Enter the Mystery

Services for Great and Holy Week and Pascha

All services are at St Francis’ Hall, Nightingale Avenue, Eastleigh SO50 9JA.

Great and Holy Friday (22nd April)
2.30 pm — The Royal Hours and Great Vespers of Holy Friday: The Taking Down from the Cross and the Entombment in the Bier.

7 pm — Matins of Great and Holy Saturday: The Lamentations Service.

Great and Holy Saturday (23rd April)
9 am — Vesperal Divine Liturgy: Commemorating Christ’s Victory over Death

Great and Holy Pascha (24th April)
9 am — Matins, the Resurrection Service,
followed immediately by the Divine Liturgy.
Agape Meal
Agape Vespers

Please note: there will not be a nighttime service of the Resurrection.

Dear Friends

It is with great joy I greet you all in Great and Holy Week. God and his Church, out of great love, have granted us once again to live the mystery of his death and resurrection, the mystery of our redemption, the mystery of our salvation. And we are called to participate in this mystery, to live this mystery, to be incorporated within this mystery so that, as the Apostle Paul wrote the the Christians of Colossae,

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Colossians 3:1–4

That is to say, if we participate in Christ’s death—death to sin, death to idolatry, and even death to death—we will be raised with him too, so that when he appears again at the end of time his glory will be ours; therefore, we must seek things of Heaven more than things of Earth, things eternal more than things mortal, things divine more than things perishing.

I warmly invite you to our services of Great and Holy Week: please come to as much as you can.

Great and Holy Friday: Royal Hours (2.30 pm)

Here we contemplate a great mystery. The infinite Son of God, begotten from all eternity, incarnate for our sake, dies. Because of our sins—my own sins!—the King of Glory endures one of the most barbaric and tortuous of deaths. How can this be?

Great and Holy Friday: Vespers (immediately after Royal Hours)

Most of the disciples have abandoned Christ—too scared to show their faces before society and before the Lord. But the women, together with Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, beseech the governor Pilate for the body of Christ. Pilate is surprised that he is already dead, crucifixion was designed to be a long and drawn-out process, but even in death Christ is Lord and he himself chooses when to die. They make their preparations to bury God.

Great and Holy Friday: Matins — The Lamentations (7 pm)

We mourn, we weep and we lament the death of Christ. Standing at his tomb we sing our funeral hymn. But we do not do so as those who have no hope: the Resurrection is coming and Hades’ power will come to an end.

Great and Holy Saturday: Vesperal Divine Liturgy (9 am)

That which was told at the first Pascha, when the angel of death passed over the children of Israel in Egypt, is being fulfilled—that is to say, filled to overflowing. God has descended into Hades and annihilated his power: his gates have been shown to have no strength, they are only made of brass, and Christ has destroyed them. And we sing out with the Psalmist against the Satan and his princes,

God stands in the congregation of the mighty;
He judges among the gods.

How long will you judge unjustly,
And show partiality to the wicked?

Defend the poor and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Deliver the poor and needy;
Free them from the hand of the wicked.

They do not know, nor do they understand;
They walk about in darkness;
All the foundations of the earth are unstable.

I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are children of the Most High.

But you shall die like men,
And fall like one of the princes.”

Arise, O God, judge the earth;
For You shall inherit all nations.

Psalm 81 lxx

Great and Holy Pascha: Matins & Divine Liturgy (9 am)

We process around the Church and cast out the Satan and all his princes,

Lift up your heads, O you princes!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.

And they cry out, quaking in fear,

Who is this King of glory?

But they know. They know who it is, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24) Yet in their arrogance they did not believe that the incarnate Lord would enter their realm, the Dominion of Death. But our God brings to an end the power of Death. He answers them mockingly,

The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.

And then he gives the same instruction; God has come and as he has executed judgment against all the gods of Egypt (Exodus 12:12) so he does on the Satan and all his princes,

Lift up your heads, O you princes!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.

They have lost, they have been defeated, life reigns. They try with one last cry to exclaim,

Who is this King of glory?

But it is to naught, even as the Satan and his princes say this the Lord marches in crying,

The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.

Psalm 23:7–10 lxx

And we enter into the Resurrection. We celebrate it, we fulfill it. And we see its perfection in celebrating the Divine Liturgy,

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till he comes.

1 Corinthians 11:26

My dear brothers and sisters, join the Church in celebrating the mystery of Christ. Be a part of it, join it, rejoice in it. For Christ has destroyed your captivity to death, your captivity to sin, your captivity to idolatry; and he has done the same for me.

We are free and we will rejoice.

I wish you all a joyful celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection: may the Light of Pascha shine in our hearts.

We now serve a meal following the Liturgy on Sundays. All are welcome.

Do you, or someone you know, want to join our mailing list and receive our weekly email? Then let me know.

Singers — we want you

We are now more free to increase the number of singers at Church: would you like to sing and join this important ministry. Then please speak to me or the singers at Church.

All are welcome!

Sayidna’s Visit — Thomas Sunday

We are most blessed to be able to welcome our Father in Christ, Metropolitan Silouan, on the weekend after Pascha (Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May). This will be his first pastoral visit to our community.

The bishop is the centre of the life of the Christian community. He comes as Christ in our midst. And he wants to meet you! Will you be able to join us to greet the bishop and ask for his blessings for us?

While this is a special event, it is also an ordinary one. You do not need to worry about saying the wrong thing or calling him by a wrong title. He is our Father in Christ and as our Father he loves us.

Do join us.


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.

“This month shall be your beginning of months;” says the Lord.

“it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. … Your lamb shall be without blemish … Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.’” (Exodus 12:2–3, 5, 6)

In this way, my brothers and sisters, the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron to institute the Passover, to institute Pascha. On the fifth day before the Pascha all the People of God were to acquire a lamb.

We too are acquiring our Lamb and he is “without blemish.” He comes to us, here to the heavenly Jerusalem, as our King—not as so many kings of the earth who bring war and oppression but comes with Peace: “Fear not, daughter of Zion;” says the Lord of Hosts, “behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” (Zacharias 9:9)

And what will be my response to this event, to this happening, to this wonder? Will I merely stand with the crowd and watch as the King of Peace goes by? Will you? Or will we make this our own? Will we let the incarnate Lord enter not only Jerusalem but his Temple? As the Apostle Paul tells us,

Read last Sunday’s Sermon, Christ’s Entry.
Archive of Past Sermons.

Attending Church

We will be meeting at St Francis’ Hall, Nightingale Avenue, Eastleigh, SO50 9JA. Come and See.

Can I help you?

I am here for you, you need only ask. Is there a way I can support your life of faith? Get in touch.

Can you help the mission?

Yes, absolutely. Offer yourselves to the Lord: pray! Make available to him all your talents and ask him how he would like you to use them — listen for his reply.

Your prayers!

With love in Christ

Fr Alexander