Theology

Good Friday: Greek Orthodox Traditions of the Epitaph

Good Friday is an eminently mournful day commemorating the Passion of the Christ across Greece. Even the most remote churches honor the tradition of the epitaph, filling the atmosphere with piety and devoutness.

Synaxarion: Holy and Great Tuesday

On Holy and Great Tuesday, we commemorate the parable of the ten virgins, because the Lord related this parable to His disciples as He was going toward Jerusalem to His Holy Passion.

He told the parable of the ten virgins to call attention to almsgiving, at the same time teaching that every man must be ready before the end comes. He had spoken many times to them about chastity. Virginity is held in great honor, because it is indeed a great thing. Yet, lest anyone, while practicing this one virtue, neglect the others, and particularly love, by which the lamp of virginity is given light, he will be put to shame by the Lord. The Holy Gospel introduces this parable, calling five of the virgins wise, because they represent readiness to practice both love and virginity, and five of them foolish because, though they had virginity, they did not have love commensurate with it. They are foolish, therefore, because they practiced a great virtue yet neglected one that is easier and were reckoned as being no better than harlots; the latter were defeated by bodily pleasures, whereas the former, by possessions.

Holy Week: An Explanation

Great Lent and Holy Week are two separate fasts, and two separate celebrations. Great Lent ends on Friday of the fifth week (the day before Lazarus Saturday). Holy Week begins immediately thereafter. Let's explore the meaning of each of the solemn days of Passion Week.

Lazarus Saturday: Lazarus Saturday is the day which begins Holy Week. It commemorates the raising of our Lord's friend Lazarus, who had been in the tomb four days. This act confirmed the universal resurrection from the dead that all of us will experience at our Lord's Second Coming. This miracle led many to faith, but it also led to the chief priest's and Pharisees' decision to kill Jesus (John 11:47-57).

Palm Sunday (The Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem): Our Lord enters Jerusalem and is proclaimed king - but in an earthly sense, as many people of His time were seeking a political Messiah. Our Lord is King, of course, but of a different type - the eternal King prophesied by Zechariah the Prophet. We use palms on this day to show that we too accept Jesus as the true King and Messiah of the Jews, Who we are willing to follow - even to the cross.

Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: The first thing that must be said about these services, and most of the other services of Holy Week, is that they are "sung" in anticipation. Each service is rotated ahead twelve hours. The evening service, therefore, is actually the service of the next morning, while the morning services of Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday are actually the services of the coming evening.

Sunday of St. John of the Ladder

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Lent is a time of repentance, a time when our heart of stone must be made by the power of God into a heart of flesh, from insensitive to perceptive, from cold and hard to warm and open to others—and indeed, to God Himself.

The Sunday of St Gregory Palamas

The Sunday of St Gregory Palamas
The Sunday of St Gregory Palamas
The Sunday of St Gregory Palamas
The Sunday of St Gregory Palamas

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Why do we fast? Why do we make sacrifices? Why do we stand at long services? Why do we pray? To those of us who are beginning to doubt and waver after only two weeks of the Fast, the Church brings us an answer today. This answer is in the person of St Gregory Palamas, the fourteenth-century Archbishop of Salonica in Greece to whom this Sunday is dedicated.

Sunday of Orthodoxy

Rejoicing today in the triumph of Orthodoxy on this first Sunday of Lent, we joyfully commemorate three events: one event belonging to the past; one event to the present; and one event which still belongs to the future.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Rejoicing today in the triumph of Orthodoxy on this first Sunday of Lent, we joyfully commemorate three events: one event belonging to the past; one event to the present; and one event which still belongs to the future.