Living Holy Week

Saint Sophia Cathedral
Online Resources for our Religious Edification

Topic of the Week: Living Holy Week


“…Lent was a time to begin reorienting our lives around Christ and His Church. If Lent was the start, Holy Week is the culmination. It is the time when every Christian is called to put aside the things of the world and hit the pause button on their outside livesThe world is passing away. Only the Lord’s kingdom will remain


Here is a simple rule for the week: If it can be postponed or put off until later so that you can come and pray, then by all means, do it. Or what will a man give in return for his soul?…”


Excerpted from How Not To Lose the Blessings of Holy Week / OrthoChristian.Com

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Adult/Family/High School:

“…Our elder in the monastery used to tell us, “I want you to live the Holy Week.” That’s what he used to tell us: “Do whatever you will, but ‘live’ the Holy Week…. ‘live’ 10 days of the Holy Week and afterwards, the Bright Week.” Morning, noon and night. It’s the fruit. You might say [as soon as you see an orange tree], “What a beautiful orange [tree]!” Agreed, the orange tree is beautiful too, but you cannot eat its leaves.

The fruit of the ecclesiastical life throughout the whole year are those ten days, [the days] of the Holy Week and the days that follow, the Resurrection Liturgies of the Bright Week. Exactly, his words. Just like with the orange tree you can say, “The orange tree has sprouted and it smells so beautiful.” Still, you will not eat its orange blossoms [yet].” Then, the orange blossoms will grow. Then, she will make her first small orange fruit. The most you can do is cut it and make a sweet out of it. But how much of it can you eat. You will get [high levels of] sugar if you eat too much of it. The whole purpose of it is to become a [full-grown] orange. Green at first, turns orange at the end. Right?

Thus, you realize that the fruit of the tree, throughout the whole year, are these ten days. Thus, it is important to “exercise” our senses. How do we taste an orange? By eating it, by making orange juice. In a few words, by tasting it somehow. Therefore, we need “good senses.” As we have explained, besides the five senses of the body, we also have the five senses of the soul.

So, these senses of the soul and body must be trained, must be exercisedBy fasting, we [actually] exercise our senses. Little by little, we get a taste of the Liturgies. Our heart starts feeling the grace. I previously described with Elder Nicolas, we feel the grace in our hearts. Whenever we go to a Presanctified Liturgy, whenever we go to a Vesper service, whenever we go to the Salutations of the Theotokos, whenever we pray, whenever we read the Psalter in our home, whenever we do a prostration, an all-night vigil. What are all those things? Tastes! They are tastes! In the same way you go to the ice cream vendor and tell him, “I want vanilla, … and chocolate….”
Thus, you realize they are tastes, “spiritual tastes.” Had it not been for these tastes, we would have been stupid. Why would we possibly rush to listen to homilies, attend all-night vigils and lose our sleep [because of it], right? Because the soul desires again and again Services, fasting… It means that the soul is tasting something through the senses we just described. If you exercise your senses all year round, our Elder used to tell us, that [is the] way to acquire “sensible senses.”

St. Porphyrios [moreover] used to say, “Let your senses open.” As soon as the Grace arrives, the senses open. That is, in the least, you “listen.” You listen to the Liturgy, and you comprehend it. Beforehand, you were unable to comprehend it. You “read” the Psalter, [and] you “feel” it. What does it mean — your sense has opened! You go to a homily and you have undistracted attention. This not only due to the speaker, but it’s also due to that fact that your senses have opened….”

Excerpted from How to LIVE HOLY WEEK? Here are Met. Neophytos’ tips | Orthodox Cyprus – YouTube

Transcript here.


The Liturgical Year for Little Ones: Lazarus Saturday to Pascha: A compilation of activities to guide your little ones through Holy Week (

Alleluia… Troparion “Behold the Bridegroom” – Byzantine Chant – YouTube

Middle School:

“…We probably think to ourselves, “thank God that I am not like those stupid people who betrayed Christ.” But in fact we are the same people! We betray Christ every time we ignore His teachings and do our own will. We betray Christ when we sin. We betray Christ when we do not love our neighbor. We betray Christ when we dishonor and neglect the life that He gives us in His Church, which is in truth, His mystical body


My brothers and sisters, we are not so different from those who came to greet the Lord that day in JerusalemWe celebrate God when things are going well for us. But we might turn against Him if our life became uncomfortable or if we were sick or if people attacked us or punished us because of our belief in Him.

 Why were the people fickle and moody in their attitude changes? Because their faith was based on outward signs and not on the person of Christ. The Mother God knew her Son very well, and she didn’t betray Him. She stood by and watched and agonized over the treatment that Her beloved Son was receiving. Her faith was constant, because it was faith in Christ and not only in His miraclesFaith in the person of Christ can sustain us, because it is a solid foundation upon which to build our lives….”

Excerpted from How Not To Lose the Blessings of Holy Week / OrthoChristian.Com


A Message from Maria Spanos

I am passionate about our Orthodox Christian faith and seek to help others learn as much as they can about it. My purpose here is to share online resources that help strengthen our relationship with Christ and bind us closer to His Church. I believe they are invaluable in learning about our precious Orthodox Tradition, and are a great aid for teaching family members, friends and others about Orthodoxy. ~Maria

Two of my favorite quotes:

“A true Christian behaves in this life so that it may be a preparation for the future one and not only a life here below. In his actions, he does not think what will be said of him here but of what will be said there in heaven; he represents to himself that he is always in the presence of God, of the angels and all the saints, and remembers that someday they will bear witness of his thoughts, words, and deeds.”  — Saint John of Kronstadt


Of all the holy works, the education of children is the most holy.”
— St. Theophan the Recluse