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April 06, 2007

Good Friday

The Solemn Liturgy on Good Friday is an incredibly powerful liturgical experience. It begins with the sacred Ministers prostrating themselves before the bare altar and then moves through the readings and the singing of the Passion from John 18: 25 to 19: 42. This is followed by the bearing in of a veiled Crucifix, carried by the Deacon who reveals the cross and the figure by removing the veil at three sperate stations at which are sung the words, "Behold the wood of the Cross, on which hung the Saviour of the world."

Good Friday Cross.JPG
Behold the wood of the cross, on which hung the Saviour of the world.

Placing this between two acolytes who hold it steady, the cross is then venerated by the three ministers, followed by the acolytes and then the congregation, each making a genuflection before it and kissing the feet of the figure - or simply kneeling briefly in prayer. When everyone has had the chance to kneel at the foot of the crucified Christ in this way, the crucifix is carried into the Sanctuary and placed on the High Altar. While that is done, it is the Sub Deacon's task to go to the Lady Chapel with two acolytes and to carry from there to the High Altar the Ciborium in which lies the consecrated bread - the Body of Christ - from the Maundy Thursday liturgy. The Ministers, servers and congregation then make their communion and the final prayers are said.

At the closing of the final prayer, the Celebrant slams the book onto the surface of the altar, the ministers strip off their Chasuble, Dalmatic and Tunicle, throwing these onto the altar - and walk out, each going a different way.

I can only say that, as the Sub Deacon, I know exactly how the disciples felt as they hurried away from their crucified teacher, master and friend.

Posted by The Gray Monk at April 6, 2007 08:04 PM

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