Week and the Festivals of Easter
before Palm Sunday - Station at Bethany
Now when the seventh week has come, that is, when two weeks, including the
seventh, are left before Easter, everything is done on each day as in the weeks
that ,are past, except that the vigils of the sixth weekday, which were kept in
the Anastasis during the first six weeks, are, in the seventh week, kept in
Sion, and with the same customs that obtained during the six weeks in the
Anastasis. For throughout the whole vigil psalms and antiphons are said
appropriate both to the place and to the day.
And when the morning of the Sabbath begins to dawn, the bishop offers the
oblation. And at the dismissal the archdeacon lifts his voice and says: " Let
us all be ready to-day at the seventh hour in the Lazarium." And so, as the
seventh hour approaches, all go to the Lazarium, that is, Bethany, situated at
about the second milestone from the city.
And as they go from Jerusalem to the Lazarium, there is, about five hundred
paces from the latter place, a church in the street on that spot where Mary the
sister of Lazarus met with the Lord. Here, when the bishop arrives, all the
monks meet him, and the people enter the church, and one hymn and one antiphon
are said, and that passage is read in the Gospel where the sister of Lazarus
meets the Lord. Then, after prayer has been made, and when all have been
blessed, they go thence with hymns to the Lazarium.
And on arriving at the Lazarium, so great a multitude assembles that not only
the place itself, but also the fields around, are full of people. Hymns and
antiphons suitable to the day and to the place are said, and likewise all the
lessons are read. Then, before the dismissal, notice is given of Easter, that
is, the priest ascends to a higher place and reads the passage that is written
in the Gospel: When Jesus six days before the Passover had come to Bethany, and
the rest. So, that passage having been read and notice given of Easter, the
dismissal is made.
This is done on that day because, as it is written in the Gospel, these events
took place in Bethany six days before the Passover; there being six days from
the Sabbath to the fifth weekday on which, after supper, the Lord was taken by
night. Then all return to the city direct to the Anastasis, and lucernare takes
place according to custom.
Sunday: Services in the Churches.
On the next day, that is, the Lord's Day, which begins the Paschal week, and
which they call here the Great Week, when all the customary services from
cockcrow until morning have taken place in the Anastasis and at the Cross, they
proceed on the morning of the Lord's Day according to custom to the greater
church, which is called the martyrium. It is called the martyrium because it is
in Golgotha behind the Cross, where the Lord suffered.
When all that is customary has been observed in the great church, and before
the dismissal is made, the archdeacon lifts his voice and says first: "
Throughout the whole week, beginning from to-morrow, let us all assemble in the
martyrium, that is, in the great church, at the ninth hour." Then he lifts his
voice again, saying: " Let us all be ready to-day in Eleona at the seventh
So when the dismissal has been made in the great church! that is, the
martyrium, the bishop is escorted with hymns to the Anastasis, and after all
things that are customary on the Lord's Day have been done there, after the
dismissal from the martyrium, every one hastens home to eat, that all may be
ready at the beginning of the seventh hour in the church in Eleona, on the
Mount of Olives, where is the cave in which the Lord was wont to teach.
with Palms on the Mount of Olives.
Accordingly at the seventh hour all the people go up to the Mount of Olives,
that is, to Eleona, and the bishop with them, to the church, where hymns and
antiphons suitable to the day and to the place are said, and lessons in like
manner. And when the ninth hour approaches they go up with hymns to the
Imbomon, that is, to the place whence the Lord ascended into heaven, and there
they sit down, for all the people are always bidden to sit when the bishop is
present; the deacons alone always stand. Hymns and antiphons suitable to the
day and to the place are said, interspersed with lections and prayers.
And as the eleventh hour approaches, the passage from the Gospel is read, where
the children, carrying branches and palms, met the Lord, saying; Blessed is He
that cometh in the name of the Lord, and the bishop immediately rises, and all
the people with him, and they all go on foot from the top of the Mount of
Olives, all the people going before him with hymns and antiphons, answering one
to another: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.
And all the children in the neighbourhood, even those who are too young to
walk, are carried by their parents on their shoulders, all of them bearing
branches, some of palms and some of olives, and thus the bishop is escorted in
the same manner as the Lord was of old.
For all, even those of rank, both matrons and men, accompany the bishop all the
way on foot in this manner, making these responses, from the top of the mount
to the city, and thence through the whole city to the Anastasis, going very
slowly lest the people should be wearied; and thus they arrive at the Anastasis
at a late hour. And on arriving, although it is late, lucernare takes place,
with prayer at the Cross; after which the people are dismissed.
in Holy Week
On the next day, the second weekday, everything that is customary is done from
the first cockcrow until morning in the Anastasis; also at the third and sixth
hours everything is done that is customary throughout the whole of
Quadragesima. but at the ninth hour all assemble in the great church, that is
the martyrium, where hymns and antiphons are said continuously until the first
hour of the night and lessons suitable to the day and the place are read,
interspersed always with prayers.
Lucernare takes place when its hour approaches, that is, so that it is already
night when the dismissal at the martyrium is made. When the dismissal has been
made, the bishop is escorted thence with hymns to the Anastasis, where, when he
has entered, one hymn is said, followed by a prayer; the catechumens and then
the faithful are blessed, and the dismissal is made.
in Holy Week
On the third weekday everything is done as on the second, with this one thing
added--that late at night, after the dismissal of the martyrium, and after the
going to the Anastasis and after the dismissal there, all proceed at that hour
by night to the church, which is on the mount Eleona.
And when they have arrived at that church, the bishop enters the cave where the
Lord was wont to teach His disciples, and after receiving the book of the
Gospel, he stands and himself reads the words of the Lord which are written in
the Gospel according to Matthew, where He says: Take heed that no man
deceiveyou. And the bishop reads through the whole of that discourse, and when
he has read it, prayer is made, the catechumens and the faithful are blessed,
the dismissal is made, and every one returns from the mount to his house, it
being already very late at night.
in Holy Week.
On the fourth weekday everything is done as on the second and third weekdays
throughout the whole day from the first cockcrow onwards, but after the
dismissal has taken place at the Martyrium by night, and the bishop has been
escorted with hymns to the Anastasis, he at once enters the cave which is in
the Anastasis, and stands within the rails; but the priest stands before the
rails and receives the Gospel, and reads the passage where Judas Iscariot went
to the Jews and stated what they should give him that he should betray the
Lord. And when the passage has been read, there is such a moaning and groaning
of all the people that no one can help being moved to tears at that hour.
Afterwards prayer follows, then the blessing, first of the catechumens, and
then of the faithful, and the dismissal is made.
Maundy Thursday: Mass celebrated twice.
On the fifth weekday everything that is customary is done from the first
cockcrow until morning at the Anastasis, and also at the third and at the sixth
hours. But at the eighth hour all the people gather together at the martyrium
according to custom, only earlier than on other days, because the dismissal
must be made sooner. Then, when the people are gathered together, all that
should be done is done, and the oblation is made on that day at the martyrium,
the dismissal taking place about the tenth hour. But before the dismissal is
made there, the archdeacon raises his voice and says: "Let us all assemble at
the first hour of the night in the church which is in Eleona, for great toil
awaits us to-day, in this very night."
Then, after the dismissal at the martyrium, they arrive behind the Cross, where
only one hymn is said and prayer is made, and the bishop offers the oblation
there, and all communicate. Nor is the oblation ever offered behind the Cross
on any day throughout the year, except on this one day. And after the dismissal
there they go to the Anastasis, where prayer is made, the catechumens and the
faithful are blessed according to custom, and the dismissal is made.
Station on the Mount of Olives.
And so every one hastens back to his house to eat, because immediately after
they have eaten, all go to Eleona to the church wherein is the cave where the
Lord was with His Apostles on this very day.
There then, until about the fifth hour of the night, hymns and antiphons
suitable to the day and to the place are said, lessons, too, are read in like
manner, with prayers interspersed, and the passages from the Gospel are read
where the Lord addressed His disciples on that same day as He sat in the same
cave which is in that church.
And they go thence at about the sixth hour of the night with hymns up to the
Imbomon, the place whence the Lord ascended into heaven, where again lessons
are read, hymns and antiphons suitable to the day are said, and all the prayers
which are made by the bishop are also suitable both to the day and to the
And at the first cockcrow they come down from the Imbomon with hymns, and
arrive at the place where the Lord prayed, as it is written in the Gospel: and
He was withdrawn (from them) about a stone's cast, and prayed, and the rest.
There is in that place a graceful church The bishop and all the people enter, a
prayer suitable to the place and to the day is said, with one suitable hymn,
and the passage from the Gospel is read where He said to His disciples: Watch,
that ye enter not into temptation; the whole passage is read through and prayer
And then all, even to the smallest child, go down with the Bishop, on foot,
with hymns to Gethsemane; where, on account of the great number of people in
the crowd, who are wearied owing to the vigils and weak through the daily
fasts, and because they have so great a hill to descend, they come very slowly
with hymns to Gethsemane. And over two hundred church candles are made ready to
give light to all the people.
On their arrival at Gethsemane, first a suitable prayer is made, then a hymn is
said, then the passage of the Gospel is read where the Lord was taken. And when
this passage has been read there is so great a moaning and groaning of all the
people, together with weeping, that their lamentation may be heard perhaps as
far as the city.
Return to Jerusalem.
From that hour they go with hymns to the city on foot, reaching the gate about
the time when one man begins to be able to recognise another, and thence right
on through the midst of the city; all, to a man, both great and small, rich and
poor, all are ready there, for on that special day not a soul withdraws from
the vigils until morning. Thus the bishop is escorted from Gethsemane to the
gate, and thence through the whole of the city to the Cross.
Friday: Service at Daybreak.
And when they arrive before the Cross the daylight is already growing bright.
There the passage from the Gospel is read where the Lord is brought before
Pilate, with everything that is written concerning that which Pilate spake to
the Lord or to the Jews; the whole is read.
And afterwards the bishop addresses the people, comforting them for that they
have toiled all night and are about to toil during that same day, (bidding)
them not be weary, but to have hope in God, Who will for that toil give them a
greater reward. And encouraging them as he is able, he addresses them thus: "
Go now, each one of you, to your houses, and sit down awhile, and all of you be
ready here just before the second hour of the day, that from that hour to the
sixth you may be able to behold the holy wood of the Cross, each one of us
believing that it will be profitable to his salvation; then from the sixth hour
we must all assemble again in this place, that is, before the Cross, that we
may apply ourselves to lections and to prayers until night."
Column of the Flagellation
After this, when the dismissal at the Cross has been made, that is, before the
sun rises, they all go at once with fervour to Sion, to pray at the column at
which the Lord was scourged. And returning thence they sit for awhile in their
houses, and presently all are ready.
of the Cross.
Then a chair is placed for the bishop in Golgotha behind the Cross, which is
now standing; the bishop duly takes his seat in the chair, and a table covered
with a linen cloth is placed before him; the deacons stand round the table, and
a silver-gilt casket is brought in which is the holy wood of the Cross. The
casket is opened and (the wood) is taken out, and both the wood of the Cross
and the title are placed upon the table.
Now, when it has been put upon the table, the bishop, as he sits, holds the
extremities of the sacred wood firmly in his hands, while the deacons who stand
around guard it. It is guarded thus because the custom is that the people, both
faithful and catechumens, come one by one and, bowing down at the table, kiss
the sacred wood and pass through. And because, I know not when, some one is
said to have bitten off and stolen a portion of the sacred wood, it is thus
guarded by the deacons who stand around, lest any one approaching should
venture to do so again.
And as all the people pass by one by one, all bowing themselves, they touch the
Cross and the title, first with their foreheads and then with their eyes; then
they kiss the Cross and pass through, but none lays his hand upon it to touch
it. When they have kissed the Cross and have passed through, a deacon stands
holding the ring of Solomon and the horn from which the kings were anointed;
they kiss the horn also and gaze at the ring . . . all the people are passing
through up to the sixth hour, entering by one door and going out by another;
for this is done in the same place where, on the preceding day, that is, on the
fifth weekday, the oblation was offered.
before the Cross. The Three Hours.
And when the sixth hour has come, they go before the Cross, whether it be in
rain or in heat, the place being open to the air, as it were, a court of great
size and of some beauty between the Cross and the Anastasis; here all the
people assemble in such great numbers that there is no thoroughfare.
The chair is placed for the bishop before the Cross, and from the sixth to the
ninth hour nothing else is done, but the reading of lessons, which are read
thus: first from the psalms wherever the Passion is spoken of, then from the
Apostle, either from the epistles of the Apostles or from their Acts, wherever
they have spoken of the Lord's Passion; then the passages from the Gospels,
where He suffered, are read. Then the readings from the prophets where they
foretold that the Lord should suffer, then from the Gospels where He mentions
Thus from the sixth to the ninth hours the lessons are so read and the hymns
said, that it may be shown to all the people that whatsoever the prophets
foretold of the Lord's Passion is proved from the Gospels and from the writings
of the Apostles to have been fulfilled. And so through all those three hours
the people are taught that nothing was done which had not been foretold, and
that nothing was foretold which was not wholly fulfilled. Prayers also suitable
to the day are interspersed throughout.
The emotion shown and the mourning by all the people at every lesson and prayer
is wonderful; for there is none, either great or small, who, on that day during
those three hours, does not lament more than can be conceived, that the Lord
had suffered those things for us. Afterwards, at the beginning of the ninth
hour, there is read that passage from the Gospel according to John where He
gave up the ghost. This read, prayer and the dismissal follow.
And when the dismissal before the Cross has been made, all things are done in
the greater church, at the martyrium, which are customary during this week from
the ninth hour --when the assembly takes place in the martyrium--until late.
And after the dismissal at the martyrium, they go to the Anastasis, where, when
they arrive, the passage from the Gospel is read where Joseph begged the Body
of the Lord from Pilate and laid it in a new sepulchre. And this reading ended,
a prayer is said, the catechumens are blessed, and the dismissal is made.
9. But on that day no announcement is made of a vigil at the Anastasis, because
it is known that the people are tired; nevertheless, it is the custom to watch
there. So all of the people who are willing, or rather, who are able, keep
watch, and they who are unable do not watch there until the morning. Those of
the clergy, however, who are strong or young keep vigil there, and hymns and
antiphons are said throughout the whole night until morning; a very great crowd
also keep night-long watch, some from the late hour and some from midnight, as
Now, on the next day, the Sabbath, everything that is customary is done at the
third hour and also at the sixth; the service at the ninth hour, however, is
not held on the Sabbath, but the Paschal vigils are prepared in the great
church, the martyrium. The Paschal vigils are kept as with us, with this one
addition, that the children when they have been baptised and clothed, and when
they issue from the font, are led with the bishop first to the Anastasis.
The bishop enters the rails of the Anastasis, and one hymn is said, then the
bishop says a prayer for them, and then he goes with them to the greater
church, where, according to custom, all the people are keeping watch.
Everything is done there that is customary with us also, and after the oblation
has been made, the dismissal takes place. After the dismissal of the vigils has
been made in the greater church, they go at once with hymns to the Anastasis,
where the passage from the Gospel about the Resurrection is read. Prayer is
made, and the bishop again makes the oblation. But everything is done quickly
on account of the people, that they should not be delayed any longer, and so
the people are dismissed. The dismissal of the vigils takes place on that day
at the same hour as with us.
in the Easter Octave
Moreover, the Paschal days are kept up to a late hour as with us, and the
dismissals take place in their order throughout the eight Paschal days, as is
the custom everywhere at Easter throughout the Octave. But the adornment (of
the churches) and order (of the services) here are the same throughout the
Octave of Easter as they are during Epiphany, in the greater church, in the
Anastasis, at the Cross, in Eleona, in Bethlehem, as well as in the Lazarium,
in fact, everywhere, because these are the Paschal days.
On the first Lord's Day they proceed to the great church, that is, the
martyrium, as well as on the second and third weekdays, but always so that
after the dismissal has been made at the martyrium, they go to the Anastasis
with hymns. On the fourth weekday they proceed to Eleona, on the fifth to the
Anastasis, on the sixth to Sion, on the Sabbath before the Cross, but on the
Lord's Day, that is, on the Octave, (they proceed) to the great church again,
that is, to the martyrium.
Moreover, on the eight Paschal days the bishop goes every day after breakfast
up to Eleona with all the clergy, and with all the children who have been
baptised, and with a]l who are apotactitae, both men and women, and likewise
with all the people who are willing. Hymns are said and prayers are made, both
in the church which is on Eleona, wherein is the cave where Jesus was wont to
teach His disciples, and also in the Imbomon, that is, in the place whence the
Lord ascended into heaven.
And when the psalms have been said and prayer has been made, they come down
thence with hymns to the Anastasis at the hour of lucernare. This is done
throughout all the eight days.
Station at Sion on Easter Sunday
Now, on the Lord's Day at Easter, after the dismissal of lucernare, that is, at
the Anastasis, all the people escort the bishop with hymns to Sion.
And, on arriving, hymns suitable to the day and place are said, prayer is made,
and the passage from the Gospel is read where the Lord, on the same day, and in
the same place where the church now stands in Sion, came in to His disciples
when the doors were shut. That is, when one of His disciples, Thomas, was
absent, and when he returned and the other Apostles told him that they had seen
the Lord, he said: " Except I shall see, I will not believe." When this has
been read, prayer is again made, the catechumens and the faithful are blessed,
and every one returns to his house late, about the second hour of the night.
Again, on the Octave of Easter, that is, on the Lord's Day, all the people go
up to Eleona with the bishop immediately after the sixth hour. First they sit
for awhile in the church which is there, and hymns and antiphons suitable to
the day and to the place are said; prayers suitable to the day and to the place
are likewise made. Then they go up to the Imbomon with hymns, and the same
things are done there as in the former place. And when the time comes, all the
people and all the apotactitae escort the bishop with hymns down to the
Anastasis, arriving there at the usual hour for lucernare.
So lucernare takes place at the Anastasis and at the Cross, and all the people
to a man escort the bishop thence with hymns to Sion. And when they have
arrived, hymns suitable to the day and to the place are said there also, and
lastly that passage from the Gospel is read where, on the Octave of Easter, the
Lord came in where the disciples were, and reproved Thomas because he had been
unbelieving. The whole of that lesson is read, with prayer afterwards; both the
catechumens and the faithful are blessed, and every one returns to his house as
usual, just as on the Lord's Day of Easter, at the second hour of the night.