Last night, we started what I like to call ‘The home stretch’. We’ve spent the last 2 months fasting, praying, preparing for the next 3 days. Long services, tired bodies but there is an excitement in the air.

The following a excellent description of Holy Friday from http://oca.org – Orthodox Church in America’s website has a wealth of information on Holy week and other topics. Full article here.

“Matins of Holy Friday are generally celebrated on Thursday night. The main feature of this service is the reading of twelve selections from the Gospels, all of which are accounts of the passion of Christ. The first of these twelve readings is Jn 13:31-18:1. It is Christ’s long discourse with his apostles that ends with the so-called high priestly prayer. The final gospel tells of the sealing of the tomb and the setting of the watch (Mt 27:62-66).

The twelve Gospel readings of Christ’s passion are placed between the various parts of the service. The hymnology is all related to the sufferings of the Saviour and borrows heavily from the Gospels and the prophetic scriptures and psalms. The Lord’s beatitudes are added to the service after the sixth gospel reading, and there is special emphasis given to the salvation of the thief who acknowledged Christ’s Kingdom.”