[[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]].
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:
extremehumility.jpg|right|thumb|Christ the Bridegroom]]
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 [[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)
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 World== === GREECE=== Every year, the Greek people will prepare during Holy Week their painted red eggs and their koulouria . ..
members. aol.com/ stgeoworc/ holyweek. htm A Liturgical Explanation for the Days of Holy Week], by Fr. [[Alexander Schmemann]]* [http://www.antiochian.org/midwest/Articles/Development_of_Holy_Week_Services.htm The Historical Development of Holy Week Services In the Orthodox/Byzantine Rite], by Fr. Nabil L. Hanna* [http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8432.asp Holy Week GOARCH] * [http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8504.asp The Origins of Pascha and Great Week - Part I]* [http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8505.asp The Origins of Pascha and Great Week - Part II]* [http://www.holy-trinity.org/feasts/holyweek.html Holy Week and Pascha] * [http://holytrinity.ok.goarch.org/holy_week.html Holy Week]* [http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/holy_week2_e.htm Approach to Holy Week]