Saturday, April 11, 2015

Visit #169 ~ Good Friday Vespers

We remember Christ upon a Cross on Good Friday
photo by Molly Sabourin, used under the creative commons license.
check out original pics here:

On Thursday, Fr. Gary put the Icon of Christ on the Cross. At Vespers of Good Friday, he took it down. The whole Vespers service was great. It was at 3pm because that is the time that Christ died on the Cross. You can't help but get drawn in during this service. All the ceremony and hymns are designed by the Church to make Holy Week present in a Christian's life. So, when Fr. Gary was reading the account in the Gospel's about the death of Christ, when it came to part where He died, the Altar Server, (with the help of Reader John) removed the Icon of Christ from the Cross.  He held the Icon in his hand as Fr. Gary finished reading the Gospel. Afterwards, the Server approached Fr. Gary who took the Icon and, before taking it through the Royal Doors, he blessed us with it, making the sign of the Cross over us with the Icon.

Later, Fr. Gary came out with a Shroud with the Image of Christ on it. Carrying it above his head, he walked to the center of the Nave and placed the Shroud with the Image of Christ on it on a table. The Altar Server handed Fr. Gary a clear plastic cover which he placed over the Shroud.  Then he placed the Gospel Book on the top of the Shroud. (I think Dc. Alexander was holding it but I'm not sure.) So, there Christ lay, buried in the Tomb and the Faithful (and inquirers like me) wait.

Christ in the tomb
photo taken at my parish 
by Amanda Tesla

At the end of the service, the Faithful went to venerate the Shroud. Since it wasn't just a quick bow and a kiss but, instead, two prostrations, then a kiss to the Gospel book, His hands and then feet, and then a final prostration, it would take a long time if we all did that one at a time.  So, people were "pairing up" in order to venerate together. I noticed one lady make motions to a little girl who was standing in the back. I guess she was the mom and they both venerated together.  I was thinking of opting out of venerating for very self-centered reasons. First of all, I didn't feel comfortable "pairing up" with anyone and secondly, I guess I feel like people are watching what I am doing and I hate being the center of attention like that.  I know I shouldn't let that bother me- after all, I am at Church to worship Christ- but I still get self-conscious at times.  Tami came up to me and said, "let's go together" since her husband Reader John had already venerated.  I can always count on Tami to be the perfect hostess.

After the service, I drove to my protestant parish and waited to pick up my pastor. Yes, Pastor Del said he'd go with me in the evening to the Matins with Lamentations! It was around 5pm when Vespers ended so I had time to grab a bite to eat and I took a nap in the car while I waited for Pastor Del to meet me.

More about that in my next post.

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