Great and Holy Friday – Epitaphios Service
The Lamentations and Praises at the Tomb
on Holy Friday
“On Holy Thursday we followed Jesus to the upper room.
Today, Holy Friday, we follow him up to Golgotha.”
Great and Holy Friday at 6:30 p.m. Follow us online at Facebook (@StAnnWaterfordCT) OR on the parish website (stannmelkitechurch.org)
The Epitaphios Service tonight is really the morning prayer for Holy Saturday. It is centered around the tomb of Christ and celebrating what He is doing in the underworld: He is busy destroying death. The name of the service –Epitaphios– has the meaning of shroud under which the faithful pass under during the service symbolizing our own burial with Christ in Baptism and thus we share in Christ’s death on the cross, His burial and with that then, we share in His resurrection. In sum, the Holy Mother Church has us contemplating mystery of the Lord’s descent into Hades (the abode of the dead) and our enemy is defeated from within. As the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil says, “He (Christ) gave Himself up as a ransom to death by which we had been held, for having been sold under sin. And through the Cross, He went down into Hades … and loosed the bonds of death.”
Let us pray for the grace to be with Christ all moments of our life in order to live with Him in Heaven.
“O my Christ and my life, You were placed in a tomb: All the armies of angels were dazzled and glorified Your Divine Burial.” (from the 1st Lamentation of the Burial Office of Christ)
“…as Christ silently moves towards the Cross and the End, as the human tragedy reaches its climax, His triumph, His victory over the Evil, His glorification become more and more obvious.”
“…at the end of Vespers, we place in the center of the Church the image of Christ in the tomb, when this long day comes to its end, we know that we are at the end of the long history of salvation and redemption. The Seventh Day, the day of rest, the blessed Sabbath comes and with it, the revelation of the Life-giving Tomb.”