Here is a summary of what I could surmise as being the current practice as well as history of the Holy Week, with a particular emphasis on the Coptic Church. Further below you will also find a PowerPoint presentation that I used to teach about this subject that you may download and use as desired. But he whom He finds sleeping is unworthy of going with Him. Therefore, take heed, O my soul, that you may not fall into deep sleep, and then be cast out of the Kingdom. Weekly commemoration throughout the year.
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We do, within the confines of the church building, what the early Christians did in Jerusalem every year during this week. The early Christians used to celebrate Holy Week by visiting and praying at each site where the events had originally taken place.
The early Church had understood the great importance of Holy Week and took several steps to devote this week to the Lord. The level of asceticism fasting, prayer, metanias, vigil was at its maximum.
They only ate bread and salt, abstaining from any cooked food or dessert. They considered it inappropriate to taste anything sweet while commemorating the suffering of the Lord and also tried to avoid the distractions of cooking.
Most Christians also abstained from food from Good Friday until Easter service, spending the whole week in the church. Emperor Theodosuis, a Christian king, ordered a universal holiday during this time so that all those working within the government or private business sector could assemble in prayer and devotion as one family. Prisoners were even set free to go to Church and join in the ceremonial prayers.
Our blessed Church has set the schedule of prayers and readings to correspond with the journey, the teaching, and the events that lead up to the crucifixion. The hymns, sermons and meditations are so expositive that the catechumens used to learn the entire story of Christ during this one week.
Church Setting Under the Old Testament law, the sin offering was to be burned outside of the camp so that the camp would not be defiled by the sins of the congregations Leviticus , In a similar manner, Christ had taken away the sins of the world outside of Jerusalem.
Instead, the Holy Week prayers are done in the middle section of the church. As St. We do not go near the sanctuary, for we remember how the door to the heavens were closed before the crucifixion. We enter with Him on Holy Thursday, as we relive the mystical Supper.
Then we continue with Him for the remainder of the events in Jerusalem. Daily Guides.
General Hymns for the Week
An Overview of the Holy Pascha Week
Coptic Book of the Holy Pascha