Holy Friday Vigil

Last night was Holy Friday (Good Friday) for Orthodox Christians. There is a tradition of some of the faithful keeping vigil at the tomb from the end of the Lamentations service until Liturgy on Holy Saturday morning.

Taken from the Antiochian Archdiocese website:

After our Lord died on the Cross, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus, bound it in linen cloths with spices and buried it in a new tomb. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sat opposite the tomb watching as their Lord was buried. The Church over the centuries has joined with these two women in keeping watch over Jesus’ tomb. The Holy Friday Vigil at Christ’s tomb is our opportunity to help keep watch over our Lord’s body as He descends in to Hell to loosen the bonds of death. What better way to understand the death and resurrection of Jesus than to participate in the Vigil by His tomb?

A handful of people from our parish signed up to read or chant, either for a few hours or as needed through the night.

One thing I like about reading through the Psalter is recognizing the verses we use in our hymnography, sometimes long sections of the psalms put to music. Other times just a few verses, like the Alleluia Verses we chant during the Bridegroom Matins.

I get tired sitting in the pew, but when someone starts chanting I can’t help but sing along, even if I’ve got my headcovering pulled halfway over my face and my eyes closed 🙂

We somehow went without doing this the past couple years, but I hope we’ll be able to keep it up from now on.

Does your parish keep vigil on Holy Friday?

Here’s a friend of mine chanting By the Waters of Babylon

And from Holy Transfiguration Monastery

Holy Friday: Vespers of the Unnailing


The Epistle Reading for the Vespers of the Unnailing on Holy Friday
Brethren, the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For consider your call, brethren: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth: but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; therefore, as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord.”

When I came to you, brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
1 Corinthians 1:18-31; 2:1-2