Pan-Orthodox Pentecost Vespers and Reception

Metropolitan Nicholas will preside over the Pan-Orthodox Vespers service on the eve of Pentecost, the patronal Feast Day of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. A dessert reception will follow at 6:00 pm.

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 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 Unction

This sacrament, instituted in the Epistle of St. James, is celebrated  during Holy Week in some Orthodox traditions to strengthen the faithful as we enter into the day of Christ’s death. The oil of mercy, which is traditionally blessed by seven priests, is given to effect healing and forgiveness of sins.

Holy Unction is a sacrament of the Orthodox Church, and the same rules apply as with the Eucharist. Only members of the Orthodox Church may receive the anointing.

Holy Wednesday Matins

In this, the third “Bridegroom Service,” we make remembrance of the harlot who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive ointment, and His rebuke of the greedy Judas, who was obsessed with money. Let us imitate the woman, who poured out fountains of tears and confessed her sins to the Master; let us run from the ways of Judas, who betrayed Christ for the sake of wealth.

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.”

Palm Sunday Divine Liturgy