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Great & Holy Friday/ Good Friday

Friday Before Pascha/Easter

Like Clean Monday, full abstention from all food and drink (apart from water) is required on this day (sundown on Thursday to sundown on Friday). 


In our Domestic Church...

- we dress in black or other dark colors

- at noon, the hour when Christ was hung on the Cross, each child nails a red ribbon onto a large wooden cross with an icon of the crucifixion in its center

- We sing the 15th Antiphon of Great & Holy Friday as we process around with the cross, icons, & crucifixes

- We pray the Troparion & Kontakion

- try to do quiet activites such as our crucifixion icon coloring sheets as we reflect on Christ's sacrifice until 3 pm, the hour when Christ was taken down from the Cross and put in the tomb

- sometimes go to pray with others at an abortion clinic

- sometimes go to do a Stations of the Cross at a local Roman Catholic parish

- stuff the eggs for the egg hunt...good things being shut up in their "tombs" to wait for Easter Sunday

- prepare the rose petals for our church that people will scatter during the burial service of Christ

- go to our beautiful liturgy for this feast

- end the day with hot cross buns after liturgy (recipe below)

- watch "The Passion of the Christ" after little children have gone to bed

15th Antiphon of Great & Holy Friday

Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung on the tree, / The King of the angels is decked with a crown of thorns. / He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery. / He who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped on the face. / The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the Cross with nails. / The Son of the virgin is pierced by a spear. / We worship Thy passion, O Christ. / We worship Thy passion, O Christ. / We worship Thy passion, O Christ. / Show us also Thy glorious resurrection.

Troparion — Tone 2

The Noble Joseph, / When he had taken down Your most pure Body from the tree, / Wrapped it in fine linen, / And anointed it with spices, / And placed it in a new tomb.

Troparion — Tone 2

The angel came to the myrrh-bearing women at the tomb and said: / Myrrh is fitting for the dead, / But Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption.

Kontakion — Tone 8

Come, let us all sing the praises of Him who was crucified for us, / For Mary said when she beheld Him upon the tree: / Though You do endure the cross, You are my Son and my God!

by St. Theodore the Studite, Given on Good Friday

Brethren and Fathers, while the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ when they are recalled are always able to pierce the soul, they do so especially in these present days, on which each of them reached its end. What then are they? The murderous council against him, the Jewish arrest, his being led away to death, his arraignment before Pilate's tribunal, the interrogation, the scourging, the blows, the spittings, the insults, the mockeries, the ascent of the Cross, the nailing of his hands and feet, the tasting of gall, the piercing of his side and all the other things which blazed forth [This word is not in the lexica, but the meaning is clear.] with them, which the world cannot contain, nor can anyone worthily proclaim, not human tongue, nor even all the tongues of angels together. For let us consider, brethren, this great and ineffable mystery. The Lord who reveals the counsels of hearts [1 Cor. 4:5] and knows every human desire is the one who is taken before a council of death; the Lord who bears all things by the word of his power [Hebrews 1:3.] is the one who is handed over to sinners; the Lord who binds the water in the clouds [Job 26:8.] and sows in the earth in due season and uniformly is the one who is led away prisoner; the Lord who measures the heavens with the span of his hand and the earth in a handful and weighed all the mountains in the balance [Isaias 40:12.] is the one who is struck by the hand of a servant; the Lord who adorned the boundaries of the earth with flowers is the one who is dishonourably crowned with thorns; the Lord who planted the tree of life in Paradise is the one who is hanged upon an accursed tree. O great and more then natural sights! The sun saw them and faded, the moon saw them and was darkened, the earth perceived them was shaken, the rocks perceived them and were rent, all creation was turned back at the outrages done to the Master. The lifeless elements which have no senses, as if endowed with life and sensation from fear of the Lord and from the spectacle of what is seen, were amazed and altered; and do we, who have been honoured with reason, for whose sake Christ died, remain untouched and unweeping in these days? How could we be less rational than things which have no reason, more unfeeling than the stones? In no way, my brothers, in no way. Let us rather be amazed in a manner worthy of God, by being changed with a fair change; let us draw down tears, sacrifice the passions, changing insults for insults and exchanging wounds for wounds, the one through obedience, the other through unflinching confession. Do we not see the burning incitements of divine love? Who ever dwelt in prison for a friend? Who accepted slaughter for their beloved? But our good God not only did the one and both of them, but accepted ten thousand sufferings for the sake of us, the condemned. Fittingly then the blessed Apostle, when he thought on these things and became powerfully aware of the love of God, said For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor rules nor powers, neither present nor future, neither height nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord [Rom. 8:38-39]. For such was the love God had for us that he gave his only Son, that all who believe in him might not perish, as it is written, but have eternal life [John 3:16.]. As an exchange for this love, the saints, when they had nothing to offer, offered their own bodies and blood by asceticism and struggle, singing with blessed David the song: What return may we make to the Lord for all that he has given to us? [Psalm 115:3.] Let us also, brethren, cry out these words each day, as we serve him with an unceasing attitude of love, striving again and again for what is better, so that we may become heirs with the saints of the eternal blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and might with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

Food for the Feast

The main food associated with this feast is hot cross buns. Since this is a strict day of abstinence until after evening liturgy, we plan to eat ours when we get home from church, just before putting the kids to bed. 

This is what we will be making this year:

Low Carb Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns

  • 2/3 cup coconut flour or almond flour

  • 1/3 cup psyllium husks

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 2 tbsp granulated sweetener of choice or to your taste

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

  • 4 eggs - medium

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • raisins/chocolate chips/ cacao nibs optional


  1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

  2. Add the eggs and mix.

  3. Add the boiling water and mix until evenly combined.

  4. Roll into 8 equal balls and place on a baking tray.

  5. Bake in a fan assisted oven at 180C/350F for 20-30 minutes until golden on the outside and cooked in the centre.

  6. Icing

  7. Mark each hot cross bun with a cross using the powdered sweetener confectioners/icing mix and water paste.

Hot Cross buns are decorated with crosses made from flour paste or sugar, which represent the cross on which Christ died. The spices in hot cross buns are said to represent the spices which were used to embalm Christ after his death.

One old belief says that if you bake your Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday, they won’t go mouldy during the following year. Another tradition states that a hot cross bun was always kept from the batch baked on Good Friday, in case anyone in the family became ill during the next year. A small piece of the bun would be broken off to feed to the patient. These buns had extremely holy connotations and were believed to be able to cure all ills, including the most dreadful diseases.

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