Good Friday Orthodox Service Book
During the Dormition Fast, 1 – 14 August, the Service of the Small Paraklesis to the Most Holy Theotokos is conducted. Please follow the link below to access the PDF copy of the bilingual service text as provided by the our Archdiocese.
THE SERVICE OF THE SMALL PARAKLESIS TO THE MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS
PDF copies of our service books can be found below.
The service book for the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. For use on Sundays (outside of Great Lent) and most Feast Days.
Divine-Liturgy Service Book
Holy Week Service Books
Palm Sunday – Matins & Liturgy Service Book
Rejoice O Bethany Chant
1. The Service of Bride Groom Matins – Palm Sunday Evening
2. The Service of Bride Groom Matins – Monday Evening
3. The Service of Bride Groom Matins – Tuesday Evening
Holy Unction (Holy Oil) Service
The Service of Holy Unction – Wednesday Evening
1. Holy Thursday Vesperal Liturgy – Thursday Morning
2. Service of the Twelve Passion Gospels – Thursday Evening
Great and Holy Friday
1. The service of the Royal Hours – Great and Holy Friday Morning
2. Great Vespers: taking down from the cross – Great and Holy Friday afternoon
3. The Lamentations Service – Great and Holy Friday Evening
Great and Holy Saturday
1. Holy Saturday Vesperal Liturgy – Great and Holy Saturday Morning
2. Great and Holy Pascha – Great and Holy Saturday Evening
Great Lent Service Books
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights during Great Lent
Wednesday nights during Great Lent
Supplication Service to the Theotokos – first four Fridays of Great Lent
Akathist Service Book
Supplication Service to the Theotokos – fifth Friday of Great Lent (Final Akathist)
Akathist Service Book – fifth Friday Great Lent
Other Services during Great Lent
The Canon of St Andrew
The Life of St Mary of Egypt
The Canon of St Lazarus
St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church
Holy Friday Evening
The Following Expalnation of the Service is written by Rev. Alkiviadis Calivas, and can be found in his book entitled, “Great Week and Pascha in the Greek Orthodox Church.”
On Good Friday evening the Orthodox Church celebrates the Orthros Service for Holy and Great Saturday.
On Great Saturday the Church contemplates the mystery of the Lord’s descent into Hades, the place of the dead. Death, our ultimate enemy, is defeated from within. “He (Christ) gave Himself as a ransom to death in which we were held captive, sold under sin. Descending into Hades through the Cross . . . He loosed the bonds of death” (Liturgy of Saint Basil). The hymnographer of the Church describes the mystery with these words:
- Come, let us see our Life lying in the tomb, that He may give life to those that in their tombs lie dead. Come, let us look today on the Son of Judah as He sleeps, and with the prophet let us cry aloud to Him: Thou hast lain down, Thou hast slept as a lion; who shall awaken Thee, O King? But of Thine own free will do Thou rise up, who willingly dost give Thyself for us. O Lord, glory to Thee.
- Today a tomb holds Him who holds the creation in the hollow of His hand; a stone covers Him who covered the heavens with glory. Life sleeps and hell trembles, and Adam is set free from his bonds. Glory to Thy dispensation, whereby Thou hast accomplished all things, granting us an eternal Sabbath, Thy most holy Resurrection from the dead.
- (Hymns of the Ainoi)
On Great Saturday our focus is on the Tomb of Christ. This is no ordinary grave. It is not a place of corruption, decay and defeat. It is life-giving a source of power, victory and liberation.
- O happy tomb! It received within itself the Creator, as one asleep, and it was made a divine treasury of life, for our salvation who sing: O God our Deliverer, blessed art Thou.
- The Life of all submits to be laid in the tomb, according to the law of the dead, and He makes it a source of awakening, for our salvation who sing: O God our Deliverer, blessed art Thou.
- (Hymns of the 7th Ode)
Great Saturday is the day between Jesus’ death and His resurrection. It is the day of watchful expectation, in which mourning is being transformed into joy. The day embodies in the fullest possible sense a joyful-sadness, which has dominated the celebrations of Great Week. The hymnographer of the Church has penetrated the profound mystery, and helps us to understand it through the following poetic dialogue that he has devised between Jesus and His Mother:
- Weep not for me, O Mother, beholding in the sepulcher the Son whom thou hast conceived without seed in thy womb. For I shall rise and shall be glorified, and as God I shall exalt in everlasting glory those who magnify thee with faith and love.
- “O Son without beginning, in ways surpassing nature was I blessed at Thy strange birth, for I was spared all travail. But now beholding Thee, my God, a lifeless corpse, I am pierced by the sword of bitter sorrow. But arise, that I may be magnified.”
- “By mine own will the earth covers me, O Mother, but the gatekeepers of hell tremble as they see me, clothed in the blood-stained garment of vengeance: for on the Cross as God have I struck down mine enemies, and I shall rise again and magnify thee.”
- “Let creation rejoice exceedingly, let all those born on earth be glad: for hell, the enemy, has been despoiled. Ye women, come to meet with sweet spices: for I am delivering Adam and Eve with all their offspring, and on the third day I shall rise again.”
- (9th Ode of the Canon)
Great Saturday is the day of the pre-eminent rest. Christ observes a Sabbath rest in the tomb. His rest, however, is not inactivity but the fulfillment of the divine will and plan for the salvation of humankind and the cosmos. He who brought all things into being, makes all things new. The recreation of the world has been accomplished once and for all. Through His incarnation, life and death Christ has filled all things with Himself. He has opened a path for all flesh to the resurrection from the dead, since it was not possible that the author of life would be dominated by corruption.
- Moses the great mystically prefigured this present day, saying: “And God blessed the seventh day.” For this is the blessed Sabbath, this is the day of rest, on which the only-begotten Son of God rested from all His works. Suffering death in accordance with the plan of salvation, He kept the Sabbath in the flesh; and returning once again to what He was, through His Resurrection He has granted us eternal life, for He alone is good and loves mankind.
- (Hymn of the Ainoi)
The Encomia or Praises are short poetic verses lamenting the passion, death and burial of Christ. They are also chanted on Holy Friday evening.
Orthodox Good Friday
This celebration of Good Friday by the Orthodox Christian church observes the religious day according to the Julian calendar, which takes place after most other celebrations of Easter in April or May. While most Christian churches changed to the Gregorian calendar in 1582, the Orthodox Church chose to keep the Julian calendar. Also known as Holy Friday, this day marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The day is considered a solemn day of mourning, lacking any of the festive themes of the following Easter observance.
The main tradition of Orthodox Good Friday is the religious service, which includes liturgies and Gospel readings. The readings usually tell the story of Jesus’s. These typically take place in the Evening but some churches hold afternoon services for those who do not want to or cannot stay up late, especially children. A tradition during this service is when a table is placed in the middle of the church and observers pass underneath it, lighting a candle at the church bells signal, which cleanses the participant of sins. Some priests will wrap or cover representations of Jesus Christ with cloth, sometimes colored black. This symbolically gives burial rites. Some observers paint eggs on this day. More serious observation features fasting, long sessions of prayer, meditation, or a Lenten lunch. Orthodox Good Friday features a strict fast, with most churches allowing for no food all day, unless the observer is ill.
Many churches hold services late into the night, holding elements of the Good Friday service after midnight. Orthodox Christians are forbidden to take the Eucharist, or communion, on Good Friday. During Lent, priests usually wear red and purple, but black is worn on Good Friday. If the church is decorated with hangings, these are also changed to black. Other elements of the service are hymn singing and readings from the book of Psalms.
Other elements of the Good Friday Orthodox Service:
- Matins of Holy and Great Friday is a service that starts Thursday night. Also called The Order of Holy and Saving Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the service features twelve different readings of the events of the Passion and the Last Supper. After the later, Jesus was arrested and jailed.
- Royal Hours takes place before noon, where observers gather for a prayer celebration, scripture readings, and hymns.
- In the afternoon, the Vespers of the Taking-Down from the cross takes place to honor when Jesus was taken down from the cross. This service includes Gospel readings and the symbolic removal of Christ’s body from the cross.
The Lamentation of the Tomb, or the Matins of Holy and Great Saturday, takes place Friday night.
All four canonical gospels chronicle Jesus’s crucifixion, which is sometimes called the Passion. In these narratives, Jesus was accused of blasphemy by the Jewish Sanhedrin and received a death sentence. The Sanhedrin went to Pontius Pilate to approve the death sentence, who told them that he found no basis for the charge. However, pressure from the crowds caused Pilate to approve the sentence.
Jesus was forced to carry his cross to the Hill of Calvary, where he was hung on the cross between two thieves. They fixed Jesus to the cross by nailing him by the ankles and wrists. He was severely beaten and suffered many abuses, including wearing a painful cross of thorns and was offered a mixture of vinegar and herbs to drink, but refused.
The crucifixion is believed to have lasted six hours, during which his crucifiers bet over his clothing and mocked him. Before Jesus died, the land was covered with darkness and during his last moments, there was an earthquake, which tore the temple veil. He was buried in the tomb, which is where the story of Easter Sunday picks up.
Although the Orthodox community is situated mostly in Russia, Orthodox Christians living all over the world celebrate. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America observes with the Passion of the Christ, his final moments on the cross—a lengthy and heavy service.
Greeks do not do any chores on Good Friday in order to honor the day of mourning. The procession of the Epitaphios of Christ carries a symbolic coffin through the community, which is later decorated with flowers and other accessories. Flags are also flown at half-mast. Depending on their proximity, some Orthodox Christians celebrate the holiday in Jerusalem.