The Norman Transcript

Religion

April 26, 2013

Holy Ascension prepares for Pascha

(Continued)

NORMAN —

On Holy Thursday, the faithful call to mind the last events in the earthly life of our Lord. The morning begins with the celebration of the Vesperal Divine Liturgy commemorating the Mystical Supper and the institution of the Holy Eucharist as the central act of Christian worship.

In the evening, 12 passages from the Gospels are read, leading the faithful through the solemn events of the Passion and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. During the service, the holy cross is carried in procession around the church and the crucifixion is recalled as an icon of the body of Christ is nailed to the cross.

Great and Holy Friday begins with the service known as the Royal Hours, again calling to mind the sacrifice of our Lord. In the afternoon, the vesper service recalls the taking down of Christ’s body from the cross. In the evening, the church offers a funeral for Jesus Christ as His body is placed in a bier (tomb) and carried in solemn procession around the church during the Lamentations service.

On the morning of Great and Holy Saturday, a Vesperal Divine Liturgy is celebrated in anticipation of Christ’s victory over death. At 11 p.m., the faithful assemble to celebrate Great and Holy Pascha, beginning with the Rush procession, then the Paschal Matins and culminating in the Divine Liturgy of the Resurrection.

As is customary, following the Pascha worship service, churches throughout the Orthodox world, including Holy Ascension Orthodox Church in Norman, will mark the end of the fast and the beginning of a season of celebration and feasting with fellowship in the parish hall.

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