Saint George’s Day Divine Liturgy

Saint George’s Day Matins

Paschal Agape Vespers

We return to the church at midday on Pascha for this “Love Vespers.” As on every day of Bright Week, we only sing hymns of the Resurrection. The Gospel is read in as many languages as possible, as the Good News of the Resurrection goes out to every tribe and nation. We again exchange paschal greetings and share the traditional red eggs.


The vigil begins in darkness with the Midnight Office. The Paschal Flame is then carried out, and the light spreads among the people as we process outside the church. The Resurrection Gospel is proclaimed, and we re-enter the church and everything is full of light, like the souls of all the dead entering into heaven with Christ as their champion. We sing the Paschal Canon and celebrate the Eucharist, full of joy on this day of Resurrection. Christ is risen!

Holy Saturday Vesperal Divine Liturgy

Also known as the “First Liturgy of Pascha,” in truth, this is first service of Pascha. The vesperal hymns are those of Resurrection: Hades weeps with regret, wondering how he could have taken this Man, who turned out to be God. The beautiful doxasticon hymn tells us that Christ has spent this Great Sabbath in the tomb, resting from His work. The Old Testament readings prophecy of the Resurrection, and reach their pinnacle with the singing of Psalm 81: “Arise, O God, and judge the earth!” as the priest scatters flower petals throughout the church. St. Matthew’s account of the Resurrection is proclaimed, and the Cherubic Hymn is from the Liturgy of St. James: “Let all mortal flesh keep silence.”

Holy Saturday Matins

Also known as the “Lamentations Service,” we join the Mother of God at the tomb as she weeps for her Son. Christ’s body, symbolically in the form of the epitaphios or plaschanitsa, is carried around the church in solemn procession. This is the Lord’s funeral service. Yet even in this dark hour, we see the first signs of hope as we begin to sing hymns of the Resurrection.

Holy Friday Vespers

Also known as the “Un-nailing Service.” In this most dramatic service, we commemorate the burial of Christ. The icon of the Lord is removed from the Cross, wrapped in a shroud, and symbolically entombed on the altar. The epitaphios or plaschanitsa, a special icon representing the tomb of Christ, is carried out and venerated by the faithful.

Holy Friday Great (Royal) Hours

The Eucharist is not celebrated on Holy Friday, as Christ said: “When the Bridegroom has gone, then they will fast.” It is traditional to eat and drink nothing on this day. At the Royal Hours, we listen to selections from the Passion Gospels, together with reflective psalmody and hymns.

Holy Friday Matins

Known as the “12 Gospels Service” or the “Passion Service.” In what is perhaps the most intense service of Holy Week, we read the twelve Gospel accounts of Christ’s Passion and Crucifixion. Interspersed with hymns that reach a climax with the procession of the Cross, we venerate the Wood on which the Lord suffered and purchased our salvation.

Holy Thursday Vesperal Divine Liturgy

On Holy Thursday, we remember the institution of the Eucharist. Judas is also exposed as a “son of vipers” as he betrays the Lord. The lengthy Gospel reading at the Divine Liturgy brings us through the Mystical Supper, the arrest of Jesus, and the denial of Peter. During this service we repeatedly pray that we will not betray Christ with a kiss like Judas, but rather imitate the Good Thief.