Great and Holy Friday ~ The Lamentations at the Tomb

A decorated "Tomb" for Holy and Great Friday On Friday night, the Matins of Holy and Great Saturday, a unique service known as the The Lamentation at the Tomb (Epitáphios Thrēnos) is celebrated. This service is also sometimes called Jerusalem Matins. Much of the service takes place around the tomb of Christ in the center of the nave. A unique feature of the service is the chanting of the Lamentations or Praises (Enkōmia), which consist of verses chanted by the clergy interspersed between t … [Read More...]

Great and Holy Friday ~ The Royal Hours

In addition to the Vespers and the Orthros, the daily cycle of worship contains the Apodeipnon (Compline), the Midnight Service (Mesoniktikon) and the Service of the Hours. These latter services have their roots in the devotional practices of the early Christians, and especially in the communal worship of the monastic communities. Each of the four Hours bears a numerical name, derived from one of the major daylight hours or intervals of the day as they were known in antiquity: the First - … [Read More...]

Great and Holy Thursday

On the evening of this day, which was the eve of the feast of unleavened bread (that is, the Passover), our Redeemer supped with His twelve disciples in the city. He blessed the bread and the wine, and gave us the Mystery of the Divine Eucharist. He washed the feet of the disciples as an example of humility. He said openly that one of them was about to betray Him, and He pointed out the betrayer by revealing that it was he "that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish." And after Judas had … [Read More...]

Holy Unction-St. Ekaterini6a

Great and Holy Wednesday ~ The Unction Service

The Mystery of Holy Unction that we celebrate tonight is established upon the words and actions of our Lord Jesus Christ. It embodies, extends and continues His healing ministry. It is the sign of His transforming presence in a bruised and hurting world, and the emblem of His promise to deliver us from sin and corruption. It is the manifestation of the kingdom and the sign of what God has in store for the world when it reaches its state of ultimate completion.Sickness and death are inescapable … [Read More...]

Southbridge Civil War Monument.
Photo courtesy of Dick Whitney's History Site

Southbridge in the Civil War 1862

In my previous post I recalled the events of the Town of Southbridge in the year of 1861.  In today’s post the actions of the Board of Selectman will take center stage.  Most votes of the Board of Selectman in 1862 had to do with authorizing the expenditure of monies to support those who had volunteered for military service and their families. The population of the Town of Southbridge in 1860 was 3,575.  Southbridge sent 400 men to fight in the Civil War, far above the required amount.  The Boar … [Read More...]

Great and Holy Wednesday ~ Bridegroom Matins

Tonight the Church invites us to focus our attention on two figures: the sinful woman who anointed the head of Jesus shortly before the passion (Mt 26.6-13), and Judas, the disciple who betrayed the Lord. The former acknowledged Jesus as Lord, while the latter severed himself from the Master. The one was set free, while the other became a slave. The one inherited the kingdom, while the other fell into perdition. These two people bring before us concerns and issues related to freedom, sin, hell … [Read More...]

Great and Holy Wednesday ~ Hymn of Saint Kassiani

The Hymn of Kassiani, also known as the Hymn of the Fallen Woman, is a Penitential Hymn that is based on the Gospel reading for Holy Wednesday morning (Matthew 26:6-16), which speaks of a sinful woman who anoints Jesus' feet with costly ointment (distinguished from a similar incident with a different woman, St. Mary Magdalene). This hymn is chanted only once a year and considered a musical high-point of the Holy Week, at the Matins and Presanctified Liturgy of Holy Wednesday, in the Plagal … [Read More...]

Holy and Great Tuesday

This evening's theme is the need for watchfulness and preparation, lest we be called unprepared before the awesome judgment seat of Christ to render an account of ourselves. The gospel reading contrasts the efforts of the Pharisees to trick and discredit Jesus, with the forceful resistance which Christ mounts against their evil. The hymns remind us of the parable of the Ten Virgins, in which the faithful Christian is exhorted to vigilance.As our Lord Jesus Christ was going up to Jerusalem to … [Read More...]