One of the most moving services of Passion Week is the matins service of Holy Friday, during which there are twelve readings from the four Gospels concerning our Lord’s salvific Passion. As is traditional, there was a ringing of a large bell at the end of each Gospel reading, according to the number of the reading. At the end of the twelfth reading there was a light trezvon, symbolizing that the Lord’s salvific feat on the Cross was finished.
Interspersed throughout the service, the readings were accompanied by the chanting of many hymns, sung very beautifully by the monastery/seminary choir. As the faithful along with the clergy held lit candles, the service revealed the mystery of the Lord’s immense love for His people, emphasizing what He did for us on the Cross, in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
One of the most moving hymns sung in this service is that of the “Repentant Thief.” According to the Holy Fathers, this thief’s repentance and his acknowledgement of the Saviour represents each and everyone of us, what we should strive for.
At the end of the service, many of those attending took home fire from their candles, lit during the service, to bless their homes with this grace-filled light.