Greek Orthodox Good Friday Religious Service Overview

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Holy Friday is a day that allows the Orthodox Christian to think on the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is the beginning of salvation in which Jesus took on the sins of the world. The Matins begins the process of Holy Friday on Thursday evening, and it is ended with the Vespers on Friday afternoon in which a time is represented that commemorates Jesus being removed from the cross.

Holy Friday is also called Good Friday in some Christian circles due to its representation of the beginning of salvation. It is important to understand the significance of it and customs surrounding it by reading below.

About the Holy Friday Service

All of the sufferings of Jesus are thought about on Holy Friday, including his crown of thorns, mockery, nails, dehydration and ultimately, crucifixion. Jesus revealed the truth of sin by dying on the cross.

Jesus took away sin by his death on the cross and by paying for our sins. It represents the movement to true life in Christ. Christians grieve the death of Christ but have hope to His resurrection.

There is no grand assembly held on Holy Friday as the death of Christ is thought about in a reverent silence. There are Scriptures read, hymns recited or sung and visuals represented the death. The icon is actually called “The Extreme Humility” and shows Christ on the cross upright in the tomb.

Holy Friday Services Overview

The Matins service on Thursday evenings is focused on Scripture readings that encompass the Last Supper to the burial of Christ. A procession then begins in which Christians kneel before the cross to confess their sins. The Crucifix is then kissed in reverence.

The Vespers, as aforementioned, are the ending of Holy Friday. The Vespers occur on Friday evening after the Royal Hours in which there are prayers, hymns and Scripture readings. The Vespers continue the Royal Hours in which mourning occurs about the burial of Jesus Christ in the tomb.

Ending of the Holy Friday Service

All of the celebrations and services of Holy Friday are truly a beautiful reminder of what Orthodox Christians believe Jesus Christ did for them. Sin was defeated and shown once and for all on the cross. It is important that Orthodox Christians are able to grieve the death of Christ while looking forward to His resurrection.

Hymns and Prayers Associated with Holy Friday

There are many hymns and prayers associated with Holy Friday, and some are read during the services aforementioned. The Fifteenth Antiphon of the Matins it the first that discusses Christ being on the cross and suffering for us. The second is the Exaspostelarion in which Christians pray for salvation just as the thief on the cross next to Jesus was saved.

Here are the lyrics to the hymns that are sung or chanted on Holy Friday:

Fifteenth Antiphon of the Matins (Plagal of the Second Tone)

Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the Cross. He who is King of the angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns. He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery. He who in Jordan set Adam free receives blows upon His face. The Bridegroom of the Church is transfixed with nails. The Son of the Virgin is pierced with a spear. We venerate Thy Passion, O Christ. Show us also Thy glorious Resurrection.


On the same day, O Lord, You granted the Robber Paradise. Now by the wood of the Cross, illumine me and save me.


Holy Friday

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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