On this day, Holy and Great Friday, we celebrate the awesome, holy, and saving Passion of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ—the spitting, the blows with the palm of the hand, the buffeting, the mockery, the reviling, the wearing of the purple robe, the reed, the sponge, the vinegar, the nailing, the lance, and above all, the Crucifixion and Death which He condescended to endure willingly for our sakes and also the saving confession of the grateful thief upon the cross.
About the majesty of Christ the Victor
St Nikolaj (Velimirović), Bishop of Ochrid
“The hair of His head was as white wool or as snow and His eyes were like a fiery flame”(Revelation 1:14).
That is how John the Theologian (the one who gazed upon God) saw Jesus after His resurrection and victory. He saw Him as the Son of Man, clothed in a lengthy garment, girded about with a golden sash, with seven stars in His right hand, and His face “shone like the sun at its brightest” (Revelation 1:16). It was with this kind of power and glory that He appeared, Who on the cross was not radiant and Who seemed to be as the weakest of the sons of men to all the passersby. Why were His hairs like white wool and white as snow? Was not our Lord barely thirty-four years old when they killed Him? From where, then, His white hair? Does not white hair indicate old age? It is true that white hair does indicate old age with mortal man, but with Christ in Glory it indicated more than old age; it indicated eternity. Eternal youthful age! Old age is the past and youth is the future. At the same time, is He not the one and the other? More than all the times past and all future times and even beyond time, Christ is eternity beyond time. Why were His eyes like a flame of fire? Because He is the All-seeing. All sorts of things can be hidden from the sun, but of all that is in the heavens, on the earth or under the earth, nothing can be hidden from His sight. He perceives all the threads of the fabric of nature; He perceives all the atoms in the stones, every drop of water in the sea, every particle of air and all thoughts and all desires of every created soul. This is the One and the same and no other; He who out of compassion for the human race came to earth, clothed Himself in a mortal and suffering body, was ridiculed, was mocked and was spat upon by sinful men. That is the same One, and no other, Who, without radiance, hung on the cross between thieves and, as a dead man, was buried by Joseph and Nicodemus.
O brethren, how awesome it is to think what a great and majestic Visitor the earth had! It is even more awesome to think against Whom the deranged men raised their hands!
O Majestic Lord, forgive us our sins and remember us all in Your Power and Glory.
To You all glory and thanks always. Amen.
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/March22.htmEven in His pain on the cross, the Lord Jesus did not condemn sinners but offered pardon to His Father for their sins saying, “They know not what they do!” (St. Luke 23:34). Let us not judge anyone so that we will not be judged. For no one is certain that before his death he will not commit the same sin by which he condemns his brother. Saint Anastasius of Sinai teaches, “Even if you see someone sinning, do not judge him for you do not know what the end of his life will be like. The thief, crucified with Christ, entered Paradise and the Apostle Judas went to Hell. Even if you see someone sinning, bear in mind that you do not know his good works. For many have sinned openly and repented in secret; we see their sins, but we do not know their repentance. That is why, brethren, let us not judge anyone so that we will not be judged.”
About the fulfillment of the great prophecy, Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
Herod and Pilate became friends that very day… Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
About Pilate’s wavering, Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
Christ on Golgotha! Seven sorts of criminal surround Him. Saint Nikolai Velimirovitch
Antiphon One; (Tone VIII):
The rulers of the people took counsel together ** against the Lord and against His Christ?
They laid a lawless accusation against Me. ** O Lord, O Lord, forsake Me not.
Let us bring to Christ pure senses and affections, * and as His friends let us sacrifice our lives for His sake. * Let us not, choke upon the cares of this life, * as did Judas, * but from within let us cry: * Our Father who art in the heavens, ** deliver us from the evil one.
Antiphon Three; (Tone II):
‘Watch and pray, * that ye enter not into temptation’, * thus didst Thou say unto Thy disciples O our God. ** But Judas the transgressor had no desire to comprehend this.
Antiphon Eight; (Tone II):
‘Let Him be crucified!’ cried the murderers of the righteous One, * they who had always taken pleasure in Thy gifts; * asking for the release of an evildoer in place of their Benefactor. * But Thou, O Christ, didst remain silent, enduring their wicked impudence, * wishing to suffer and thereby save us * in that Thou art the Lover of mankind.
Antiphon Fifteen; (Tone VI):
Today He who suspended the earth upon the waters is hung upon the Cross. * He who is the King of the angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns. * He who wrapeth the heaven in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery. * He who in Jordan set Adam free receiveth 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. * We venerate, Thy Passion, O Christ. * We venerate, Thy Passion, O Christ. ** Show us also Thy glorious Resurrection.
Let us not keep festival as did the Jews: * for Christ our God and Pascha hath been sacrificed for us. * But let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement, * and with sincerity let us entreat Him: * Arise, O Lord, ** and save us O Lover of mankind.
Give me this stranger…
This hymn is a lament chanted from the perspective of Joseph of Arimathea, pleading with Pontius Pilate for the Body of Jesus. It is one of the most beautiful hymns of the Holy Week
Give me this stranger
Plagal of First Tone
“Seeing that the sun had hidden its rays
and the veil of the Temple had been rent at the death of the Saviour
Joseph did approach Pilate and did plead with him crying and saying:
Give me this stranger, who from his youth hath wandered like a stranger.
Give me this stranger, whom his kinsmen killed in hatred like a stranger.
Give me this stranger at whom I wonder, beholding him as a guest of death.
Give me this stranger who knoweth how to take in the poor and strangers.
Give me this stranger whom the Jews in envy estranged from the world.
Give me this stranger that I may bury him in a tomb, who being a stranger hath no place whereon to lay his head.
Give me this stranger, to whom his Mother, beholding him dead, shouted crying:
‘O my Son and my God, even though my vitals be wounded, and my heart burns, as I behold thee dead, yet trusting in thy Resurrection, I magnify thee’
facing down Pilate with these words the noble one took the Saviour’s body
and in fear wrapped it in linen and sweet spices
and laid in a new tomb Him who bestows on all eternal life and great mercy”.
Wherefore, O Christ our God, through Thy boundless compassion for our sakes, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.