Fr Andrew Harrison of St Luke Orthodox Church processes with the cross on Holy Thursday.
Dear Students and Friends,
We celebrate the "last" supper on Thursday of Holy Week, and in the evening, we have a Passion Gospel Service, one of the most importent and solemn Holy Week Services. It is a remembrance and an entrance into the suffering and death of Christ. The priest, standing in the center of the church, is surrounded by twelve candles and reads the words of the Apostles who witnessed the events. As each Gospel is read, one candle is extinguished. During the fifth reading, the priest processes with the Cross over his shoulder as he chants, "He who hung the earth upon the waters is now being hung on the cross." At the point of the sixth Gospel when Jesus yields up His Spirit, the priest places a wreath of red flowers over the Cross. The service concludes with the veneration of the Cross.
On the Wednesday of Holy Week, we celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Unction. The Sacrament of Holy Unction is offered for the healing of soul and body and for forgiveness of sins. At the conclusion of the service of the Sacrament, the body is anointed with oil, and the grace of God, which heals infirmities of soul and body, is called down upon each person.
This is a very thorough and helpful article about Unction and the history and biblical basis of this sacrament in our church. I personally find it to be one of the most meaningful services of the week, as it reminds me of the healing I need to be part of Christ's Kingdom.
I hope this information will be helpful to you today and throughout the rest of Holy Week!