Holy Friday, Saint Steven's Cathedral

holy-friday-2013-06A Message from His Grace, Bishop Maxim
on Great & Holy Friday

On the afternoon of Good Friday, we conduct the service of the Great Vespers with great solemnity. This Vesper service concludes the remembrance of the events of the Lord's passion, and leads us towards watchful expectation as we contemplate the mystery of the Lord's descent into Hades, the theme of Great Saturday In popular language the Vesper Service of Great Friday is often called the Apokathelosis, a name derived from the liturgical reenactment of the deposition of Christ from the Cross.

The service is characterized by two dramatic liturgical actions: The Deposition or Apokathelosis (literally the Un-nailing); and the Procession of the Epitaphios (the icon depicting the burial of Christ encased within a large embroidered cloth.)

On Good Friday evening the Orthodox Church celebrates the Orthros Service for Holy and Great Saturday.On Great Saturday our focus is on the Tomb of Christ. This is no ordinary grave. It is not a place of corruption, decay and defeat. It is life-giving a source of power, victory and liberation.  Great Saturday is the day between Jesus' death and His resurrection. It is the day of watchful expectation, in which mourning is being transformed into joy. The day embodies in the fullest possible sense a joyful-sadness, which has dominated the celebrations of Great Week. Great Saturday is the day of the pre-eminent rest. Christ observes a Sabbath rest in the tomb. His rest, however, is not inactivity but the fulfillment of the divine will and plan for the salvation of humankind and the cosmos. He who brought all things into being, makes all things new. The recreation of the world has been accomplished once and for all. Through His incarnation, life and death Christ has filled all things with Himself. He has opened a path for all flesh to the resurrection from the dead, since it was not possible that the author of life would be dominated by corruption. 

 Alhambra, CA - On Great & Holy Friday, May 3rd, 2013, His Grace, Bishop Maxim officiated at the Orthos Service for Holy & Great Saturday at the Saint Steven's Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Alhambra, California with the Clergy, V. Rev. Nikola Ceko, Cathedral Dean, V. Rev. Ilija Dajkovich, Rev. Norman Kosanovich, altar boys, myrr bearers, choir, and many Orthodox faithful. 

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