The Very Reverend Thomas Hopko writes, “In the Orthodox Church the last week of Christ’s life is officially called Passion Week. In popular terminology it is called Holy Week. Each day is designated in the service books as ‘great and holy.’ There are special services every day of the week which are fulfilled in all churches. Earthly life ceases for the faithful as they ‘go up with the Lord to Jerusalem.’” (From The Orthodox Faith)
In order to enrich the meaning of the services for the faithful throughout this eventful week, the editors at oca.org suggest the following readings:
- Read about Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday.
- Metropolitan Anthony Bloom’s homily, “The Lord’s Entry Into Jerusalem,” explains that “the beginning of Christ’s Passion is today’s triumphal procession; the people expected a king, a leader – and they found the Saviour of their souls.”
- Read a summary which describes the significance of each day in Holy Week.
- “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!” Read about the Bridegroom Services of Holy Week.
- “Death and Burial” is an explanation of Great and Holy Friday Vespers.
- “The Betrayal and Passion of Our Lord” explores the meaning of Holy Friday Matins with the Passion Gospels and Royal Hours.
- “This is the Blessed Sabbath” and Great and Holy Saturday provide insight into the importance of the “middle day” services which come after Holy Friday and before the Paschal liturgy.
- “The Paschal Service” gives an overview of The Midnight Office, Matins, Hours and the Divine Liturgy of Pascha.
- Read “The Paschal Sermon,” St. John Chrysostom’s classic homily which is traditionally read during the Matins of Pascha.