Our Faith: Holy Week

The annual commemoration of Christ’s sufferings, Death and Resurrection begins on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, the Saturday of Lazarus’ resurrection, which is symbolic of Christ’s Death and Resurrection. Holy Week services in the Byzantine rite are lengthy, contemplative and deeply penitential as we relive the mystery of our redemption.

The services conducted within the Byzantine rite during Holy Week are as follows:

Palm Sunday
On this day, pussy willows are blessed and distributed to the faithful. The pussy willows symbolize new life. On this Sunday, each Christian is reminded to follow Christ in His humble path of sacrifice and self-denial.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
On these days the Lenten structure and tone of the liturgies stress the importance of repentance and the need of vigilance in prayer.

Holy Thursday
This day commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist, and the priesthood. The evening service of Passion or Strasty is conducted during with the 12 Gospels on the Passion and Death of our Lord are Read.

Good Friday
The outstanding and moving service held on this day is the solemn Vespers with the burial procession bearing the Holy Shroud or Plashchanycia. After the procession made three times around the Church, the shroud is laid out for veneration on a replica of the sepulcher. In the evening the service of the Jerusalem Matins is celebrated.

Holy Saturday
Spent in silent awaiting and preparing for the great feast of Christ’s Resurrection. Within our Parish, a prominent feature of Holy Saturday is the blessing of Easter Baskets containing the traditional Easter Foods to be eaten Easter Morning. The Ukrainian Easter Basket should contain: Paska (Easter Bread), eggs, kolbassa, butter, cheese, beets, horseradish, decorative Ukrainian Pysanky.

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