Holy Friday is a day of mourning, fasting and prayer. Friday morning services retell the story of Christ's passion with the addition of prophecies, psalms and hymns. These services or "Royal Hours" help us keep vigil at the side of the crucified Christ, and relate Jesus' suffering to our redemption. Friday morning service (The Apokathilosis) marks the beginning of Holy Saturday: During this service, the minister takes Christ's body from the Cross, wraps it in a white cloth and places it on the Altar as a sign of His burial by Joseph of Armiathea and Nikodimos. A cloth icon or shroud depicting Christ's sacred body, called the Epitaphios, is carried in procession and placed in a flowered bier that represents Christ's tomb. On Holy Friday evening, the Martins of Holy Saturday are chanted.
At this service we chant: The Hymns Of The Lamentations "Engomia"We lament Jesus' undeserved death for our salvation. With both sorrow and joy we chant the Lamentations (Praises) to Him who is symbolically buried, yet whom we already know is the risen Lord and Giver of Life. This service, the Epitaphios is taken in a candlelight procession around the church, "In a tomb they lay Thee O Christ the life. By Thy Death Thou has cast down the might of death and become the font of life for all the world"
This post was originally published on April 17, 2009