On this, the last day of Holy week, the very end of our Lenten Journey to Pascha, I thought I’d share with you a tad about the Journey I took this week.
In the Orthodox tradition of Holy Week we walk with Christ through his Holy Passion, each and every day of this week. Several years ago my husband, Dn. James, created a .Pdf handout that described the services so beautifully. I thought I’d share that here but also highlight some of my favorite hymns as well. Many find it difficult to make every single service and it IS difficult. But when your daughter is the Choir Director and your husband the deacon, you usually don’t miss any services. When the kids were little I didn’t make every single service for sure, but now they are older I am so grateful I can attend and so grateful for the richness of each service.
I have a hard time choosing my favorite hymns for the services, they are all so rich and beautiful. Here is the hymn from all three Bridegroom services….
Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight,
and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching;
and again, unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless.
Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighted down with sleep,
lest thou be given up to death,
and lest thou be shut out of the Kingdom!
But rouse thyself, crying: “Holy, holy, holy, art Thou, O our God!”
Through the Theotokos have mercy on us!
And another from Tuesday:
Tone 4 Kathisma Hymn (following Kathisma 9)
Let us love the Bridegroom, O brothers!
Let us keep our lamps aflame with virtues and true faith,
so that we, like the wise virgins of the Lord,
may be ready to enter with Him into the marriage feast!//
For the Bridegroom, as God, grants unto all an incorruptible crown.
Let us be ready!
In the photo above there is reference to two of the best Hymns already. “Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung on the tree.”
Friday’s Vespers service, burying Christ, is one of the most somber and loveliest services. I find words difficult. Let the hymns say instead…
We see a strange and fearful 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
The Creator is struck by the hand of His creature.
He Who comes to judge the living and the dead is condemned to the
The Conqueror of Hell is enclosed in a tomb.
Thou Who hast endured all these things in Thy tender love,
hast saved all mankind from the curse.
O long-suffering Lord, glory to Thee!Vespers of Holy Friday
Hell Groans! We begin to see that we are nearing the end. Dark turns to light. We begin to see there is hope.
Today, Hell cries out groaning:
“My dominion has been shattered.
I received a dead Man as one of the dead,
but against Him I could not prevail.
From eternity I had ruled the dead,
but behold, He raises all.
Because of Him do I perish.”//
Glory to Thy Cross and Resurrection, O Lord!
Today, let us go to meet Christ.
Let all mortal flesh keep silent,
and in fear and trembling stand,
pondering nothing earthly minded!
For the King of kings, and the Lord of lords,
comes to be slain,
to give Himself as food to the faithful.
Before Him go the ranks of Angels:
all the Principalities and Powers;
the many-eyed Cherubim;
and the six-winged Seraphim,
covering their faces, singing the hymn:
“Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”
If you’d like the .pdf version of the three pictures above click here.