Saturday, March 30, 2013

A day of waiting. The Epitaphios


I always think that for my Christian friends Holy Saturday must be the saddest day of the religious year.
As a Jew I can't even bear to imagine what it must be like, thinking of one's lord and master lying alone in a cold and dark tomb.
All the more so for the original disciples, for they did not know that Easter would come so soon, if at all.

My two photos are from the seldom-visited Greek Orthodox church Viri Galilei, on the Mount of Olives.

Orthodox Wiki explains the epitaphios:

The Epitaphios (Greek: Επιτάφιος, epitaphios, or Επιτάφιον, epitaphion; Slavonic: Плащаница, plashchanitsa; Arabic: نعش, naash)
is an icon, today most often found as a large cloth, embroidered and often richly adorned, which is used during the services of Great Friday and Holy Saturday .
 It also exists in painted or mosaic form, on walls or panels.
. . .
The icon depicts Christ after he has been removed from the cross, lying supine, as his body is being prepared for burial.
The scene is taken from the Gospel of St. John 19:38-42.
Shown around him, and mourning his death, may be his mother (the Theotokos; John the beloved disciple; Joseph of Arimathea; and Mary Magdalene, as well as angels. Nicodemus and others may also be depicted.

Usually, the troparion of the day is embroidered around the edges of the icon:
The Noble Joseph, taking Thy most pure body down from the Tree and having wrapped it in pure linen and spices, laid it in a new tomb.
UPDATE 2018: See more about the epitaphios here:


Birdman said...

Wonderful photos today and text too. Anticipation of the coming...

RamblingRound said...

Yes, I always feel sad the day before Easter and can't imagine how sad Jesus' mother and the disciples must have felt. So glad that Sunday is coming!

Adullamite said...

Ah sad indeed, but on the other hand it has already happened. He died once for sin, he does not die again. Christ suffered and will look on the fruit of the suffering of his soul and be satisfied. We can rejoice in this.

Christians ought to remember this daily, not annually.

I love the pictures you offer. So many different and suitable photos. Excellent!

Robert Geiss said...

Very moving again.

Cloudia said...

I often think the same thoughts, and the archeological evidence of crucifixion was haunting.


DawnTreader said...

Some of our Easter Eve traditions involve bonfires and fireworks, originally to scare away evil spirits and witches which were thought to be especially active between Good Friday and Easter Sunday... Nowadays though in our secularized traditions, Easter Eve is often the main "celebration" of for most. Actually it's the same thing with Christmas. Both holidays are a strange mix of Christian, older "heathen" + modern secularized traditions.

Reader Wil said...

Saturday the day of rest after the Day of Execution. The saddest day of the religious year. Yes Dina, that is true.
Thank you for these photos.

VP said...

I never lost my sleep about this...