Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
Archpriest Steven C. Kostoff
4285 Ashland Ave, Cincinnati OH 45212 - (513) 351-0907

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Great and Holy Passion Week of the Lord (with Service Schedule)


2019 Holy Week Schedule

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Icon - 'Extreme Humility'
Icon - 'Extreme Humility'
Icon - 'Extreme Humility'
Journey through Passion Week

The Agony in the Garden
The Agony in the Garden
The Agony in the Garden




- Our Commitment to Holy Week
    by Fr. Steven Kostoff

- The Eschatological Nature of Holy Week
    by Archpriest Alexander Schmemann

- Bearing the Fruits of the Spirit
    by Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow
- Pastoral Advice for Holy Week
    by Archpriest John Moses

- We Are Entering Difficult Days
    Met. Anthony Bloom, Archpriest Victor Potapov

- Betrayal Then and Now
    Archpriest Alexander Iliashenko

- Meditations by Fr. Steven Kostoff for Holy Week

Scroll down for more articles, videos and helps for our journey through the Lord's Passion Week . . .


Holy Week Service Books

Order from SVS Press!
Order from SVS Press!
Service booklets for all of the Holy Week services are available through SVS Press. These books do not only allow you to follow the unfolding of the service, but also to prepare by studying the texts of the services ahead of time.  Each booklet is a convenient 4" x 6" with a paper cover. The available booklets are the following:

Feast of Palms - (The Services of Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday) - $5.00
The Bridegroom Services of Holy Week - (Held Sun. Mon. and Tues. evenings of Holy Week) - $6.00
Matins of Holy Friday - (The Service of the 12 Passion Gospels, held Holy Thursday evening in anticipation) - $7.00
Vespers of Holy Friday - (The Taking Down from the Cross) - $4.00
Matins of Holy Saturday - (with the Lamentations at the Tomb, held Holy Friday evening in anticipation) - $7.00
Great and Holy Saturday - (Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, with the 15 OT Readings) - $6.00
Paschal Service - (Nocturne, Paschal Procession, Matins, & the Divine Liturgy) - $5.00
Vespers of Pascha - (The beautiful service of Agape Vespers, with the Gospel read in many languages) - $3.00


SVS Press also offers a package of 10 Service Books (including the above) for Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha for $42, a discount of $8 off the retail price.



Holy Week-Pascha Service Book - back in print, with a new English translation.

A complete Holy Week and Easter service book, with the original Greek on one page and a new modern English translation on the opposing page. Paragraph formatting corresponds in both languages, making it easy to follow the services in either language. Hardcover, 5x8 inches, sewn binding. Body text in black and narratives in red.


$22.95 - from Ancient Faith.


* This is not the translation we use at our parish, but still, this is a convenient and beloved Holy Week-Pascha book, and is an excellent resource for the Orthodox home.



Fr Thomas Hopko ~ New Reflections on Holy Week

 Ancient Faith Radio:

Six Holy Week reflections by Fr. Thomas Hopko


Now available on Ancient Faith Radio are six reflections by Father Thomas Hopko (of beloved memory) on the first three days of Holy Week. The podcast episodes are brand new to the internet radio station and offer a perfect way to prepare for the celebration of the Church’s services prior to Pascha.

The reflections may be accessed here.

In these six reflections Father Thomas, Dean Emeritus of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY, widely known author and lecturer who spoke at our Lenten Retreat in 2010, examines the significance of the Scripture readings and verses that are the focus of Holy Week.

Three additional podcasts by Father Thomas are available on Ancient Faith Radio, each containing numerous episodes on Christian belief and behavior: Speaking the Truth in Love, Worship in Spirit and Truth, and The Names of Jesus. His reflections on Holy Week are part of the podcast “Speaking the Truth in Love.”


Journey Through Holy Week

The Mystical Supper (Vatopedi Monastery, Mt Athos, 1312 A.D.)
The Mystical Supper (Vatopedi Monastery, Mt Athos, 1312 A.D.)
The Mystical Supper (Vatopedi Monastery, Mt Athos, 1312 A.D.)
This series of chapters from

The Orthodox Faith catechetical series by Fr. Thomas Hopko,  walks us through the great and saving events of the Passion Week of the Lord Jesus Christ, highlighting each day's importance in our journey to Golgotha and the Empty Tomb. The divine services of the Orthodox Church, the special hymns, the scripture passages, the commemorations, and the major themes of each day, are brought out in brief yet rich articles conveying the powerful and saving mystery of our Lord's sufferings, crucifixion and resurrection.

Lazarus Saturday/Palm Sunday: Lazarus Saturday is a paschal celebration. It is the only time in the entire Church Year that the resurrectional service of Sunday is celebrated on another day. Continue reading...

Holy Week: In the Orthodox Church the last week of Christ's life is officially called Passion Week. In popular terminology it is called Holy Week. Each day is designated in the service books as "great and holy." There are special services every day of the week which are fulfilled in all churches. Earthly life ceases for the faithful as they "go up with the Lord to Jerusalem" (Matins of Great and Holy Monday). Continue reading...


Holy Thursday: The vigil on the eve of Holy Thursday is dedicated exclusively to the Passover Supper which Christ celebrated with his twelve apostles. The main theme of the day is the meal itself at which Christ commanded that the Passover of the New Covenant be eaten in remembrance of himself, of his body broken and his blood shed for the remission of sins. In addition, Judas' betrayal and Christ's washing of his disciples feet is also central to the liturgical commemoration of the day. Continue reading...


Holy Friday: Matins of Holy Friday are generally celebrated on Thursday night. The main feature of this service is the reading of twelve selections from the Gospels, all of which are accounts of the passion of Christ. Continue reading...


Holy Saturday: The first service belonging to Holy Saturday -- called in the Church the Blessed Sabbath -- is the Vespers of Good Friday. It is usually celebrated in the mid-afternoon to commemorate the burial of Jesus. Before the service begins, a "tomb" is erected in the middle of the church building and is decorated with flowers. Also a special icon which is painted on cloth (in Greek, epitaphios; in Slavonic, plaschanitsa) depicting the dead Saviour is placed on the altar table. In English this icon is often called the winding-sheet. Continue reading...


Holy Pascha: A little before midnight on the Blessed Sabbath the Nocturne service is chanted. The celebrant goes to the tomb and removes the winding-sheet. He carries it through the royal doors and places it on the altar table where it remains for forty days until the day of Ascension. At midnight the Easter procession begins. The people leave the church building singing: The angels in heaven, 0 Christ our Savior, sing of Thy resurrection. Make us on earth also worthy to hymn Thee with a pure heart. Continue reading...


Images of Holy Week . . .

We hope you enjoy these images from our Divine Services of Passion Week from recent years. More photos can be seen on our Photo Gallery.



Timing the Passion and Holy Week

This brief article is helpful in understanding the unfolding of events in Holy Week and how the four Gospels narrate these events each in a unique manner. Posted with permission of the author.



Anton C. Vrame, Ph.D., Director
Department of Religious Education
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

As we begin Holy Week, many questions arise about the timing of events. Many of us try to make a direct connection between a particular church service and an event in the Passion narrative. This is not very easy given that readings overlap and the Gospels themselves are not as precise as we would like. For example, the Gospel readings of Holy Thursday morning (the Vesperal liturgy), the Orthros of Holy Friday (Holy Thursday evening), the Vespers of Holy Friday (the Apokathelosis) overlap considerably.

The core of the four Gospels is the story of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. In fact, these elements comprise the longest sections of the Gospels. However, the Gospels only provide clues to understanding the timing of the events of this week. Ancient Christians, especially those who knew the Jewish community, would have more easily understood the references.

  Continue reading the full article in printable PDF format,


The Lord calls us to Watchfulness



The Lord calls us to Watchfulness

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. Watch therefore (Mt 24:42; Lk 17:26, 27, 30; Mt 25:13).
In our time more than ever one needs to remember this warning, for today there are especially many who slumber and sleep. Spiritual sleep is not like physical sleep, which strengthens the organism; to the contrary, this is an unhealthy sleep, a sick lethargy, in which people pursue vanity while thinking they are living a real life, forgetting about the soul, about God, about the future Eternal Life. In order more deeply to impress in us the feeling of danger, the necessity of wakefulness, and to awaken our conscience from spiritual drowsiness, the Lord tells the parable of the ten virgins...

Read the full sermon by Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov).

The Eschatological Nature of Holy Week


by Fr. Alexander Schmemann (†1983)


...Do we understand that when the world rejected its Savior, when "Jesus began to be sorrowful and very heavy... and his soul was exceedingly sorrowful even unto death," when He died on the Cross, "normal life" came to its end and is no longer possible. For there were "normal" men who shouted "Crucify Him [" who spat at Him and nailed Him to the Cross. And they hated and killed Him precisely because He was troubling their normal life. It was indeed a perfectly "normal" world which preferred darkness and death to light and life.... By the death of Jesus the "normal" world, and "normal" life were irrevocably condemned. Or rather they revealed their true and abnormal inability to receive the Light, the terrible power of evil in them.


"Now is the Judgment of this world" (John 12:31). The Pascha of Jesus signified its end to "this world" and it has been at its end since then. This end can last for hundreds of centuries this does not alter the nature of time in which we live as the "last time." "The fashion of this world passeth away..." (I Cor. 7:31)...

Read the full article with many more insights...


Quick Links for More Holy Week Resources



Archbishop Job chants the 15th Antiphon from Matins of Holy Friday

The Bridegroom Matins

The Wise and Foolish Virgins
The Wise and Foolish Virgins
The Wise and Foolish Virgins


Synaxarion For Holy and Great Tuesday

By Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos


On Holy and Great Tuesday, we commemorate the Parable of the Ten Virgins in the Holy Gospel.

Great Tuesday bringeth us ten virgins,
Who win a victory from the impartial Master.



As our Lord Jesus Christ was going up to Jerusalem to endure His suffering, He told such parables as this to His Disciples, while addressing others to the Jews. He related the Parable of the Ten Virgins in order to encourage almsgiving, teaching, at the same time, that we should all be ready before our end. For since He had expounded much to them about virginity and eunuchs, and since virginity has great glory (for it is truly a great thing), in order that one who has accomplished this virtue might not neglect the others, and especially that of almsgiving, which causes the lamp of virginity to resplend, the Holy Gospel introduces this Parable of the Ten Virgins.  Read the full entry...


Then There Will Be No More Waiting...

"Now, five were wise, but five were foolish..."
"Now, five were wise, but five were foolish..."

Then the Kingdom will not be like a seed…

Behold, the Bridegroom cometh in the middle of the night, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching, but unworthy is he whom He shall find in slothfulness. Beware, therefore, O my soul, and be not overcome by sleep; lest thou be given over to death, and shut out from the kingdom. But return to soberness and cry aloud: Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O God; through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.

From St Nikolaj Velimirovich:

“The kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish” (Matt. 25:1-2). Then! Then the Kingdom of Heaven will not be like a seed which the Sower plants and the seed grows and brings fruit. Then there will be no time to plant nor to wait. Nor will the Kingdom of Heaven then be like leaven which is placed in dough and we wait for it all to become leavened. Then there will be no waiting. Nor will the Kingdom of Heaven be like a pearl which the merchant seeks. Then there will be no seeking nor waiting to find.  Nor will the kingdom of Heaven be like a dragnet that is cast into the sea for the gathering of some of every kind. For there, too, is waiting. But then there will be no waiting. For, “then the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the power of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven…and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24).

The Kingdom of Heaven can no longer be as it was in other parables and comparisons but will be like the ten virgins who fall asleep until they are awakened in the middle of the night with the cry: “Behold, the bridegroom comes!” Sleep here is understood as death. As the number ten here symbolizes the fullness of numbers, with the ten sleeping virgins we can understand all the deceased before the coming of the Judge. All will awake, therefore, both the wise and the foolish. For the cry will be great and frightening: “Behold the Bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him”! Truly there has not been a more frightening thunder and crash than the echo of the trumpet of the Angels! The earth will shake from that thundering and crash and cry and echo, the sea will toss to and fro, all of man’s buildings will crush to dust and ashes. But this crashing and thundering will not be for the sake of confusing nature and for the destruction of man’s and God’s deeds – no, that is incidental and secondary – but the goal of that thundering and crashing will be to awaken the dead in the tombs.


Holy Week in Icons

The Raising of Lazarus

Journey through the Passion Week through Icons of the Lord

From the Raising of Lazarus and the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, to the Washing of the Disciples Feet, the Last Supper, and the Crucifixion and Entombment, the iconographic treasury of the Church — if we will approach it with eyes to see — takes us out of this world and mystically unites us with our Lord Jesus Christ in His dramatic acts to save mankind.

(36 images)

The Raising of Lazarus
The Mystical Supper, Vatopaidi Monastery, Mt Athos
The Mystical Supper
The Mystical Supper
Crucifixion, Detail
Between Two Thieves
Icon from St Catherine's Monastery, Mt Sinai
The Crucifixion
The Crucifixion
The Crucifixion, St Theophan the Cretan
The Crucifixion
The Crucifixion, Palekh School, Russia
The Crucifixion with the Four Evangelists
The Crucifixion
Taking Down from the Cross
Taking Down from the Cross, Palekh School, Russia
Detail, Lamentations
'Do not lament Me O Mother...'
Lamentations, Palekh School, Russia
The Lord of Glory
Holy Week Fresco
The Agony in the Garden
The Prayer in the Garden
Icon of the Prison Ministry
Christ Imprisoned
Communion of the Apostles
Behold the Bridegroom...
Betryaed by a Kiss
'Do not lament Me, O Mother'
The Washing of the Feet, Russian
The Washing of the Feet, Greek
The Washing of the Feet, Russian