, as it was then called. The Jerusalem pattern was subsequently popularised throughout Christendom.

“To a greater or lesser extent, Christians elsewhere copied it,” says Wybrew. “They had to adapt it, of course, because only Jerusalem had the places connected with the suffering and death of Jesus.”

But he pointed out that many aspects now central to Orthodox devotional practice at Easter are, in fact, of more recent origin, citing the procession of the epitaphios – Christ’s funeral bier – on Good Friday as an example.

Read the rest.

Music for Holy Pascha (Пасха 2011)

by 1389AD ( 1 Comment › )
Filed under Headlines, Music, Orthodox Christianity at April 24th, 2011 - 11:56 am

Holy Pascha (Пасха 2011)

(h/t: coldwarrior)

From the YouTube description:

Христос Воскресе!
Christ is Risen!
Christus ist auferstanden!
Le Christ est ressuscité!
¡Cristo ha resucitado!
Cristo è risorto!
Χριστος Aνεστη!
Kristus je vstal!
Christos vstal z mŕtvych!
Krishti u ngjall!
ქრისტე აღსდგა!
Hristos a înviat!
Chrystus Zmartwychwstał!
Krisztus feltámadt!
Kristus on surnuist ülestõusnud!
Kristus prisikėlė!
Kristus Augšāmcēlies!
Kristus nousi kuolleista!
Kristus är uppstånden!
Tá Críost éirithe!
Erid Krist!
Kristus er opstanden!
Kristus er oppstanden!
Christus is opgestaan!
Cristo ressuscitou!
المسيح قام
Meshiha qam!
Kristo Gesso!
Ua ala hou o kristo!
Kristos Ame Fu Fuka!
Christos T’ensah Em’ Muhtan!
Hristos diril-Di!

Lyrics (from “Come and See” Icons):

Troparion & Kontakion

Christ is risen from the dead! Trampling down death by death! And upon those in the tombs, bestowing Life!

Thou didst descend into the tomb, O Immortal. Thou didst destroy the power of death. In victory didst Thou arise, O Christ God, proclaiming “Rejoice” to the myrrh-bearing women, granting peace to Thy Apostles, and bestowing resurrection on the fallen.

“This is the Chosen and Holy Day, the Feasts of Feasts,” Easter or Pascha, the Passover of Our Lord Jesus Christ from death to life! This icon shows Christ standing over the broken gates of hell in the form of a Cross, pulling out Adam and Eve.

The Angel Cried

From the YouTube description:

St. Barnabas Orthodox Church of Costa Mesa CA. The Choir is singing “The Angel Cried”. The choir is under the direction of Yumi Larsen. It is the last time they will sing this for 2010 as this was the last wedding at the church for the year. It is a long time until Pascha 2011!!!


The Angel cried to the Lady full of grace:
Rejoice, rejoice O pure Virgin!
Again, I say rejoice! Your son is risen
from his three days in the tomb.
With himself he has raised all the dead.
Rejoice, rejoice O ye people”
Shine, Shine! Shine O new Jerusalem
The Glory of the Lord has shown on you
Exult now, exult and be glad O Sion.
Be radiant, O Theotokos, in the Resurrection
the Resurrection of your Son!