Bright Monday: Reflections on the End of Holy Week

Christ is risen!

The Healy’s began their part of the intensive Orthodox Holy Week services with Good Friday Matins, which was celebrated Thursday evening. The Twelve Gospels are read and hymns sung for what was a liturgy lasting more than two and a half hours. During this service–in which the entire nave is dark, save for candlelight–a procession is made with the crucifix (a large cross on which the icon body of Christ is nailed) through the congregation. We slowly sing, “Today He Who hung the earth upon the waters is hung on the tree./The King of the angels is decked with a crown of thorns./He Who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery./He Who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped on the face./The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the Cross with nails./The Son of the Virgin is pierced by a spear.” I wept. Nothing spectacular, but the tears just kept coming, despite my efforts to maintain some decorum. When we venerated the crucifix at the end, the tears came again. Anna asked me, “Are you alright?” I said, “Yes,” but was still on the verge of more tears on the ride home.
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