Saturday, March 10, 2018

Passion Week in the Maronite Tradition

(Radiate His Light) - Passion week (or Holy Week as it is known in the West) is fast approaching and begins with Hosanna Sunday on March 25.

"As joyful as Hosanna Sunday is, the days of Passion Week are more important. The first three days of Passion Week are marked by the celebration of the Service of “Coming to the Harbor” (Monday and Tuesday), and the “Service of the Rite of the Lamp” (Wednesday).

The three principal days of Passion Week are: Thursday of the Mysteries, Great Friday of the Crucifixion, and Great Saturday of the Light.

On Thursday of Mysteries, the whole Church commemorates the Institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Lord’s Supper with the Apostles. In focusing on the ritual of the Washing of the Feet, the Maronite Church emphasizes clearly the legacy of love and service that is at the heart of the meaning of the Eucharist, as well as the sacrifice of love on Calvary, with its forgiveness of sins, sacramentally re-enacted in each celebration of the Divine Service.

On Great Friday, the first of the two main services is the Anaphora of the Signing of the Chalice. This is one of the most ancient liturgies of the entire Church, and some form of it is prayed by all the Churches , East and West. The focus is on redeeming Blood of Christ, and His Body is broken for us.

The second service of the day is a Service of the Word: the ritual of the Burial of the Lord. Literal to the Gospel story of the Passion and dramatic, it invites us to be buried with the Lord, to be forgiven and rise with him.

On Great Saturday of the Light, the Divine Liturgy is not permitted during the day. It is a quiet day that invites us to end our Lenten Fast in a spirit of anticipation for the Grandest Feast, the Resurrection. The “Service of Forgiveness” is prayed near noontime. In this communal penance service, we are reminded that we are to be buried with Christ if we are to rise with him.

Excerpts taken from ‘Captivated by Your Teachings’ by Rev Anthony J. Salim, this book can be ordered on Amazon.

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