by Fr. Demetri Costarakis and Anna-Nicole Kyritsis
(Have the participants come for the Imperial Hours Service in the morning
before beginning the retreat)
SESSION 1: THE MYSTICAL SUPPER
To familiarize participants with the significance of the Last Supper and
its role in Holy Communion.
Table that all the young people can sit around with chairs, bread and
pitcher with juice
OPENING PRAYER: Psalm 24(everyone
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those
who dwell therein;
For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers.
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy
He who has clean hands and a pure heart who does not lift up his soul
to what is false, and does not bear false witness.
He will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God
of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek the face of the
God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors! That
the King of glory may come in!
Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty
in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! That the King of glory may come
in! Who is the King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory!
After the opening prayer, begin by offering bread and juice to the participants.
Pass around the bread for everyone to break off a piece. Then go around
and pour some juice for them. Give them all some time to eat and casually
READ: Mark 14:17-26
In the evening He came with the twelve. Now as they sat and ate, Jesus
said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will
betray Me.” And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to Him one
by one, “Is it I?” And another said, “Is it I?” He
answered and said to them, “It is one of the twelve, who dips with
Me in the dish. The Son of Man indeed goes just as it was written of Him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have
been good for that man if he had never been born.”
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and
gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them,
and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood
of the new covenant which is shed for many. Assuredly, I say to you, I
will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink
it new in the kingdom of God.” And when they had sung a hymn, they
went out to the Mount of Olives.
DISCUSSION: (accept all answers and
- What just happened? (have them recap what they heard)
- What is the importance of the Mystical Supper? (it is the first Communion)
- When do we hear the words Jesus states in this passage? (before the
Consecration of the Holy Gifts)
- Why is Holy Communion important? (it is the body and blood of Christ…)
Jesus offered the first Communion to His disciples as they were His guests
at the Last Supper. We too are called by Christ to be His guests at the
Last Supper at every Liturgy.
A devout Christian who had missed receiving Communion on Sunday thought
to himself: “There was a cup set for me at the Lord’s Table
today, just like the place set for me at the family table at home. The
cup was there for me even when I didn’t come. When I don’t come,
my place at the Lord’s table, reserved especially for me, remains
empty. And the Lord Jesus, the Host, Who prepares the table for me, must
be truly disappointed that one of His invited guests did not show up.”
As he thought about this, he said, “My place at the Lord’s Table
will never be empty again – not if I can help it.”
CLOSING PRAYER: (Communion Hymn teach
them how to sing it)
Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the highest. (3x) Alleluia,
(Allow for a short break between these two session so participants can
SESSION 2: GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE
To familiarize participants with the significance of Jesus praying in
the Garden of Gethsemane and the prayer, “Thy will be done.”
Weather permitting, this session would be most effective done outdoors…near
church garden or park, if available
OPENING PRAYER: Prayer Before Study
(everyone recites together)
Christ, the true light, who enlightens and sanctifies every person coming
into the world, let the light of Your countenance shine upon us that we
may see Your unapproachable light; and guide our steps in the way of Your
commandments, through the intercessions of Your all-holy Mother and of
all the Saints. Amen.
READ: Luke 22:39-46
Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and
His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to
them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He
was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down
and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away
from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel
appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He
prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood
falling down to the ground. When He rose up from prayer and had come to
His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them,
“Why do you sleep? Rose and pray lest you enter into temptation.”
- What is happening here? (Jesus is showing us how to pray through His
example of praying)
- What is remarkable about this? (Jesus is praying for the Father to
do His will not what He wants. He does not want to be put through the
suffering, but He puts His life into God’s hands)
- He says “not My will, but Yours, be done.” When do we pray
this? (During the Lords’ prayer thy will be done)
- How do you think it would feel to pray thy will be done knowing that
His will may be your death?
Jesus took time to pray to God during His most difficult time and was
still able to say to Him, “Your will Lord not mine.” We are
called to surrender our whole lives to God. It is only when we surrender
our lives that we can be free…We are going to take the next 10 minutes
to spend in complete silence and prayer.
CLOSING PRAYER: (Prayer of Metropolitan
Philaret of Moscow everyone read together)
Lord, I know not what to ask of You. You alone know what my true needs
You love me more than I myself know how to love.
Help me to see my real needs, which may be hidden from me.
I dare not ask for either a cross or a consolation.
I can only wait upon You; my heart is open to You.
Visit and help me in Your steadfast love.
Strike me and heal me; cast me down and raise me up.
I worship in silence Your holy will.
I offer myself to You as a living sacrifice.
I put all my trust in You.
I have no other desire than to fulfill Your will.
Teach me to pray. Pray Yourself in me. Amen.
(break for a light Lenten lunch before this session)
SESSION 3: CRUCIFIXION WALK
For the participants to understand what is meant and what was involved
when our Lord was crucified.
OPENING PRAYER: (everyone reads together)
Let us pray to the Lord. Lord Have Mercy.
Today is hung upon the Cross, He Who suspended the Earth upon the waters
(3x). A crown of thorns crowns Him, Who is the King of Angels. He, Who
wrapped the Heavens in clouds, is clothed with the purple of mockery.
He, Who freed Adam in the Jordan, received buffetings. He was transfixed
with nails, Who is the Bridegroom of the Church. He was pierced with a
lance, Who is the Son of the Virgin. We worship Your Passion, O Christ.
Show us also, Your glorious Resurrection.
READ: (Matthew 27:39-50)
And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying,
“You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself!
If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Likewise the
chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He
saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let
Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. “He trusted
in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I
am the Son of God.’” Even the robbers who were crucified with
Him reviled Him with the same thing. Now from the sixth hour until the
ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour
Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’”
that is “My God, My God why have You forsaken Me?” Some of those
who stood there when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling
for Elijah!” Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled
it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.
The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to
save Him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded
up His spirit.
Everyone closes their eyes and is silent. Take them through the experience
of the crucifixion through the senses. Do not tell them what they will
be experiencing as you do it.
- The ripping of cloak – rip a piece of material
- Touching of the thorns – pass around a stem with a thorn for
them to touch
- Weight of the Cross – pass around a heavy beam
- The nailing – drive the nail into the beam
- Tasting of the Vinegar – have them each drink from a small cup
- Have them keep their eyes closed as you read the following
The Cross (published in a Journal of Medicine)
The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is quickly thrown
backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The soldier feels for the
depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square wrought
iron nail through the wrist deep into the wood. Quickly he moves to the
other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms
too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement. The cross is then lifted
into place. The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot,
and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch
of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is now crucified. As he
slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating
fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the
brain – the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the edian
nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this trenching torment, he
places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the
searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones
of his feet. As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting
them deep, relentless and throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the
inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the
lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even
one small breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in
the blood stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, he
is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen.
Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-renting cramps, intermittent
partial asphyxiation, and searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated
back while moving up and down against rough timber. Then another agony
begins: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly
fills with serium and begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over.
The loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level. The compressed
heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues.
The tortured lungs are making frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of
air. He can feel the chill of death creeping through his tissues. Finally,
he allows his body to die. All this the Bible records with simple words,
“and they crucified Him” (Mark 15:24).
Have the youth open their eyes and remain silent. Place an icon of the
Crucifixion so it can be seen by all and they can focus on. Ask them to
think about the following question (later they will give their answers):
Why would Jesus willingly go through this much pain and suffering for
us? Give them 2 to 3 minutes for contemplation.
- What did you just experience?
- What did you feel?
- How do you think Christ reacted to this?
- Why would Jesus willingly go through this much pain and suffering
CLOSING PRAYER: From Holy Thursday
Service (everyone reads together)
Seeing You hanging on the Cross O Christ, the God, and Creator of all,
Whom as a Virgin she bore, she cried out bitterly: “O my Son, where
has the beauty of Your form vanished? I cannot bear to see You unjustly
crucified; hasten therefore and rise up, that I too may behold Your Resurrection
from the dead on the third day.”
At the conclusion of this session, have participants proceed to church
for the Un-nailing Service.