Let us begin.

For the Orthodox Church, there is no week like Holy Week. 

Simply put, it is the week of weeks, the ultimate of everything.   Nothing is better.

This week is the summation of our entire Faith.  It is life, light, truth, and our certain hope.  The 40 Day Fast has ended, and now the Holy Week fast begins.  At sundown on Friday, we gathered in the candlelight to sing of the first victory in this glorious week of victories: Jesus’ raising of his friend Lazarus from the dead, (and four days dead at that i.e. no coma/resuscitation conspiracy theory here!)  This mini-celebration and resurrectional preview even before Pascha is a sign of the blessing to come when already we see Satan and Death are already defeated by our Christ.  Yesterday, Sunday, the day of Palms and Willow branches, is the celebration of the Entrance of the Bridegroom to the wedding feast in Jerusalem, for our King and Savior comes for His bride riding on an ass, a donkey, an animal of obedience and humility.  What else can we sing but, “Hosanna!” as we process outside around the Church proper singing, and waving our branches for the suffering to come, but also to the victory that will remain.  These two celebrations take us from the long and arduous fast to the beginning of a week that is beyond words to describe.  It is like running a marathon and you hit mile 24… half of you is relieved as you have made it this far, but the other half says press on – almost there; only 2.2 miles to go and we can smell the finish line.  And it is sweet.   Each day, and night of this week Orthodox Christians will gather as one people in the Churches across the globe to sing, smell, read, taste, touch, receive, give, prostrate, and offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to bless God, and one another in the Holy Services of this Holy Week.

Many services.   Many hours.   Standing.   Singing.   Waiting.   Worshipping.

But really?  “What would you rather be doing?” 

Believe when I say that nothing on TV or the internet can compare.  In the shadows and darkness, in the late hours under a soon to be full moon, in the mists of morning fog, surrounded by icons and candlelight, images, whispers, incense, proclamations of sacrifice, predictions of suffering, death… and then the eruption of the glorious resurrection…in the wee hour morning of Sunday, right around Midnight with worship lasting until 2am and then the feasting that follows (glorious and wonderful BUTTER, meat, cheese, eggs, a sip or two of wine!) all this, while the rest of the world sleeps, wakening in a stupor only to check the newspaper for the sales insert from Target or Home Depot in the paper.    Nothing on earth can compare to this holy and sacred journey.  Lord Jesus enable us to fully and completely focus on the road with you to the Cross,  empower us to suffer with you on Friday, to rest in death with you on Saturday, and then to rise with you in Glory on the day of the Sun… the 8th day… a new day of life eternal.

Glory be to God for all things.

RAISING OF LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD.

By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your passion,
You did confirm the universal Resurrection, O Christ God!
Like the children with the palms of victory,
We cry out to You, O Vanquisher of death;
Hosanna in the Highest!
Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!

Christ the Joy, the Truth and the Light of all,
The Life of the World and the Resurrection
Has appeared in His goodness, to those on earth.
He has become the Image of our Resurrection,
Granting divine forgiveness to all!

PALM SUNDAY AND THE ENTRANCE INTO JERUSALEM

By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your passion,
You did confirm the universal Resurrection, O Christ God!
Like the children with the palms of victory,
We cry out to You, O Vanquisher of death;
Hosanna in the Highest!
Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!

When we were buried with You in Baptism, O Christ God,
We were made worthy of eternal life by Your Resurrection!
Now we praise You and sing:
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!


Sitting on Your throne in heaven,
Carried on a foal on earth, O Christ God!
Accept the praise of angels and the songs of children who sing:
Blessed is He that comes to recall Adam!

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