It always suprised me that one of the most popular Fungible Convictions posts in the last year was about Orthodox Holy Friday—our Good Friday. While other posts would get a spike in visitors, without fail every day someone found Fungible Convictions by searching for information on Good Friday and the passages used in the evening service.
It’s a year later, and tonight was our Holy Friday “Lamentations” service at my church, St. Mary’s in Cambridge, MA. I figured I’d use tonight as an opportunity for Orthodox P.R., since still not many folks know much about it.
The video above shows, grainily, our funeral procession down Massachusetts Ave. tonight. At the front is a flower-covered bier representing a coffin, and halfway through the video you’ll see that we meet up with our brothers and sisters from Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, also near Central Square, Cambridge. I tried my best to get a few shots of strangers’ reactions: last year we turned more people on to Orthodox Christianity in fifteen minutes than the church had in fifteen years; this year, we were a more familiar sight, which altogether is a good thing, even though we snarled traffic for half an hour.
Tomorrow I’ll try to post a video, and some pictures, of the Saturday morning service, widely regarded at the most beautiful service in Orthodoxy, more beautiful than any service I’ve ever seen, and that includes Jesuit Kairos Masses and a couple Moravian Lovefeasts.
But for now, like last year, I’ll leave off with some Holy Friday poetry, used in tonight’s service. . . .
From the first stasis, sung by all during Lamentations:
Who will give me water, for the tears I must weep. So the maiden wed to God cried with loud lament, that for my sweet Jesus I may rightly mourn.
Lo, how fair his beauty! Never man was so fair; but how strangely now has death changed that face we knew, though all nature all her beauty to him owes.
From the second stasis:
That I may renew man’s lost nature now from beauty fallen, gladly in my flesh I take death on me: wherefore, mother, slay me not with bitter tears.
Ah, those eyes so sweet and thy lips, O Word, how shall I close them? How shall I the dues of death to thee pay? So cried Joseph as he shook with holy fear.
You can download the text of the whole service as a Word doc here.