St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Wilkes-Barre, PA
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Photos of Holy Week and Pascha
GREAT AND HOLY WEEK AND PASCHA 2015
Throughout the Great and Holy Week of 2015 there were many Services in which we accompanied the Lord through the final week of his life before his Glorious Resurrection. The photos from the Services show the faithful of St. Mary’s journeying with Christ through these powerful days.
GREAT WEEK AND PASCHA 2013
Throughout all of the Great and Holy Week 2013 there were many different Church Services to commemorate the great events of the life of our Lord, Jesus Christ. On Palm Sunday we joined with Christ as he entered the City of Jerusalem in Triumph. At the end of the Divine Liturgy we had the procession with palms to welcome the Lord. On Great Friday the women prepared the Tomb of Christ and then at 3pm during the Service of Vespers, Christ was taken down from the Cross and placed in the Tomb. That night the Service of Lamentations was held at the Tomb of Christ and his body was carried in the Epitaphios, the Shroud, which was taken in procession outside the Church and then all passed in humble respect under the Shroud. The Epitaphios was then taken and placed on the Holy Table. On Great Saturday morning, Laurel leaves, the sign of Christ’s victory over Satan, sin and death, were thrown around the Church Temple. The high point of the week was then celebrated on Saturday night when all came forward to receive the Light of Christ and then stand outside to hear the proclamation of the Resurrection and to sign over and over, “Christ is Risen from the Dead, trampling down death by death…” At the end of the Divine Liturgy eggs and Pascha baskets were blessed and then everyone went down into the Church Hall to enjoy some Paschal food.
Great Week and Pascha 2012
Throughout all of the Great and Holy Week 2012 there were many different Church Services to commemorate the great events of the life of our Lord, Jesus Christ. On Palm Sunday we joined with Christ as he entered the City of Jerusalem in Triumph. At the end of the Divine Liturgy we had the procession with palms to welcome the Lord. On Great Wednesday evening, April 11, the service of Holy Unction was served asking the Lord for healing of body and soul. On Great Friday the women prepared the Tomb of Christ in the morning, and then at 3pm during the Service of Vespers, Christ was taken down from the Cross and then placed in the Tomb. That night, April 13, the Service of Lamentations was held at the Tomb of Christ and his body was carried in the Epitaphios, the Shroud, which was taken in procession outside the Church and then all passed in humble respect under the Shroud. The Epitaphios was then taken and placed on the Holy Table. On Great Saturday morning, Laurel leaves, the sign of Christ’s victory over Satan, sin and death, were thrown around the Church Temple. The high point of the week was then celebrated on Saturday night when all came forward to receive the Light of Christ and then stand outside to hear the proclamation of the Resurrection and to sign over and over, “Christ is Risen from the Dead, trampling down death by death…” At the end of the Divine Liturgy eggs and Pascha baskets were blessed and then everyone went down into the Church Hall to enjoy some Paschal food.
HOLY WEEK AND PASCHA 2011
The following photographs are from the third Sunday of the Great Fast, the Sunday of the Holy Cross, and many photographs from this year’s Holy Week and Pascha services.
Holy Saturday and Holy PASCHA 2010
On Holy Saturday morning, April 3rd, during the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, laurel leaves are thrown all around the Church Temple as the sign of Christ’s victory of death, sin and Satan.
Beginnin at 10 pm on Saturday evening with the Nocturns, the clergy and people of St. Mary started their annual celeberation of the Resurrection of Christ. Father David brought forth the Light of Christ and everyone lit their candles and then went out in front of the Church. There the Rush Service was held, beginning with the reading of the account of the Resurrection in the Gospel according to Mark. Then after singing “Christ is Risen fromt he dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life” many times with verses, then the doors of the Church were knocked on with the hand Cross, and then being opened to the King of Glory, the Paschal Canon was then sung by the chanters.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, eggs and other foods were blessed, and each person received a blessed egg as the greeting “Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!” “Al Maseeh qam! Haqqan qam!” is eschanged in joy.
Afterwards, about 1:30 in the morning, there was a meal in the Parish Hall.
Great Friday Lamentation Service 2010
On Great Friday evening, the Service of Lamentations was held before the Tomb of Christ. During this service the choir and people sing Lamentations before the Lord’s body laid in the Tomb. During these lamentations the Tomb, Church and people are incensed, and also sprikled with rose water, recalling the sprinkling done by the Myrrhbearing women. At the end of the service the Epitaphios, the shroud/winding sheet with the image of Christ’s body, is carried in procession from the Church through the outside lot to the tune of the Funeral Toll and the choir singing “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Imortal, have mercy on us.”
When the people reenter the Church they pass under the Epitaphios, a sign of veneration and humility before the Lord. They then kiss the book of the Gospels, our promise of life and resurrection in Christ.
Great Friday Vespers
At three in the afternoon, when the Scriptures note that the Lord died, the people of St. Mary gathered for Vespers during which the Gospel account is read about the crucifixion and death of the Lord. During this service Christ is taken down from the Cross and placed in a clean, white shroud held by the Myrrhbearing Women of St. Mary’s. After this his body is carried in processiond by the priest to the Tomb, where the Epitaphios, the shroud with the image of the Lord’s body surrounded by the Women, and Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, is placed in the Tomb. then all come forward to venerate the body of the Lord.
PREPARING THE TOMB OF CHRIST Great Friday 2010
On the morning of Great Friday, before the service of the Royal Hours, the women of St. Mary prepare the tomb of Christ. They decorate the tomb with various flowers and prepare the carnations that are given to the parishioners after the Lamentation Service on Great Friday evening. The women of all ages join in preparing the Tomb to receive the body of Christ when He is taken down from the Holy Cross.
THE SERVICE OF HOLY UNCTION - Holy Wednesday 2010
“The blessing of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, for the healing of soul and body of the servant of God…” It is with these words that the people of St. Mary Orthodox Church were anointed with the Holy Oil on Wednesday of the Great and Holy Week. In this service prayers are offered for the healing of soul and body of all those present. The service contains seven readings from the Apostles, seven Gospel readings, and seven prayers for healing and forgiveness. At the end of the service, all kneel under the open Book of the Holy Gospels, as the priest prays for their healing and forgiveness.
PALM SUNDAY 2010
After preparing the palms on Lazarus Saturday, the people of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church celebrated Palm Sunday on March 28, 2010, the earliest date in 95 years. On that Sunday the Palms were blessed at the end of Orthros, and the parish teens distributed the Palms in the vestibule of the Church Temple. On that Sunday Father David gave a special sermon to the children talking about the importance of the first Palm Sunday for the children of that time, showing the prominent place of children in the icon of Palm Sunday. The children answered questions about the icons and about what it means that the Palms were blessed and what the children should do with the Palms when they take them home. For the Divine Liturgy many former parishioners returned to be with their families and with the parish community for this special day. At the end of the Divine Liturgy there was the procession of all the parishioners outside the Church to remember Christ’s procession into Jerusalem. After which the Orthros Gospel account of Matthew was read at the end of the Divine Liturgy. It was a special day for all in the community.
GREAT AND HOLY SATURDAY & HOLY PASCHA 2009
On the morning of Great and Holy Saturday the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil was served. During this Liturgy Laurel leaves are thrown over the floor of the Church Temple as a sign of the victory of Jesus Christ over sin, Satan and death.
Following this Liturgy the children had an Easter Egg hunt outside on the Church lawn in the beautiful sun of that morning.
On Great Saturday evening at 10pm the Nocturn Service was sung, followed by the Rush Service at the doors of the Church, where the Gospel of the Resurrection is chanted, Christ is Risen is sung, and then the doors of the Church are knocked on three times, each time asking “Who is the King of Glory?”
Then the Paschal Canon is sung in the brightly lit Church, full of the glory of the Risen Lord. At the end of the Canon the Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom is read.
The Paschal Divine Liturgy follows with special music and antiphons to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. At the end of the Liturgy, eggs and cheeses and meat is blessed. Some of the parishioners of Slavic descent bring their traditional foods in baskets to be blessed.
After this, at about 1:30 in the morning, a special meal is held in the Church hall featuring the meats, cheeses and eggs that the faithful have fasted from during the Great Lent.
GREAT AND HOLY FRIDAY 2009
On Great and Holy Friday, April 17th, the women decorated the Tomb of Christ to prepare for the special services of Great Friday.
During the 3pm Great Vesper Service the Body of Christ is taken down from the Holy Cross and placed in a white cloth. Then the Burial Shroud, the Epitaphios, is carried around the Church and placed in the Tomb, where it received special veneraltion from all the clergy and faithful.
On Great Friday Evening the Lamentation Service was held at 7pm. During this service songs of lamentation are sugn at the Tomb of Christ and then the Shroud is carried in a candle light procession. At the end of the Service the Shroud is placed on the Holy Table where it will remain until the Ascention of Christ in 40 days.
HOLY UNCTION SERVICE 2009
On Great And Holy Wednesday evening, April 15, the Holy Unction Service was held in the Church. During this Service olive oil, mixed with wine, is blessed to be used to anoint the Orthodox faithful for the forgiveness of sins and for health in soul and body. During the service seven readings are taken from the Apostles and seven readings from the Gospels. At the end of the service the Gospel Book is held over the faithful to pray for their health and forgiveness. Then all the Orthodox people come forward to be annointed on the forehead and hands with the Blessed Oil.
PALM SUNDAY 2009
To prepare for Palm Sunday the TEEN SOYO and the children, and their families and friends, prepared the palms. The palms were tied together, some with candles, and then were placed in the Church to prepare for the feast.
On Palm Sunday, the palms were blessed and were then distribguted by the children and teens in the Narthex of the Church.
At the end of Orthros, there was the 40th day Churching of Macarius John Meyer, son of Daniel and Elizabeth. Daniel is an Antiochian Orthodox seminary student at St. Tikhon’s Semiary and is assigned by the Archdiocese to St. Mary for his pastoral assignement.
During the Divine Liturgy Father David gave a special sermon to the children telling them about the importance of children in honoring Christ on the First Palm Sunday.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy there was a procession carrying the palms outside the Church which concluded with the reading fo the Orthros Gospel again in the Church Temple.
Third Sunday of Great Lent -- Sunday of the Holy Cross 2009
At the end of the Divine Liturgy on the Third Sunday of Great Lent, March 22, there was a procession carrying the Holy Cross around the Church Temple and then a special Service honoring the Holy Cross.
BISHOP THOMAS VISITS SAINT MARY Sunday of Orthodoxy MARCH 6-8 2009
For the weekend of the Sunday of Orthodoxy Bishop THOMAS visited the parish of St. Mary, Wilkes-Barre. He presided over the Akathist Service on Friday and Great Vespers on Saturday, both of which were sung by the Antiochian Orthodox students who attend St. Tikhon’s Seminary. Following Great Vespers a lenten meal was served in the parish hall.
On Sunday morning Sayidna served the Divine Liturgy with Bishop TIKHON, the OCA bishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania. It was the first time in the 105 year history of St. Mary that an Antiochian Orthodox and a Russian Orthodox bishop served the Liturgy together in the parish. Bishop TIKHON preached the homily at the Liturgy. This was Bishop TIKHON’s first visit to St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church. At the end of the Divine Liturgy there was a procession of the clergy with the children of St. Mary Church who all carried Icons with all the clergy reading part of the Synodikon of Orthodoxy and the choir singing the Great Prokimenon.
After the Liturgy the entire community came together for a lenten meal in the parish hall. At the end of the meal a birthday cake was brought to Bishop THOMAS to celebrate his birthday which was on that Sunday March 8.
On Sunday afternoon the two bishops, together with many of the OCA and Antiochian clergy, presided over the Service of Orthodoxy at the OCA Cathedral, Holy Resurrection, in north Wilkes-Barre. Before the service began Bishop THOMAS preached the homily. At the end of the Service the children of the Cathedral gave both bishops a gift of roses. A meal followed in the church hall of the Cathedral. This was Bishop THOMAS’ first visit tot he OCA Cathedral.
The entire weekend was a moving experience for all who joined in the celebration of the gift of our Orthodox faith, which unites us all into one, whether we be Antiochian Orthodox or Russian Orthodox. All present hoped for the day of every greater Orthodox unity in America.
Bishops unite for Triumph of Orthodoxy 2010BY ERIN MOODY STAFF WRITER Citizens Voice Published: Monday, March 9, 2009 4:06 AM EDT
WILKES-BARRE — Sprinkling rain kept the children and clergy members from walking outside Sunday, but didn’t stop them from making a slightly shorter Procession of the Icons around the inside of Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Wilkes-Barre in honor of the restoration of the icons in 843.
The procession, a part of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, is held annually on the first Sunday of Great Lent, but this was the first year that a Russian bishop and an Antiochian Orthodox bishop met at the church for the services.
The Right Rev. Joseph Thomas, Antiochian bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic and the Right Rev. Archimandrite Tikhon, bishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania of the Orthodox Church of America, participated in the services.
Bishops Thomas and Tikhon also celebrated a service at St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Wilkes-Barre on Sunday morning.
Kyra Zoranski, of Hanover Township, said that almost every priest from the diocese was represented at the Holy Resurrection service and procession, which began at 4:45 p.m.
Bishops Thomas, Tikhon, other clergy members and children walked around the inside of the church carrying icons, which Zoranski explained, are extremely important to the church. They tell stories and serve as visual reminders of the history and teachings of the church, she said.
Between 726 and 843, icons were not allowed, so the Sunday of Orthodoxy is celebrated in honor of the day that icons were restored in the church. Having both bishops together for the service was a way of showing how unified the Orthodox community is.
Visiting clergy members carried icons from their home churches or that belonged to them. Children waved flowers as they carried icons around the church, which was decorated with mosaics, marble and golden images.
While many of the icons were from the church, some children brought their own icons from home, Marina Martin, of Wilkes-Barre said.
This day is important in helping her feel like it is the holiday season, she said. Each Sunday until Easter will have a different theme, and each one helps to emphasis the season.
“For me, if I’m not here, it doesn’t feel like it is Lent,” Martin said.
Quote of the Holy Fathers
A brother went to see Abba Silvanus on the mountain of Sinai. When he saw the brothers working hard he said to the old man, “Do not labor for the food which perishes (John 6:27). Mary has chosen the better part (Luke 10:42).” The old man said to his disciple, “Zacharias, give the brother a book and put him in a cell without anything else.” So when the ninth hour came the visitor watched the door expecting someone would be sent to call him to the meal. When no one called him, he got up, went to find the old man and said to him, “Have the brothers not eaten today?” The old man replied that they had. Then he said, “Why did you not call me?” The old man said to him, “Because you are a spiritual man and do not need that kind of food. We, being carnal, want to eat, and that is why we work. But you have chosen the good portion and read the whole day long and you do not want to eat carnal food.” When he heard these words the brother made a prostration saying, “Forgive me, Abba.” The old man said to him, “Mary needs Martha. It is really thanks to Martha that Mary is praised.”
It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped when giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God.
St. John of Damascus (8th century)
It is necessary to establish a pattern of going to church as often as possible, usually to Matins, Liturgy and Vespers. Have a longing for this, and go there at the first opportunity and if you can, stay without leaving. Our church is heaven on earth. Hasten to church with the faith that it is a place where God dwells, where He Himself promised to quickly hear prayers. Standing in church, be as if you are standing before God in fear and reverence, which you express through patience, prostrations, and attention to the services without wandering thoughts.
Saint Theophan the Recluse (19th century)
The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit.
Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia (4th century)