Holy Resurrection sets Holy Week, Easter services

Holy Resurrection Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church, 528 N. Fourth St., Steubenville, will join other Orthodox Christians worldwide in the observance of Holy Week this coming week. Following the rules set forth by the First Ecumenical Council in 325 A.D. and the Julian calendar, the Orthodox feast of the Resurrection falls on May 5 this year.

Palm Sunday will be observed on Sunday at the 10 a.m. Divine Liturgy with the traditional children’s procession around the church in imitation of the children of Israel who greeted Jesus on his entrance into Jerusalem. Blessed branches will be distributed.

The Bridegroom Matins will be served on Monday and Tuesday at 6 p.m. These services meditate on Christ’s final actions as he prepares for his passion and “encourage us to be watchful and faithful as were the wise bridesmaids in the parable,” explained the Rev. Rade Merick of Holy Resurrection.

On Holy Thursday, May 2, the Divine Liturgy commemorating the Last Supper will be served at 10 a.m. “The very moving Matins of the Holy and Redeeming Passion of our Lord with the reading of the 12 Passion Gospels will be served at 7 p.m. that day,” Merick said. This service describes in detail and relives the Last Supper, the betrayal, the trial, the crucifixion, death and burial of Christ.

“On Great and Holy Friday, May 3, another very moving and beautiful service, the Burial of Christ with the lamentations and the procession around the church with the winding-sheet depicting the burial of Christ, will take place at 7 p.m. The winding sheet will be placed in a ‘tomb’ prepared in the center of the church for veneration by the faithful,” Merick said.

“On Great and Holy Saturday, May 4, the Vesperal Divine Liturgy with Holy Communion before the Tomb of Christ will be served at 10 a.m., with the first proclamation of the resurrection and the change to bright vestments,” he continued.

In a change from previous years, the services of Pascha, or Easter, will begin at 6 a.m. on Easter morning, May 5 as a sunrise service, “with the removal of the winding-sheet of Christ from the tomb in the center of the church to the altar and the Resurrection Matins with the candlelight procession around the church and the joyous proclamation of the resurrection. The Divine Liturgy of Pascha will immediately follow. Colored eggs will be blessed and distributed at the conclusion of these services. These beautiful services are the high point of the liturgical year,” Merick said.

The celebration of the Resurrection will continue on Bright Monday and Tuesday, May 6 and 7, with the Paschal Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m.

The public is invited to all services, he said.