Vespers of Great and Holy Friday (Burial Service)
In the afternoon on Friday, April 14th our community gathered for the Burial Vespers, in which we participate in the death of the Son of God upon the Cross. The Body of our Lord is tenderly removed from the Cross, and wrapped in a burial shroud, assisted by the children of our community. Later the Plaschenitsa (Holy Shroud depicting the Body of our Lord) is processed and placed in the Tomb in the center of the Church and venerated by the faithful!
Matins of Great and Holy Saturday (Lamentations)
In the evening on Friday, April 14th our community gathered for the Matins and Lamentations, in which we sing songs of love and tenderness to our Lord in the Tomb. This service also marks the transition from the solemnity of Holy Friday and our Lord’s Crucifixion and Death, to the first announcements of His harrowing of Hades (Old Testament prophecy of Ezekiel and the resurrection of the “dry bones”; and the Epistle and Gospel lessons), following our return from our procession around the church.
(Holy Friday Burial Vespers Aposticha) Joseph, together with Nicodemus, took Thee down from the Tree, Who clothe Thyself with light as with a garment. He gazed on Thy body – dead, naked, and unburied, and, in grief and tender compassion, he lamented: “Woe is me, my sweetest Jesus! A short while ago, the sun beheld Thee hanging on the Cross, and it hid itself in darkness. The earth quaked in fear at the sight. The veil of the Temple was torn in two. Lo, now I see Thee willingly submit to death for our sake. How shall I bury Thee, O my God? How can I wrap Thee in a shroud? How can I touch Thy most pure body with my hands? What songs can I sing for Thy Exodus, O compassionate One? I magnify Thy Passion. I glorify Thy burial, and Thy holy Resurrection, crying, ‘O Lord, glory to Thee!’