On Great & Holy Friday at 6:00pm, we will hold the service of Matins of Holy Saturday with Lamentations.
According to the order of the Lenten Triodion, the Matins service for Holy and Great Saturday is served Friday night, or on Friday evening as is the practice in most parish churches. This service includes what are called the Lamentations of the Theotokos. Our Lord Jesus Christ has been taken down from the cross, and His Most Pure Mother laments and grieves over His lifeless Body, but theologizes concerning the mystery of His death and our redemption. The Burial Shroud (Ἐπιτάφιος, Плащаница, نعش) remains in the center of the church to symbolize Jesus’s burial in the new tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.
The Lamentations consist of verses (troparia) called the “Praises” interspersed with verses of the 118th Psalm (17th kathisma), which is divided into three parts (staseis).
This service begins in a solemn manner, but by the end of the service we are already anticipating the Resurrection of our Lord. Remember that the Holy Friday evening Matins service is actually the first service of Holy Saturday, the day in which we commemorate our Lord’s body resting in the tomb while His all-pure soul descends into Hades to free the faithful of the Old Covenant.
The Angel stood by the tomb, and to the women bearing spices he cried aloud: “Myrrh is fitting for the dead, but Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption.”