The Holy Week is a string of eight days that allow us an opportunity to reflect upon the shift in humanity Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross launched. It extends from Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday and it is the last part of the Lent. According to Orthodox Church it has earned its title due to the significant series of events and the suffering of Jesus Christ for our salvation.
After the end of Lent (ie the fast of forty days preceding Easter), follows the Great Week that begins with "Palm Sunday" and ends on "Holy Saturday”. It is the most sacred week in the liturgical year in Orthodox Christianity. Deeply theological and source of renewal and mental purification participating in the sacred services while experiencing the Holy Passion of our Jesus Christ for the sake of the redemption of the human race. For us Greeks the Holy Week is a combination of joyous celebration along with a mystical process through the experience of the saving Passion of Christ to fill the divine economy around man for his salvation.
It is the Sunday before Easter, and it is named because it is associated with the commemoration of the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, during which the people welcomed him with applause and "palm trees".
On this day we commemorate the life Joseph, Patriarch of Jacob and the tale of the "fruitless fig tree", which symbolizes every human soul that is absent of virtue.
This day is dedicated to the gospel parable of the ten virgins urging the faithful to be full of faith and charity, along with the parable of “Taladwn” which aims to teach people to cultivate their spirituality and be hard working.
The Orthros of Holy Tuesday, as well as of Holy Monday and Holy Wednesday, is also called the Bridegroom’s sequence, because according to him the hymns related to the parables of the ten virgins and the royal wedding are sung: "Behold o The bridegroom is coming ... " and " I see your bridegroom ... “. The Bridegroom of the Church is Christ, who will come again in glory to judge the world.
Holy Wednesday is dedicated to Mary Magdalene and her repentance of her life of sin as a prostitute and washed the feet of Jesus Christ with the Anointing oil/myrrh and the betrayal of Judas. On the afternoon or evening of Great and Holy Wednesday, the Sacrament of Holy Unction is offered for the healing of soul and body and for forgiveness of sins. The sinful woman understood what Judas did not: Christianity is about healing. Not just temporary healing, but from man’s biggest problems: egotism, sin and death.
Maundy Thursday is dedicated to four events: the Holy Washing (the event in which Jesus washed the feet of his Disciples’ and which teaches how to express our love and humility ), the Last Supper (remembrance of the inauguration of the sacrament of the Eucharist and pronounced the new commandment of love for one another), the Marvelous prayer (after Christ showed the traitor at the Last Supper, he and his disciples retired to the Mount of Olives, where he prays alone on his knees and his sweat, like drops of blood, waters the earth) and the of betrayal (where with a kiss, Judas hands over Christ to the soldiers)
Good Friday is dedicated to the Holy Passion of Jesus Christ. After Jesus is handed over to the soldiers, they put him a red cloak, put a crown of thorns and a reed in his hand instead of a scepter. Then they make fun of him, spit on him and hit him in the face and head. Then, after putting on his clothes again, they give him the Cross to walk to the place of condemnation, Golgotha. Holy Friday is the darkest day of all in the Holy Week. It marks Jesus’ death and suffering on the cross. People mourn Jesus on this day by fasting and attending church services and also holding processions to re-enact the Crucifixion. Jesus on the Cross teaches us to be patient in suffering for noble causes and for the sake of our brothers and sisters, believing that our Creator God is in control over everything.
Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil
This day commemorates the day Jesus was buried in a tomb. A day after this, he was resurrected. On Great and Holy Saturday, the Orthodox Church commemorates the burial of Christ and His descent into Hades. It is the day between the Crucifixion of our Lord and His glorious Resurrection. The Matins of Holy Saturday is conducted on Friday evening, and while many elements of the service represent mourning at the death and burial of Christ, the service itself is one of watchful expectation.
Great and Holy Pascha/Easter
It is the day of Resurrection; let us be radiant for the festival, and let us embrace one another. Let us say, O brethren, even to those that hate us: Let us forgive all things on the Resurrection; and thus, let us cry: Christ is risen from the dead, by death He has trampled down death, and on those in the tombs He has bestowed life. On this day Orthodox Christians celebrate the life-giving Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is the most significant in the life of the Church, as it marks the defeat of death and not even death itself could hold captive our Lord. The victory for all of us came through came through the Cross and Christ breaking the bondage of sin and through faith offers us eternal life.
Happy Easter and blessings to everyone!