I would have to say that one of my favorite Liturgy of all of Holy Week is the Holy Thursday Liturgy. On this night we read the 12 passion Gospels during the matins service. Sometimes it is very confusing to be Orthodox as we like to anticipate things. So yesterday morning we did vespers at 10am and matins at 7pm. Very confusing.
After the fifth Gospel passage the priest takes the cross and in procession around the church carrying the cross on his shoulder. Our church is small so it does not take long. While the procession is going on the cantor is singing very slowly, “Today is hung upon the Cross, He Who suspended the Earth amid the waters.” At the end of the procession the corpus is “nailed” on the cross and the cross is lifted up in position for veneration. Here the corpus is screwed on the wood of the cross but we use some dramatics and actually pound nails into the small block of wood. The Church is in darkness and silent and the sound of the pounding nails in only drowned out by the faithful weeping. A very moving service indeed. I believe this is the longest of the services of Holy Week, although tonight’s service is almost there.
Now the cross remains in the Church until the 3:00 service when the corpus is taken down and placed on the altar, then it will be placed in the tomb for the burial service tonight.