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Holy Week

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[[Image:Twelve gospels.jpg|right|thumb|350px|A worshiper prostrates before the cross at the Twelve Passion Gospels service at St. Mary Orthodox Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts.]]
'''Great and Holy Week''' is the week from the conclusion of [[Great Lent]] on the [[Lazarus Saturday|Saturday of Lazarus]] to the celebration of [[Pascha]]. It is emphasized that the services of Holy Week follow the ecclesiastical day, that is from sundown to sundown. Thus Saturday of Lazarus ends at sundown on Saturday.
While little is recorded of the development of the celebrations of the Holy Week during the early years of the Church, it apparently had very early origins. By the fourth century the celebration of the week appears well-founded and to be similar to our celebrations today. The pilgrim [[Egeria]] to Jerusalem in the latter part of the fourth century described the events of the week after the services of the Saturday of Lazarus, "...began the week of the Pasch, which they called here the '''Great Week'''", noting the procession commemorating Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the first day of the week. It is during this week that we remember Christ's Passion and Crucifixion.
[[Image:raisingoflazarus.jpg|right|frame|The Raising of Lazarus]]
==The Holy Week==
[[Lazarus Saturday]] concludes [[Great Lent]]. This celebration remembers Christ's raising of Lazarus from the dead and the promise of universal [[resurrection]] for all. Lazarus Saturday provides a bridge to Holy Week during which the Church services remember Christ's last week before his crucifixion and resurrection, his [[passion]]. During this week the [[Matins]] services for the upcoming day are celebrated the evening before, and Vespers is celebrated in the morning. This anticipation of the Church's services gives the faithful a sense that the world is in travail, upside-down, because of the passion our Lord endured for our salvation. Although this practice is unusual, it is canonical in accordance with the ancient definition that the day is from sunset to sunset. [[Image:Palm_Sunday.jpg|left|thumb|Icon of Christ's entry into Jerusalem]][[Image:extremehumilityBridegroom.jpg|right|thumb|Christ the Bridegroom]]
===Palm Sunday===
The first three days of Holy Week remind us of Christ's last instructions with his disciples. These teachings are remembered in the celebration of the Great [[Compline]], Matins, [[Hours]], and [[Liturgy]] during these days. The [[Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts]] celebrated these days includes readings from [[Exodus]], [[Book of Job|Job]], and [[Gospel of Matthew|Matthew]].
The Matins services of the evenings of Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, and Holy Tuesday, anticipating the events of the next day, share a common theme. These [[Christ The Bridegroom (O Nymphios)|Bridegroom]] Services are derived from the [[Parable ]] of the Ten Virgins, which calls for preparedness at the Second Coming, for the "thief comes in the middle of the night." (Matt. 26:1-13)
===Holy Wednesday===
After conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, in many communities, the faithful retire to an ''agape'' meal to break the Fast together, and then return home as dawn arrives. Later in the day of Pascha the faithful again gather for prayer with lighted candles in a vespers service, singing the hymn "Christ is Risen from the Dead," and greeting each other joyously, "[[Paschal greeting|Christ is risen]]" and responding with, "Truly He is risen."
==Traditions around the WorldLocal customs=====Jerusalem===* The Orthodox Patriarch breaks the seal of the door of the tomb of Christ in the [[Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Jerusalem)|Church of the Holy Sepulchre]] and emerges with the [[Holy Fire]]. ===GREECEGreece===Every year* Painting of the red eggs* Preparation of sweets ("Koulouria")* The Holy Fire is flown from Jerusalem on Olympic Airways, accompanied by high-ranking Greek Orthodox priests and government officials to the Athens airport. The Holy Flame is met with a reception of honour guards and is taken to the small church of Agioi Anargyroi in the Plaka square.* On Sunday, all over Greece, the Greek people will prepare during Holy Week their painted red eggs hold very festive celebrations. Traditionally, lambs are roasted (which symbolise Christ), and friends and family get together to eat, drink, talk and their koulouria danceIn some towns, this tradition is a community celebration. For example:** In Arachova, rows of lambs are roasted in the village square.** On some islands, the town shoots "Judas"
===Other Countries===
==External links==
* [ html A Liturgical Explanation for the Days of Holy Week], by Fr. [[Alexander Schmemann]]* [ The Historical Development of Holy Week Services In the Orthodox/Byzantine Rite], by Fr. Nabil L. Hanna* [ Holy Week GOARCH] * [ The Origins of Pascha and Great Week - Part I]* [ The Origins of Pascha and Great Week - Part II]* [ Holy Week and Pascha] * [ Holy Week]* [ Approach to Holy Week] 
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