On Great Thursday the focus of the Church turns to the events that occurred in the Upper Room and at the Garden of Gethsemane.In the Upper Room, while at meal, Jesus established and instituted the mystery or sacrament of the holy Eucharist and washed the feet of His disciples as well.The Garden of Gethsemane calls our attention to Jesus' redemptive obedience and sublime prayer (Mt 26.36-46). It also brings us before the cowardly, treacherous act of Judas, who betrayed Christ with a kiss, the sign of love and friendship.
The first part of Great Week presents us with an array of themes based chiefly on the last days of Jesus' earthly life. The story of the Passion, as told and recorded by the Evangelists, is preceded by a series of incidents located in Jerusalem and a collection of parables, sayings and discourses centered on Jesus' divine sonship, the kingdom of God, the Parousia, and Jesus' castigation of the hypocrisy and dark motives of the religious leaders.
The solemnities of Great Week are preceded by a two-day festival commemorating the resurrection of Lazaros and the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem. These two events punctuate Christ's ministry in a most dramatic way (Jn 11. l- 12,19). By causing the final eruption of the unrelenting hostility of His enemies, who had been plotting to kill him, these two events precipitate Christ's death. At the very same time, however, these same events emphasize His divine authority. Through them Christ is revealed as the source of all life and the promised Messiah. For this reason, the interlude which separates Great Week from the Great Fast is Paschal in character. It is the harbinger of Christ's victory over death and of the inrush of His kingdom into the life of the world.
Holy Week in the Eastern Orthodox Church institutes the sanctity of the whole calendar year of the Church. Its center of commemorations and inspiration is Easter wherein the glorified Resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated. Every Sunday is dedicated in the Eastern Orthodox Church to the Resurrection of the Lord. One hundred days also are dedicated to Easter, 50 before it for preparation, and another 50 after it for commemorating the glorification of the Lord. Easter is considered the 'Feast of Feasts'.
The services of Holy Week transform us into eyewitnesses and direct participants in the awesome events of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In readings taken from both Old and New Testaments, in hymns, processions, and liturgical commemoration, we see the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies, and the mighty acts by which God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, grants us forgiveness for our sins, and rescues us from the pain of eternal death.
In the Orthodox Church the Holy Chrism is consecrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch on Holy Thursday for use in holy churches for the celebration of the sacrament of Holy Chrismation. The sacrament of Holy Chrismation is the visible sign of the transmission of gifts of the Holy Spirit upon those entering Orthodoxy. The Holy Chrism is thus a bond that unites all true Orthodox Christians throughout the world.
A Concise presentation of the Feast of Epiphany in its Biblical and historical background along with excerpts from the service of the sanctification of the waters as it is celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church
In this article, the Reverend Eugen J. Pentiuc, Th.D., Ph.D. offers an insightful reflection on the creation narrative of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis by critically reviewing the Hebrew. Gender differentiation appears as soon as 'woman' is created. Man (as male) begins to exist only after woman's creation. Thus, the woman has a defining role in man�s arising identity. It is while looking at his �opposite helper� that the man discovers his own identity (Gen 2:24). Both partners of dialogue exhibit a sort of propensity for one another (Gen 2:24; 3:17). They find themselves in a permanent search to reestablish the ontological unity (Gen 1:26-27), which can be reached, as St. Paul puts it, in Christ, the new Adam (�humanity�): "There is neither Jew not Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28).
Seeker of the truth, teacher of the truth and servant of the truth was the Bishop of Abydos, Gerasimos of blessed memory. Having lived a full life, eighty-five years in all, he fell asleep in the Lord at the Deaconess Hospital of Boston after a difficult heart operation that took place on June 2, 1995.