May 6, 2016
Wayne, WV: Divine Services for Passion Week & Pascha in Holy Cross Monastery

In the final days before Holy Pascha, the Lenten services at Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, WV were led by the monastery’s abbot – Archimandrite Seraphim (Voepel), co-served by monastic clergy.

On Great Thursday, April 28, Fr. Seraphim celebrated the Divine Liturgy in memory of the Mystical Supper. He was co-served by Hieromonks Andrew (O’Leary), Nektarios (Merry), Hilarion (Heagy), and Gabriel (Hooten), Archdeacon Sergius (Wilson), and Hierodeacon Paisios (Laiblin). That evening were read the Twelve Passion Gospels, commemorating the suffering and crucifixion of our Lord.

On Great Friday, the Royal Hours were read in the monastery church, followed by Vespers and the brining out of the Shroud. That evening, in accordance with Church tradition, Matins was served with the rite of the Burial of the Savior’s body, at the conclusion of which were heard those long-awaited words, so near to the hearts of the faithful: "Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered!"

The following morning, Vespers and the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great were served, during which were read aloud the Old Testament readings that prophesy Christ’s Resurrection and the salvation of the people of God from the enemy of man and from eternal death. In accordance with Greek tradition, the priests threw rose petals around the church in anticipation of Christ’s Resurrection. Upon completion of the Liturgy, the monastics all departed for their cells, to await in serenity and prayer the coming radiant night, when the Resurrection of Christ would be proclaimed.

On the night of Saturday, April 30, into Sunday, May 1, the monastic community greeted the Feast of feasts – Christ’s Glorious Resurrection. The Paschal divine services were led by Fr. Seraphim, co-served by the above-mentioned clergy. The monastic brethren and pilgrims performed the midnight procession joyously and to the peal of bells. Red flares burned across the monastery property, while the faithful – in accordance with Greek tradition – set off fireworks. After the singing of the stichera and the Paschal proclamation "Christ is Risen!", Matins and Divine Liturgy were served in the main church.

All those present communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries, thereby reaching the conclusion of the preparatory Lenten journey to the joyous night of Pascha. Upon completion of the service, everyone gathered in the refectory to break the fast at the Paschal meal.

The following day, on Bright Monday, the feast of Pascha continued: the Divine Liturgy was celebrated, after which the brethren and pilgrims held a procession around the monastery property with icons and banners, while the clergy sprinkled the faithful with holy water.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese