Holy Thursday

We are now in the midst of Orthodox Holy Week.

Holy Thursday Service at St. Mary Orthodox Church in Cambridge, MA.
Holy Thursday Service at St. Mary Orthodox Church in Cambridge, MA.

On Holy Thursday, the Church holds the Service of Holy Passion.  In this service we read through the passion narratives from all four Gospels in twelve installments.  In the middle of the service the priest brings out the Cross, then the people come up and prostrate themselves before the Cross of Christ.

Interspersed with the Gospel readings are hymns and prayers.

 

Today Judas forsakes the Master and takes to himself the Devil; he is blinded by the passion of avarice, and in his darkness falls from the light.  For, how is he able to see, who sold the Bearer of Light for thirty pieces of silver?  But He who suffered for the world has become he dawn for us.  To Him let us cry out: “Glory to You, Who suffers for, and with mankind.”  (4th Antiphon)

Today is hung upon the Cross, He Who suspended the Earth amid the waters.  (3 Times).  A crown of thorns crowns Him, Who is the King of Angels.  He, Who wrapped the Heavens in clouds, is clothed with the purple of mockery.  He, Who freed Adam in the Jordan, received buffetings.  He was transfigured with nails, Who is the Bridegroom of the Church.  He was pierced with a lance, Who is the Son of the Virgin.  (15th Antiphon)

This service is basically a long meditation on Christ’s death on the Cross.  It prepares us for Christ’s resurrection on early Sunday morning.

Wishing all of you a blessed Holy Week!

Robert Arakaki

 

4 comments:

  1. My priest, after the service, reminded us that we are primarily meditating not on the emotional aspects of the service, as if to say “how sad”, but rather the paradoxes that are given to us in the hymns. We are meditating not on what is happening, but to whom it is happening: God Himself. If this does not scandalize us, perhaps we are too indifferent to the Gospel and its exclamations, especially during this service, that God is hung on a cross and dies. God dies.

    Good thoughts on Holy Thursday.

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