Holy Week: An Explanation

Great Lent and Holy Week are two separate fasts, and two separate celebrations.  Great Lent ends on Friday of the fifth week (the day before Lazarus Saturday).  Holy Week begins immediately thereafter. Let’s explore the meaning of each of the solemn days of Passion Week.

Raising_Lazarus.previewLazarus Saturday:  Lazarus Saturday is the day which begins Holy Week.  It commemorates the raising of our Lord’s friend Lazarus, who had been in the tomb four days.  This act confirmed the universal resurrection from the dead that all of us will experience at our Lord’s Second Coming.  This miracle led many to faith, but it also led to the chief priest’s and Pharisees’ decision to kill Jesus (John 11:47-57).

Palm_Sunday_0Palm Sunday (The Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem):  Our Lord enters Jerusalem and is proclaimed king – but in an earthly sense, as many people of His time were seeking a political Messiah.  Our Lord is King, of course, but of a different type – the eternal King prophesied by Zechariah the Prophet.  We use palms on this day to show that we too accept Jesus as the true King and Messiah of the Jews, Who we are willing to follow – even to the cross.

Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday:  The first thing that must be said about these services, and most of the other services of Holy Week, is that they are “sung” in anticipation.  Each service is rotated ahead twelve hours.  The evening service, therefore, is actually the service of the next morning, while the morning services of Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday are actually the services of the coming evening.

Understanding that, let’s turn to the Services of Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (celebrated Palm Sunday , Monday and Tuesday evening).  The services of these days are known as the Bridegroom or Nymphios Orthros Services.  At the first service of Palm Sunday evening, the priest carries the icon of Christ the Bridegroom in procession, and we sing the “Hymn of the Bridegroom.”  We behold Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church, bearing the marks of His suffering, yet preparing a marriage Feast for us in God’s Kingdom.

Each of these Bridegroom Orthros services has a particular theme.  On Holy Monday, the Blessed Joseph, the son of Jacob the Patriarch, is commemorated.  Joseph is often seen as a Type of Christ.  Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit, and sold into slavery by them.  In the same way, our Lord was rejected, betrayed by His own, and sold into the slavery of death.  The Gospel reading for the day is about the barren fig tree, which Christ cursed and withered because it bore no fruit.  The fig tree is a parable of those who have heard God’s word, but who fail to bear the fruit of obedience.  Originally the withering of the fig tree was a testimony against those Jews who rejected God’s word and His Messiah.  However, it is also a warning to all people, in all times, of the importance of not only hearing the God’s word, but putting it into action.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins is read on Holy Tuesday.  It tells the story of the five virgins who filled their lamps in preparation for receiving the bridegroom while the other five allowed their lamps to go out, and hence were shut out of the marriage feast.  This parable is a warning that we must always be prepared to receive our Lord when He comes again.  The theme of the day is reinforced by the expostelarion hymn we sing:  “I see Thy Bridal Chamber adorned, O my Savior, but have no wedding garment that I may enter.  O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul, and save me.”  The theme of Holy Wednesday is repentance and forgiveness.  We remember the sinful woman who anointed our Lord in anticipation of His death.  Her repentance and love of Christ is the theme of the wonderful “Hymn of Kassiane” which is chanted on this night, reminding us one more time, before “it is too late,” that we too may be forgiven if  we repent.

Holy Unction:  The Mystery or Sacrament of Holy Unction is celebrated on Holy Wednesday evening. Actually this service can be celebrated any time during the year, especially when one is ill.  However, because of our need for forgiveness and spiritual healing, we offer this service during Holy Week for the remission of our sins.  We should prepare for this service in a prayerful way, as we do for Holy Communion.

Crucifixion_600pxGreat and Holy Thursday:  On Holy Thursday we turn to the last events of our Lord and His Passion.  Thursday morning begins with a Vesperal Divine Liturgy commemorating the Mystical Supper. As previously mentioned, this is actually Holy Thursday evening’s service celebrated in the morning in anticipation.  Everyone who is able should make an effort to receive Holy Communion at this service as it was at the Mystical Supper that our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist.  At this Liturgy a second Host is consecrated and kept in the Tabernacle.  It is from this Host that Holy Communion is distributed to the shut-ins and the sick throughout the coming year.

Thursday evening actually begins the services of Great and Holy Friday.  The service of the Twelve Passion Gospels commemorates the solemn time of our Lord’s Crucifixion.  After the reading of the fifth Gospel, the holy cross is carried around the church in procession, and Christ’s body is nailed to the cross in the center of the church.

takingdownfromcrossGreat and Holy Friday:  This is a day of strict fast.  As little as possible should be eaten on this day.  It is the only day in the entire year that no Divine Liturgy of any kind can be celebrated.  In the morning we celebrate the Royal Hours.  These solemn hours are observed as we read the various accounts and hymns concerning the crucifixion.  In the afternoon we celebrate the Vesper service of the taking down of Christ’s body from the cross.  During the Gospel reading, our Lord’s body is taken off the cross and wrapped in a new, white linen sheet.  This act commemorates the removal of Christ’s body from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea (John 19:38-42). Later in the service, the Epitaphios, or winding-sheet, with Christ’s body on it is carried in procession and placed in the recently decorated tomb.  In the evening the Lamentations Orthros service is sung.  This service begins in a solemn manner, but by the end of the service we are already anticipating the Resurrection of our Lord.  Remember again, that the Holy Friday evening Orthros is actually the first service of Holy Saturday, the day in which we commemorate our Lord’s body resting in the tomb while His all-pure soul descends into Hades to free the faithful of the Old Covenant.

Epitaphion

Great and Holy Saturday:  This day is a day of hope and waiting.  In the morning we celebrate a Vesperal Divine Liturgy which commemorates Christ’s victory over death.  Bright vestments are worn as we anticipate Christ’s Resurrection.  Laurel leaves are strewn throughout the church during the service, because in the ancient world laurel leaves were a sign of victory.  As the leaves are strewn, the choir chants “Arise O God and Judge the earth, for to Thee belong all the nations.”  The Old Testament story of Jonah in the belly of the whale is read at this service because Jonah is seen in the Church as a Type of Christ.  As Jonah was three days in the belly of the great fish, and was then safely deposited back onto land, so our Lord was three days in the tomb before His glorious Resurrection.  The Vesperal Divine Liturgy of Holy Saturday concludes the services of Holy Week, and brings us to the eve of Great and Holy Pascha.

from: Antiochian Archdiocese website

Schedule of Services and Events for the Week of April 5 – April 12, 2015

Monday, April 6
9 AM – Bridegroom Matins
6 PM – Presanctified Liturgy

Tuesday, April 7
9 AM –
Bridegroom Matins
6 PM – Presanctified Liturgy

Wednesday, April 8
9 AM –
Bridegroom Matins
12 noon – Presanctified Liturgy
6 PM – Holy Unction Service

Thursday, April 9
9 AM –
Vesperal Liturgy – Institution of the Eucharist
7 PM – Matins and the Reading of the 12 Passion Gospels

Friday, April 10
9 AM –
Royal Hours
7 PM – Great & Holy Friday Vespers with Procession and Guarding the Tomb

Saturday, April 11
9 AM –
Vesperal Liturgy
11 PM – Nocturne, Paschal Matins, Paschal Divine Liturgy followed by blessing of the Baskets and Agape Meal

Sunday, April 12
12 Noon –
Paschal Vespers

Schedule of Services and Events for the Week of March 29 – April 4, 2015

Sunday, March 29
After Liturgy - Panachida for Robert Paltauf on his 14 anniversary of falling asleep in the Lord.
10 AM– OCF from UCONN visits
12:30 PM – Parish Council meeting
11:30 AM- 1 PM – Bake Sale

Monday, March 30
6 PM
– Prayer Group
7 PM – Spirituality class

Tuesday, March 31
8:30 AM
– Hours

Wednesday, April 1
6 PM
– Presanctified Liturgy
7 PM – Choir Rehearsal

Thursday, April 2
8:30 AM
- Hours

Saturday, April 4
9 AM
– Lazarus Saturday Liturgy
9 AM – Lazarus Saturday Youth retreat – Make Palm Crosses, Luminaries, etc.
5 PM - Palm Sunday Vespers

Sunday, April 5
9 AM –
Church School
10 AM – Palm Sunday Divine Liturgy


Readers Schedule
3/29 – Bob Faubel
4/5 – Harry Fong
4/12- Susan Paltauf
4/19 – Suzanne Molineaux


Coffee Hour
3/29 – Kerpchar
4/5 – Open
4/12 – Pascha Agape Meal

Easter Bake and Craft Sale 2015

Saturday March 28th (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and
Sunday March 29th   (11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

Homemade ethnic favorites will be offered for sale including: nut and poppy seed rolls, fresh kielbasy, Pascha breads, 5 varieties of perogies, Russian Tea cookies and more.

Pre orders available by email or phone with this Order Form.

Fine arts crafters will have Pysanky (hand-decorated Russian Easter eggs), hand embroidered Easter basket covers, quilted items, notecards, jewelry and soaps. A selection of icons and religious items will also be available.

On Saturday, the kitchen will be open for lunch.
We look forward to seeing you there!

Perogi   FullSizeRender

Schedule of Services and Events for the Week of March 2 – March 13, 2015

Please note that we now have a New Parishioner website! Please go visit as this is now where we will be posting parishioner content, for instance ways to be more involved in our upcoming parish activities. There is a new link on the left to get to both the Parishioner site and to our Orthodox Youth Mission Team site easily, once on those sites you can also subscribe to receive emails when new posts go out. (Note: If viewing on a mobile device the links will be available at the bottom of the page)


Sunday, March 8
10 AM
–Liturgy with Fr. Sergei Bouteneff

Wednesday, March 11
6:30 PM
– Presanctified Liturgy at St. Georges 125 Kohanza Street, Danbury

Friday, March 13
7 PM
– Akathist Service at St. Georges church 125 Kohanza St. Danbury

Monday, March 2
9 AM
– Hours

Monday, March 1
6 PM
– Prayer Group
7 PM – Spirituality class

Tuesday, March 3
8:30 AM
– Hours
9 AM –Perogie Session

Wednesday, March 4
9 AM
– Hours
6PM - Presanctified Liturgy

Thursday, March 5
8:30 AM
– Hours

Friday, March 6
8:30 AM
– Hours
1 PM - 5 PM Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen

Daylight Savings Time begins next Sunday, March 8th!
This means that we should turn our clocks ahead one hour on Saturday night. We lose an hour, but we gain more sunlight in the day!

Sunday, March 8
9 AM – Church School
10 AM –Liturgy with Fr. Sergei Bouteneff

Wednesday, March 11
6:30 PM
– Presanctified Liturgy at St. Georges 125 Kohanza Street, Danbury

Friday, March 13
7 PM
– Akathist Service at St. Georges church 125 Kohanza St. Danbury


Coffee Hour
3/8 – Molineaux
3/15 – Lenten Cook-off
3/22 – OPEN
3/29 – Kerpchar


Fr. Luke to visit Slovakia
Fr. Luke has been asked to lead an Orthodox Christian Fellowship Real Break Trip to Slovakia from March 6 – March 14.

Schedule of Services and Events for the Week of February 22 – March 1, 2015

Sunday, February 22
We will serve a Panachida today for Jess Darrel Greene, Chrissanth’s father who passed away one year ago today.

We will also do the service of Forgiveness as we start the Lenten season.

MONDAY is the beginning of GREAT and HOLY LENT
Bishop Gregory’s Lenten Letter

Monday, February 23
9 AM – Hours
6 PM – Cannon of St. Andrew

Tuesday, February 24
8:30 AM
– Hours

Tuesday, February 24
9 AM
–Perogie Session
5 PM - Cannon of St. Andrew

Wednesday, February 25
9 AM
– Hours
6PM - Presanctified Liturgy

Thursday, February 26
8:30 AM
– Hours
5 PM – Cannon of St. Andrews

Friday, February 27
8:30 AM
– Hours
6 PM - Paraklis Service

Saturday, February 28
5 PM
– Vespers

Sunday, March 1
9 AM – Church School
10 AM –Liturgy – Children bring icons to church for procession


Readers Schedule
3/1 – Susan Paltauf

Coffee Hour
3/1 – Potluck for the Hulls
3/8 – Molineaux
3/15 – OPEN
3/22 – OPEN
3/29 – Kerpchar


Fr. Luke to visit Slovakia
Fr. Luke has been asked to lead an Orthodox Christian Fellowship Real Break Trip to Slovakia from March 6 – March 14.

F. Sergei Bouteneff will be filling in on Sunday, March 7 while Fr. Luke is away.

Camp Nazareth Information

Camp Nazareth is eagerly awaiting and preparing for the arrival of the Summer Camping Season. Diocesan priests and parents have already been calling to find out the details of the 2015 Summer Camping Schedule.

The 2015 Schedule has been posted on the Camp’s website – www.campnazareth.org. In addition, all the necessary forms for parents, campers, clergy, volunteers and staff have been posted.

Here is what is different from previous years in this information:

  • Dates have changed: Especially the Application and Early Bird Deadlines!!
  • The Fee for Camp is: $295/diocesan camper and $345/non-diocesan camper
  • Staff applications are due: March 15th, 2015
  • If you are interested in being on the Camp’s Medical Staff (MD, or RN), please contact the Camp. The Nurse or Doctor on staff each week will receive a Stipend ($400) and a campership for one of their children or for someone whom they designate.

Start your planning NOW – your kids won’t want to miss this!

Schedule of Services and Events for the Week of February 16-22, 2015

Monday, February 16, 6 PM
Prayer Group

Monday, February 16, 7 PM
Spirituality Class

Tuesday, February 17, 8:30 AM
Hours

Tuesday, February 17, 9 AM
Perogie Session

Thursday, February 19, 8:30 AM
Hours

Sunday, February 22, 10 AM
Divine Liturgy

Sunday, February 22, 12:30 PM
Parish Council Meeting


Readers Schedule
2/22 – Stasia Mihaly
3/1 – Susan Paltauf

Coffee Hour
2/22 – OPEN
3/1 – Faubel
3/8 – Molineaux
3/15 – OPEN
3/22 – OPEN
3/29 – Kerpchar


Fr. Luke to visit Slovakia
Fr. Luke has been asked to lead an Orthodox Christian Fellowship Real Break Trip to Slovakia from March 6 – March 14.

F. Sergei Bouteneff will be filling in on Sunday, March 7 while Fr. Luke is away.

“… a place of refuge full of love and joy.”