Liturgical Roundup

Yesterday seems like a blur to me. Three services and many changes in the church for each one concluding with the evening service. Good Friday is a very solemn day in the church. We remember the Crucifixion the taking down, and the burial in the tomb of Jesus. We actually begin this the night before, as I mentioned in a previous post. Yesterday afternoon at 3pm was the service of the taking down from the cross. In this service we actually remove the corpus from the cross, wrap it in a clean linen cloth, and place it on the altar. Towards the end of the service we make a procession with the Epitaphios. This is an image of the taking down from the cross. The one here in the village is hand painted and placed on a board so one can move it around. The Epitaphios is carried by the priest in procession and then placed in the flower decorated Sepulchre. The ladies of the parish come in the morning to decorate the sepulchre for the service. After the service has ended, the Sepulchre is moved to the center of the solea and is left there for the faithful to come and venerate during the day.
The evening service is matins, but we ad the funeral procession. During the service we remove the Epitaphios from the tomb and carry it outside around the church. Four men carry followed by the congregation. Although it was called, all in attendance came outside for the procession. We make four stops to pray for, the parishioners, the clergy, the country, and for the dead. The Epitaphios is then raised in front of the door and the faithful walk under back into the church. The priest then takes it and places in the altar where it will remain for 40 days. Very moving service and one that takes much planning and coordination.
A few more confessions after the Liturgy and then we take all the decorations down for Saturday. This morning we celebrate the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil the Great. It is odd to sing about the evening while the sun is up but go figure… As is the custom in this parish, many faithful will come to Communion this morning as they will not be able to attend the liturgy tonight.
I am still working on the Easter Homily, and I think I will write this one out and post it latter on. Blessings to all for Easter and my the Risen Christ bless you and keep you!
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