Holy Week and Easter Services
In lockdown last year we were unable to gather to celebrate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. Some of us were able to say services at home. Others celebrated virtually, by joining in worship with broadcast services on radio, TV or online. When Easter came it was a strange, memorable celebration, and we all hoped that by this time the pandemic would have passed and we would be able to celebrate together once more.
Sadly, this has not proved to be the case. Lockdown is easing, and we are able to celebrate church services, but we still have to abide by regulations designed to safeguard the vulnerable, and to maintain the health of those who are well. This means that Holy Week and Easter will once more not be all that we could wish, even though we are able to do far more than we were last year.
Our small church continues to have a maximum congregation size of 20 and any gathering outside it must obey the “Rule of Six” and maintain correct social distancing. Processions are still prohibited. Our Archbishop, in a meeting with his clergy last week, emphasised that we must continue to observe the law, for the good of the Church and for the good of each other. Given all of this, what can we do?
Fr Seraphim and I have discussed this at length, and have agreed that although some of the popular features of the Holy Week services form part of many people’s expectations and sense of the significance of this time of year, our primary duty as priests must be to facilitate as many as possible being able to receive Holy Communion at this sacred time. Accordingly, we have agreed to celebrations of the Liturgy on Palm Sunday and Holy Monday mornings (the Monday one being, of course, a Presanctified Liturgy), on Holy Thursday evening, on Holy Saturday morning and evening, and on Easter Day in the morning. I would ask you kindly to remember two things: firstly, that the Risen Christ is the one we receive at every Liturgy, and therefore Holy Communion at any of these services touches on the Mystery of Easter (Pascha); and secondly, that if those who wishes to receive Holy Communion come to only one of these Liturgies this will enable many more of our brothers and sisters in Christ to participate in the “Feast of immortality” as well.
For most of the week, up to and including Good Friday, booking for services will be in the usual fashion through Eventbrite. For Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, however, we know that demand will inevitably outstrip supply, and so this year you are asked to enter a ballot for attendance at those three services. For more details on this see the appropriate page on Eventbrite and the Bulletin.
Throughout Lent we have been praying the Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian, in which we ask God to give us a spirit of patience and love. I know that this Holy Week is going to be a test of how far we have meant this prayer. But just as wearing our masks and keeping our distance is a gift of love to our brothers and sisters, so too will be our offering places at the services to them (Galatians 5:13-14). None of us (including the clergy!) will be able to attend all that we should like, but this will never stop our ability to know the Risen Lord’s presence with us, now as always. May we all be blessed by him this Holy Week and Easter.
With my love to you all,
Holy Week services (sign up)
- Monday: Presanctified Liturgy 9:00
- Tuesday: Matins of the Bridegroom 18:00
- Wednesday: Service of Anointing 18:00
- Thursday: Vesperal Liturgy 18:00
- Friday: Vespers 14:00
- Friday: Matins of Holy Saturday 18:00
Joining our Community
Greek Orthodox Community of the Holy Trinity is funded entirely by its members and their efforts through fundraising events. The Community pays the salary of our Priest, does charitable works and, together with the Orthodox Parish of the Annunciation pays for the upkeep of the church.
If you can, please consider helping the Community by becoming a member or making a donation (or both!).
The cost of becoming a member is £20 per year or £10 per year for the unwaged.
You can also donate directly towards the upkeep of our church, through donating into our joint parishes account- please contact our joint parishes treasurer- Bede Gerrard
Needless to say, we will only use your email address for sending you information about news and events, and will not pass your email address to any third parties.
Calendar of Events
Follow us on Twitter
The Parish now has a Twitter account, which we will hope to use to keep you informed of services and other events of interest. Follow us at @HolyTrinityOxf.