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Palm Sunday

We celebrate Jesus’ Entrance into Jerusalem

Holy Monday

We attend the service of the Bridegroom as we hear about and remember the parable of the Ten Virgins and the parable of the Talents

Holy Tuesday

We attend the service of the Bridegroom and remember the sinful woman who anointed Christ’s feet with expensive myrrh

Holy Wednesday

We are anointed with holy oil during the service of Holy Unction for the healing of body and soul as well as for the forgiveness of sins.  We also remember Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.

Holy Thursday

We commemorate the Mystical Supper, the washing of the disciples’ feet, the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal of Jesus by Judas

Holy Friday

We remember the crucifixion of Christ

Holy Saturday

We remember Jesus’ death and His descent into Hades

Pascha

This is the feast of feasts!  We celebrate Christ’s resurrection and proclaim with great joy, “Christ is Risen!”

Palm Sunday

We begin Holy Week with Palm Sunday which is also called Our Lord’s Entry into Jerusalem.  It is one of the major feast days in the Orthodox Church.

Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it.  And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!”  – Mark 11:7-10

We also remember Joseph the Patriarch today.  He is a “prototype” of Jesus Christ because of the forgiveness he showed to his brothers just as Christ showed for us on the Cross.

Additionally, we remember Christ cursing the fig tree in Matthew 21:18-22.

Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry.  And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.”  Immediately the fig tree withered away.  And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?”  So Jesus answered and said to them, Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to the mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.  And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

 

1.  Palm Sunday Icon:  Using the icon of Palm Sunday, ask your students or children to tell you about the icon.  As you discuss the symbolism, fill in any gaps by telling them more about this icon.  You can learn more about the icon here.

Here is a printable handout explaining the icon of Palm Sunday for younger children.

Acquiring the icon – use the icon from the icon bulletins, buy or show your own personal Palm Sunday icon, do a Google image search for Palm Sunday icons and display the icon on your computer or electronic device

2.  Children’s Bible Reader Online

Children’s Online Bible Reader:  Click on “Jesus Cares for His Disciples” then click on “The entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem” for the audio read aloud version.

3.  Where’s Jerusalem?  Find Jerusalem on a map or globe.

4.  Family & Classroom Project: Major Feast Days Timeline

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5.  Holy Week File Folder Project: Palm Sunday

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As you continue your journey through Lent and enter into Holy Week, create a file folder of knowledge to help you understand more about the services, hymns, Bible readings, traditions, and more!

Materials Needed:

  • One file folder
  • Palm Sunday coloring icon (You can print out a line drawing from the OCA website or from The Annunciation Press coloring book, “Journey to Pascha“)
  • Index cards
  • Line drawing map of Israel  (Do a Google search for “blank map of Israel” and print out whichever one you want to use.  My boys traced the map and labeled it themselves from a map I had in Blackline Maps of World History.)
  • Pencil
  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • Glue or glue sticks

A.  Label your file folder “Palm Sunday”

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B.  Color the icon of Palm Sunday, cut it out, and glue it to the inside, left side of the folder

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C.  Use the index cards to re-enforce any lessons you had with your children.  Glue them onto the right, inside portion of the folder.

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Examples of uses for the index cards:

  • “About the Icon” – summarize the symbolism of the Palm Sunday icon
  • “About the Church Services Today”
  • “Bible Story” – summarize or write a quote about Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem
  •  “Hymn” – write the hymn you learned to sing
  • “A tradition” – write about a Palm Sunday family tradition
  • Draw a picture about Palm Sunday (receiving a palm cross from Father, learning how to fold palm crosses, etc.)

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D.  Map:  Trace and/or color a map of Israel.  Label Jerusalem on the map.  Where was Jesus when he rode into town on a donkey and people were covering the streets with palm branches and clothing?

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Apolytikion: First Tone

O Christ God, when Thou didst raise Lazarus from the dead, before Thy Passion, thou didst confirm the universal resurrection. Wherefore, we, like babes, carry the insignia of triumph and victory, and cry unto Thee, O vanquisher of death, Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the Lord.

Here is an amateur version of myself and my sons singing this hymn a couple of years ago after they learned it. I have my boys memorize the words of the hymn first (one line at a time – sometimes it takes a couple of days) and then we learn the tune afterwards.  I’ve found this helps prevent slurring of words when singing.

Apolytikion: Fourth Tone

As by baptism we were burried with Thee, O Christ our God, so by Thy Resurrection we were deemed worthy of immortal life; and praising Thee, we cry: Hosanna in the highest; blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.

Kontakion: Plagal of the Second Tone

Sitting on Your throne in heaven, carried on a foal on earth, O Christ God. Accept the praise of angels and songs of children who sing: Blessed is He that comes to recall Adam.

Greek audio clip for some Palm Sunday hymns: https://realserver.goarch.org/byzantinemusic/lent/Palm_Sunday.mp3

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1.  Attend vespers Saturday night (which is in celebration of Palm Sunday)

2.  Attend Divine Liturgy Sunday morning

3. Attend the Bridegroom service Sunday evening

 

1.  Making Palm Crosses:

Many parishes will offer the opportunity to help fold palm crosses before Palm Sunday.  If you’ve never done it before, here is a tutorial on how to fold palm crosses.  You can also find someone who has done it for years and ask them to teach you.

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2.  Bringing Home Your Blessed Palm Cross:

Each year, we bring home our new palm crosses and place them on our family altar.  Our family then respectfully burns our palm crosses from the previous year.

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1.  Pascha Passports

2.  Bible

3.  The Services for Holy Week and Easter

4.  Journey Through Holy Week Zine

5.  Guide to Great Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

6.  Holy Week by Fr. Alexander Schmemann

7.  Journey to Pascha Unit from the OCA Department of Christian Education

8.  Holy Week Resources from the GOA Center for Family Care

9.  The Lenten Covenant: A Devotional Commentary on the Triodion of the Orthodox Church by Fr. Leonidas Contos

Holy Monday

On Holy Monday, we attend the Service of the Bridegroom.  We remember two stories – the parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) and the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30).

Parable of the Ten Virgins:

Then 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.  Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.  “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!  Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.  “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!  But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’  “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

and

Parable of the Talents:

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.  And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.  Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.  And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.  But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.  After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.  So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’  His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord.’  He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’  His lord said to him.  ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord.’  Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground.  Look, there you have what is yours.’  “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.  So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.  For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.  And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness.  There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

 

1.  Learn about the Bridegroom of Christ iconChrist is called the bridegroom because He is willing to give everything to his bride – the Church (all of us) – even His own life.  The icon depicts Jesus’ wounds inflicted by the soldiers and a reed given to Him to make fun of Him as the “King of the Jews”.

2.  Holy Week File Folder Project: Holy Monday & Holy Tuesday

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As you continue your journey through Lent and enter into Holy Week, create a file folder of knowledge to help you understand more about the services, hymns, Bible readings, traditions, and more!

Materials Needed:

  • One file folder
  • Bridegroom coloring page from The Annunciation Press coloring book, “Journey to Pascha“ or print out the coloring sheet from the OCA website of the woman anointing Christ’s feet
  • Index cards
  • Pencil
  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • Glue or glue sticks
  • Scissors

A.  Label your file folder “Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday”

B.  Color the icon, cut it out, and glue it to the inside, left side of the folder

C.  Use the index cards to re-enforce any lessons you had with your children.  Glue them onto the right, inside portion of the folder.

  • “About the Icon” – summarize the symbolism of the Bridegroom icon
  • “About the Bridegroom Service”
  • “Bible Story” – summarize or write a quote about the parable of the Ten Virgins or the parable of the Talents
  •  “Hymn” – write the hymn you learned and sang

 

*I print out the hymn in large print for my kids.  They memorize the hymn then we work on learning the tune.

Troparion
Behold, the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night, and blessed is that servant who He shall find watching; and again unworthy is he whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, lest thou be borne down with sleep, lest thou be given over unto death, and lest thou be shut out from the Kingdom.  Wherefore, arise thyself and cry: Holy, Holy art Thou, O our God, through the intercessions of the Theotokos, Savior save us.

Exapostelarion
Thy bridal chamber, O my Saviour, do I behold all adorned, and a garment I have not that I may enter therein. Illumine the garment of my soul, O Giver of Light, and save me.

Listen, follow along, and learn the hymns via the audio clips here: http://lent.goarch.org/bridegroom_services/listen/

Additional audio clips to help you teach your children hymns during Holy Week can be found here: http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/family/files/lent/holyweek

There is a service every evening during Holy Week.  Check your local parish’s schedule to see if there are any additional services during the day.

Attend the Bridegroom service tonight

 

 

1.  Pascha Passports

2.  Bible

3.  The Services for Holy Week and Easter

4.  Journey Through Holy Week Zine

5.  Guide to Great Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

6.  Holy Week by Fr. Alexander Schmemann

7.  Journey to Pascha Unit from the OCA Department of Christian Education

8.  Holy Week Resources from the GOA Center for Family Care

9.  The Lenten Covenant: A Devotional Commentary on the Triodion of the Orthodox Church by Fr. Leonidas Contos

 

Holy Tuesday

On Holy Tuesday we attend the Service of the Bridegroom.  We remember the story of the forgiveness of the sinful woman who anoints Jesus’ feet.  (Luke 7:36-49)

Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him.  And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat.  And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.  Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”  And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”  So he said, “Teacher, say it.”  “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors.  One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both.  Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”  Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”  And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”  Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman?  I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her head.  You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.  You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.  Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.  But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”  Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”  And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”  Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you.  Go in peace.”

 

1.  Learn about the Bridegroom of Christ icon

2.  Holy Week File Folder Project: Holy Monday & Holy Tuesday

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As you continue your journey through Lent and enter into Holy Week, create a file folder of knowledge to help you understand more about the services, hymns, Bible readings, traditions, and more!

Materials Needed:

  • One file folder
  • Bridegroom coloring page from The Annunciation Press coloring book, “Journey to Pascha“ or print out the coloring sheet from the OCA website of the woman anointing Christ’s feet
  • Index cards
  • Pencil
  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • Glue or glue sticks
  • Scissors

A.  Label your file folder “Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday”

B.  Color the icon, cut it out, and glue it to the inside, left side of the folder

C.  Use the index cards to re-enforce any lessons you had with your children.  Glue them onto the right, inside portion of the folder.

  • “About the Icon” – summarize the symbolism of the Bridegroom icon
  • “About the Bridegroom Service”
  • “Bible Story” – summarize or write a quote about the parable of the Ten Virgins or the parable of the Talents
  •  “Hymn” – write the hymn you learned and sang

*I print out the hymn in large print for my kids.  They memorize the hymn then we work on learning the tune.

Troparion
Behold, the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night, and blessed is that servant who He shall find watching; and again unworthy is he whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, lest thou be borne down with sleep, lest thou be given over unto death, and lest thou be shut out from the Kingdom.  Wherefore, arise thyself and cry: Holy, Holy art Thou, O our God, through the intercessions of the Theotokos, Savior save us.

Exapostelarion
Thy bridal chamber, O my Saviour, do I behold all adorned, and a garment I have not that I may enter therein. Illumine the garment of my soul, O Giver of Light, and save me.

Listen, follow along, and learn the hymns via the audio clips here: http://lent.goarch.org/bridegroom_services/listen/

Additional audio clips to help you teach your children hymns during Holy Week can be found here: http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/family/files/lent/holyweek

There is a service every evening during Holy Week.  Check your local parish’s schedule to see if there are any additional services during the day.

Attend the Bridegroom service tonight

 

 

1.  Pascha Passports

2.  Bible

3.  The Services for Holy Week and Easter

4.  Journey Through Holy Week Zine

5.  Guide to Great Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

6.  Holy Week by Fr. Alexander Schmemann

7.  Journey to Pascha Unit from the OCA Department of Christian Education

8.  Holy Week Resources from the GOA Center for Family Care

9.  The Lenten Covenant: A Devotional Commentary on the Triodion of the Orthodox Church by Fr. Leonidas Contos

 

Holy Wednesday

We receive the sacrament of Holy Unction for the healing of body and soul.  James 5:14-16 records the use of anointing with blessed oil.

Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

 

1.  Holy Week File Folder Project: Holy Wednesday

As you continue your journey through Lent and enter into Holy Week, create a file folder of knowledge to help you understand more about the services, hymns, Bible readings, traditions, and more!

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Materials Needed:

  • One file folder
  • Holy oil and candles coloring page (download here)
  • Index cards
  • Pencil
  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • Glue or glue sticks
  • Scissors

A.  Label your file folder “Holy Wednesday”

B.  Color the candles and holy oil coloring sheet, cut it out, and glue it to the inside, left side of the folder

C.  Use the index cards to re-enforce any lessons you had with your children.  Glue them onto the right, inside portion of the folder.

  • About Holy Unction
  • Bible Story – summarize or write a quote from James 5:14-16
  • Hymn – write the hymn you learned and sang
  • Draw a picture of yourself being anointed with holy oil by your priest

Troparion (Tone Fourth)
Thou who alone art a speedy succor, O Christ, manifest Thy speedy visitation from on high upon Thy sick servants; deliver them from their infirmities, and cruel pain; and raise them up again to sing praises unto Thee, and without ceasing, to glorify Thee; through the prayers of the Birth-Giver of God, O Thou who alone lovest mankind.

Since you have a fountain of healings, O holy Unmercenaries, you dispense
cures to all in need, for you have been granted very great gifts from the ever-flowing wellspring of Christ our Savior. The Lord says to you who emulate the
zeal of the Apostles, “Behold, I have given you authority over unclean spirits,
so that you might drive them out and cure every disease and illness.” Having truly lived according to His commandments, freely you received and therefore freely you give, healing the ailments of our souls and our bodies.

Look down, most pure Virgin upon the supplications of your servants, and crush the assaults of our enemies, delivering us from all affliction. You are the only sure and secure anchor that we have, and you are our protection. Never permit us who call upon you, our Lady, to be put to shame. Hasten to fulfill the entreaties of those who in faith cry to you: Rejoice, O Lady, helper of all, the joy and protection, and the salvation of our souls.

There is a service every evening during Holy Week.  Check your local parish’s schedule to see if there are any additional services during the day.

On Holy Wednesday we attend the Holy Unction service where we are anointed with holy oil for the healing of body and soul as well as for forgiveness.  Holy Unction is one of the sacraments we receive as Orthodox Christians.

We will hear seven Epistle readings, seven Gospel readings, and also offer up seven prayers all devoted to healing.  The priest then anoints each person with holy oil at the end of the service.

 

1.  Pascha Passports

2.  Bible

3.  The Services for Holy Week and Easter

4.  Journey Through Holy Week Zine

5.  Guide to Great Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

6.  Holy Week by Fr. Alexander Schmemann

7.  Journey to Pascha Unit from the OCA Department of Christian Education

8.  Holy Week Resources from the GOA Center for Family Care

9.  The Lenten Covenant: A Devotional Commentary on the Triodion of the Orthodox Church by Fr. Leonidas Contos

 

Holy Thursday

Today, we commemorate the Mystical Supper where Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist.  This sacrament is at the center of our Orthodox Christian lives.  It is through the Holy Eucharist that Christ offers Himself as both Communion and life.

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”  Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.   – Matthew 26:26-28

We also commemorate the washing of the disciples feet today.

And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.  After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.  Then He came to Simon Peter.  And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”  Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”  Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”  Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”  Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”  Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”  For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”  So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?  You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.  – John 13:2-13

Additionally, we commemorate Jesus’ prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane…

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.”  And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.  Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.  Stay here and watch with Me.”  He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”  Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What!  Could you not watch with Me one hour?  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”  And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.  So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.  Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting?  Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Rise, let us be going.  See, My betrayer is at hand.”  – Matthew 26:36-46  (Also found in Mark 14:32-42 and Luke 22:39-46)

…and remember Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.

And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with great a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.  Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.”  Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.  But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?”  Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.  And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.  But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.  Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?  How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”  In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me?  I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.  But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”  Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.  – Matthew 26:47-56

1.  Children’s Bible Reader Online

Children’s Online Bible Reader:  Click on “Jesus Cares for His Disciples” then click on “Jesus washes the disciples’ feet” for the audio read aloud version.  Next click on “The Passion & Resurrection” then click on “The mystical supper”, “Jesus prays in the garden of Gethsemane”, and “Jesus dies on the cross”.  (There are additional stories you can click on if you have time.)

2.  Read the Story The Miracle of the Red Egg by Elizabeth Crispina Johnson

3.  Pysanky

This is a Ukrainian tradition for decorating eggs.  I’ve done this three times with my kids so far over the years.  While my kids have had a lot of fun with this activity, it’s not for little ones since it involves using a flame to melt hot wax.  Here is a tutorial for learning how to decorate these beautiful eggs and well as purchase supplies.

For younger children (and young at heart), you can read one of our treasured books from our family library, Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco.

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4.  Holy Week File Folder Project: Holy Thursday

As you continue your journey through Lent and enter into Holy Week, create a file folder of knowledge to help you understand more about the services, hymns, Bible readings, traditions, and more!

Materials Needed:

A.  Label your file folder “Holy Thursday”

B.  Color the icon, cut it out, and glue it to the inside, left side of the folder

C.  Use the index cards to re-enforce any lessons you had with your children.  Glue them onto the right, inside portion of the folder.

  • “About the Icon” – summarize the symbolism of the Mystical Supper icon
  • About the Services on Holy Thursday
  • “Bible Story” – summarize or write a quote about the Mystical Supper, Jesus washing the disciples feet, Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, or Judas’ betrayal of Jesus
  •  “Hymn” – write the hymn you learned and sang

Troparion (Plagal Fourth Tone)
When the glorious disciples were enlightened at the washing of their feet before the supper, the impious Judas was darkened by the disease of avarice, and to the lawless judges he betrayed You, the Righteous Judge. Behold, this man because of avarice hanged himself. Flee from the insatiable desire which dared such things against the Master! O Lord Who deals righteously with all, glory to You!

Communion Hymn
Receive me today, Son of God, as a partaker of Your mystical Supper. I will not reveal Your mystery to Your adversaries. Nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas. But as the thief I confess to You: Lord, remember me in Your Kingdom.

There is a service every evening during Holy Week.  Check your local parish’s schedule to see if there are any additional services during the day.

Tonight, we have the reading of the Twelve Gospels.  It takes us on a journey from the Mystical Supper to the Crucifixion.

 

 

1.  Dyeing Eggs for Pascha

Traditionally, eggs are dyed on Thursday.  Some years, I’ve found Thursday come and go without being able to get to the eggs and so in those years I dye eggs on Saturday with my kids.

The traditional color for dyeing eggs is red.  We do this in remembrance of Christ shedding his blood for us on the Cross.  The egg itself symbolizes new life and as we crack it open, we proclaim, “Christ is Risen!” as the tomb has been found opened.

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There is also the story of Saint Mary Magdalene who traveled to see the emperor where she would tell him about Christ’s resurrection.  During the discussion about whether or not Christ truly had risen from the dead or not, the emperor declared that Christ could no more rise from the dead than an egg could turn red. Immediately, the egg turned red before everyone’s eyes.  (Saint Mary Magdalene is commemorated on July 22nd.)

Dyeing Eggs with Yellow Onion Skins:

  • Fill a 6 quart pot full of yellow onion skins (You can save these throughout the year as you use onions.  I store mine in several large mason jars throughout the year – make sure the skins are dry before you store them though.)
  • 9 cups water
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 12-18 room temperature brown eggs  (I used 12 this time around.)

Bring the onion skins, water, and vinegar to a boil.  Push down the onion skins into the water as the water heats up.  Then cover the pot and let simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain the onion skins from the dye.  Make sure to get out as much of the onion skins as possible because they will leave marks on your eggs.

Add room temperature eggs to the dye bath.  (The eggs will tend to crack if you’re placing them directly from the refrigerator into the hot dye bath.)  Bring to a boil, then cover, and remove from heat.  Let sit for 12 minutes then run a trickle of cold water over the eggs in the sink to cool them off.

Remove eggs from water, dry with towel, and then rub with a bit of olive oil to give them a sheen.  Store in refrigerator until Pascha.

1.  Pascha Passports

2.  Bible

3.  The Services for Holy Week and Easter

4.  Journey Through Holy Week Zine

5.  Guide to Great Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

6.  Holy Week by Fr. Alexander Schmemann

7.  Journey to Pascha Unit from the OCA Department of Christian Education

8.  Holy Week Resources from the GOA Center for Family Care

9.  The Lenten Covenant: A Devotional Commentary on the Triodion of the Orthodox Church by Fr. Leonidas Contos

 

Holy Friday

On Holy Friday we remember the Crucifixion of Christ,

Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name.  Him they compelled to bear His cross.  And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink.  But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.  Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet:  “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”  Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there.  And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him:  THIS IS JESUS  THE KING OF THE JEWS.  Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.  And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself!  If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”  Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He save others; Himself He cannot save.  If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.  He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”  Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.  – Matthew 27:32-44

His death,

Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was a darkness over all the land.  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”  Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!”  Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.  The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”  And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.  Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.  So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”  And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.  – Matthew 27:45-56

and His burial.

Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.  This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him.  When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.  And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.  – Matthew 27:57-61

 

1.  Children’s Bible Reader Online

Children’s Online Bible Reader:  Click on “The Passion and Resurrection” then click on “Jesus dies on the cross” for the audio read aloud version.  Next click on “The burial of Jesus”.

2.  Holy Week File Folder Project: Holy Friday

As you continue your journey through Lent and enter into Holy Week, create a file folder of knowledge to help you understand more about the services, hymns, Bible readings, traditions, and more!

Materials Needed:

A.  Label your file folder “Holy Friday”

B.  Color the icon, cut it out, and glue it to the inside, left side of the folder

C.  Use the index cards to re-enforce any lessons you had with your children.  Glue them onto the right, inside portion of the folder.

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.

Listen to the audio clip here

There are three services on Holy Friday – in the morning, afternoon, and evening.  Many people take the day off of work or school in order to attend all of the services today.

In the morning, we have the Service of the Royal Hours where we keep vigil at the foot of the Cross.

In the afternoon, we return for Vespers and witness Christ’s Descent from the Cross – the funeral service for Christ.

In the evening, we return, yet again, for Matins.  It is during this service where we all light candles and process around the outside of the church commemorating Christ’s descent into Hades.

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1.  Spend the Day at Church on Friday

As a kid, my parents took us out of school on Holy Friday to attend all three of the services.  As a parent now myself, my husband (when he can get off work) and I take our kids to all three of the services on Friday also.

*Oftentimes, the parish priest will provide an excuse note for children’s schools in order for them to miss school on Friday and attend the services (and sometimes also a retreat) instead.

2.  Helping to Decorate the Kouvouklion

The kouvouklion is the burial tomb of Christ which is decorated with flowers after the Friday morning service.  The epitaphios is the cloth icon of Christ laid in the kouvouklion.  On Friday evening, the epitaphios is taken around the outside of the church in a procession as everyone follows.

My kids love to help, in any capacity needed, to help decorate the kouvouklion for later in the evening.  We stay after the morning service to help then go home for a short break before the afternoon service.

These are pictures of my kids from two separate years:

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1.  Pascha Passports

2.  Bible

3.  The Services for Holy Week and Easter

4.  Journey Through Holy Week Zine

5.  Guide to Great Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

6.  Holy Week by Fr. Alexander Schmemann

7.  On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ

8.  Journey to Pascha Unit from the OCA Department of Christian Education

9.  Holy Week Resources from the GOA Center for Family Care

10.  The Lenten Covenant: A Devotional Commentary on the Triodion of the Orthodox Church by Fr. Leonidas Contos

 

Holy Saturday

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. – Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Holy Saturday

1.  Holy Week File Folder Project: Holy Saturday

As you continue your journey through Lent and enter into Holy Week, create a file folder of knowledge to help you understand more about the services, hymns, Bible readings, traditions, and more!

Materials Needed:

  • One file folder
  • Icon coloring sheet of the the Burial of Christ from the OCA website or the Burial of Christ from The Annunciation Press coloring book, “Journey to Pascha
  • Index cards
  • Pencil
  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • Glue or glue sticks
  • Scissors

A.  Label your file folder “Holy Saturday”

B.  Color the icon, cut it out, and glue it to the inside, left side of the folder

C.  Use the index cards to re-enforce any lessons you had with your children.  Glue them onto the right, inside portion of the folder.

  • “About the Icon” – summarize the symbolism of the Crucifixion and Burial of Christ
  • About the Service
  • “Bible Story” – summarize or write a quote about the Guards at the Tomb
  •  “Hymn” – write the hymn you learned and sang
  • “Draw a Picture of You Preparing for Resurrection Service Later Tonight”

Resurrectional Apolytikia
When he took down Your immaculate Body from the Cross, the honorable Joseph wrapped it in a clean linen shroud with spices and laid it for burial in a new tomb.

When You descended unto death, O Lord who yourself are immortal Life, then did You mortify Hades by the lightning flash of Your Divinity. Also when You raised the dead from the netherworld, all the Powers of the heavens were crying out: O Giver of life, Christ our God, glory be to You.

The Angel standing at the sepulcher cried out and said to the ointment-bearing
women: The ointments are appropriate for mortal men, but Christ has been shown to be a stranger to decay.

Prokeimenon
Arise, O God; judge the earth, for You shall inherit all the Gentiles.

There is a service every evening during Holy Week.  Check your local parish’s schedule to see if there are any additional services during the day.

We celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great in the morning.  Oftentimes, the priest will toss laurel leaves throughout the church during this service.

 

 

1.  New Outfit for Pascha

My grandmother used to take each one of her grandchildren, one at a time, to the mall on a Saturday during Lent to pick out a new outfit for Pascha.  It was our special day with her as we shopped and ate lunch at the mall together – just her and one of us.

My grandmother passed away many years ago on Palm Sunday.  All of us, her grandchildren, felt it was appropriate to wear our new Pascha outfits to her funeral since one of our treasured memories of her was our one on one time with her during Lent.

Today, we continue our grandmother’s tradition of buying a new church outfit for all of our kids for Pascha.

1.  Pascha Passports

2.  Bible

3.  The Services for Holy Week and Easter

4.  Journey Through Holy Week Zine

5.  Guide to Great Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

6.  Holy Week by Fr. Alexander Schmemann

7.  Journey to Pascha Unit from the OCA Department of Christian Education

8.  Holy Week Resources from the GOA Center for Family Care

9.  The Lenten Covenant: A Devotional Commentary on the Triodion of the Orthodox Church by Fr. Leonidas Contos

 

Pascha

Today, we celebrate the feast of feasts as we rejoice in Christ’s life-giving Resurrection!

Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.  And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.  His countenance was like lightening, and his clothing as white as snow.  And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.  But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is nt here; for He is risen, as He said.  Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him.  Behold, I have told you.”  So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.  – Matthew 28:1-8

1.  Learn “Christ is Risen!” and “Truly He is Risen” in Different Languages

2.  Children’s Bible Reader Online

Children’s Online Bible Reader:  Click on “The Passion and Resurrection” then click on “The Resurrection of Jesus” for the audio read aloud version.

3.  Holy Week File Folder Project: Pascha

As you continue your journey through Lent and enter into Holy Week, create a file folder of knowledge to help you understand more about the services, hymns, Bible readings, traditions, and more!

Materials Needed:

  • One file folder
  • Icon coloring sheet of the Resurrection from the OCA website or Resurrection from The Annunciation Press coloring book, “Journey to Pascha
  • Index cards
  • Pencil
  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • Glue or glue sticks
  • Scissors

A.  Label your file folder “Pascha”

B.  Color the icon, cut it out, and glue it to the inside, left side of the folder

C.  Use the index cards to re-enforce any lessons you had with your children.  Glue them onto the right, inside portion of the folder.

  • “About the Icon” – summarize the symbolism of the Resurrection
  • About the Service
  • “Bible Story” – summarize or write a quote about the Resurrection of Christ
  •  “Hymn” – write the hymn you learned and sang  (In multiple languages, if applicable)
  • “Draw a Picture of You Attending the Paschal Liturgy”

Apolytikion (Plagal of the First Tone)
Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life.

Listen to the audio clip (English & Greek)

YouTube – “Christ is Risen” in Five Different Languages (English, Ukrainian, Greek, Latin, and Slavonic)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We attend the “evening” Paschal Liturgy (oftentimes, at midnight).  This is the feast of feasts and a highly anticipated service.

We return for Agape Vespers on Sunday afternoon where the Gospel reading is read in multiple languages.

As kids, we grew up always going to the Paschal Liturgy at midnight.  We found it exciting and all day we looked forward to staying up late that night!  Sometimes my mom would try to get us to take a nap before Liturgy but I don’t remember ever actually going to sleep because I was too excited.

As a mom now myself, I always bring my kids too.  Most years, my youngest kids will fall asleep and we’ll let them sleep on the pew or in our arms.  We’ll gently rouse them for Holy Communion and they’ll usually stay awake until we get to the van for the ride home.

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1.  Gift or card for Our Godparent(s)

My kids love to remember their godparents on Pascha.  We send them a small gift, a handmade card, or both for this special feast day.

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2.  Gift or card for Our Godchild(ren)

My godchild lives several states away from me.  I like to send him a gift or card for Pascha to let him know I’m thinking about him on this important feast day.  I try to send an Orthodox gift, as his godparent, since my role in his life is to help educate and raise him spiritually as an Orthodox Christian.

3.  Paschal Eggs

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You’ll find many children racing to each other after leaving the church on Pascha.  They don’t have to say a word to one another as they present their uncracked egg to their friend or sibling.  They bang the eggs together as they proclaim, “Christ is Risen!” and respond with “Truly He is Risen!”  The goal is to crack the other person’s egg and not your own.

The red egg symbolizes the blood Christ shed for us on the Cross.  The egg itself symbolizes new life and as we crack it open, we proclaim, “Christ is Risen!”

4.  Paschal Meal

We come together to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior on Sunday.  We’ve been on a long journey for weeks now – fasting, praying, and giving alms.  Now, we break the fast together with a feast.

I’m not one that does much as far as decorating for holidays or feast days but I put forth a little extra effort for Pascha.  First and foremost, we attend the Paschal Liturgy and Agape Vespers together as a family.  Secondly, we all enjoy sitting together at our table to enjoy some of our family’s favorite dishes on Pascha – lamb, red eggs, tsoureki (sweet bread), bacon, as well as other dishes.

Our table is set with a chocolate bunny for each of our kids along with a new Orthodox book on their plate.  If their godparents have sent them a gift for Pascha, then those will be found waiting for them on their chair.  I will also have spring flowers in a vase and a red egg for each person.  Last year, I made pysanky with my kids and we hung them on some fallen branches my boys brought in from the yard.  (This year, we worked on this Holy Week project instead of pysanky.)

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1.  Pascha Passports

2.  Bible

3.  The Services for Holy Week and Easter

4.  Journey Through Holy Week Zine

5.  Guide to Great Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

6.  Holy Week by Fr. Alexander Schmemann

7.  Journey to Pascha Unit from the OCA Department of Christian Education

8.  Holy Week Resources from the GOA Center for Family Care

9.  The Lenten Covenant: A Devotional Commentary on the Triodion of the Orthodox Church by Fr. Leonidas Contos