At St. Matthew’s Orthodox Church, Baton Rouge

Greetings in the final hours of Good Friday. Lots of churchgoing today. Above, a photo I took of the Gospel Book atop the epitaphios (a special icon depicting Christ’s body being prepared for burial). The epitaphios is carried from the altar out into the congregation, and laid on a table, as if it were Christ’s body. The Gospel Book (the collection of the four Gospels, which we use in liturgical services) is then laid atop it. As the service of Good Friday ends, each member of the congregation comes forward, prostrates several times, kisses the epitaphios and the Gospel book, and leaves a rose in memory of Christ. (It can be slightly different in different congregations, but this is how we do it in ours.)

Tonight we sang the matins of Holy Saturday for nearly three hours. Lots more prayers in church tomorrow, before the Paschal liturgy begins at 1 am. I’m going to be quiet on this blog until Pascha. I wish you all a peaceful weekend, and a holy one for fellow Christians celebrating Pascha, as well as a holy one to our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrating Pesach (Passover) through Tuesday.