On April 14, on the Holy and Great Friday we had two special services in our parish temple. This day is the most sorrowful day in Christian calendar. On Holy Friday we commemorate crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, His death on the Cross, as well as His burial. St. George Church’s Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served Vespers with the procession of the Shroud at 4:00 PM. At the end of this service holy Shroud had been solemnly carried out from the altar to the middle of the church and placed there for veneration.
At the end of Vespers the Rector preached a sermon in Russian. He pointed out that the Lord Jesus Christ died on that day for the human kind, so we may now inherit eternal life. We humanly fear death and do not like to think of that subject. However, all of us should remember that through Baptism all of us are supposed to die spiritually, to become dead for sin and alive for Christ. Baptismal font represents the tomb in which we become dead for sin. Jesus allowed Himself to die on the cross and to be laid in the tomb, so we may enjoy eternal life in Him. On this day of the Great Friday we have a procession with the Shroud and we place the Shroud in the middle of the church to be reminded of the burial of the Lord. In some parish the new pastor reviewed the list of parishioners and he noticed that some names were marked by an abbreviation “F.B.P.O.”. The pastor asked a parish activist what this abbreviation meant. The response was that these are the members who do not attend the church but pay their dues, so they could be buried by this church. The abbreviation meant “for burial purpose only”. Such Christians are already dead spiritually although they are much alive and are interested in many life things, but they are not interested in Christ and their salvation. Therefore, we have to live spiritual life to be really alive in Christ. Even if we die eventually, our life will continue in Jesus who died and was buried for us.
At 7:00 PM the Rector celebrated Matins on the Lord’s Tomb. Most of this service was performed before the Shroud placed in the middle of the church. After the Great Doxologion the Rector, altar servers and parishioners performed the procession around the church. The priest carried the holy Shroud resembling burial of the Lord.