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Liturgy on the epitaphios...

plaschanitsa epitaphios tomb liturgy holy saturday

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#1 Sbdn. Peter Simko

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 02:42 PM

Hello friends,

Are there any resources available that could legitimize the serving of the Vesperal Divine Liturgy on Great and Holy Saturday on the tomb of Christ as the altar?  I have only heard and seen explanations that say it hearkens back to serving Liturgy on the tombs of martyrs, but I have not seen this actually published in any book.  I was reminded of this due to the image of Fr. Peter Preble's new book, and I have included a link to that image and another instance below to show what I am talking about.  I know this has been practiced here in the U.S. in various places and at various times.  Thank you!



#2 Niko T.

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 08:06 PM

Well the Antimension on which every Divine Liturgy is served depicts Christ being taken off the Cross, and the Holy Altar of every Orthodox Church already is designed to symbolize the tomb of Christ. Thus every Divine Liturgy already takes place on the tomb of Christ. This is just another example of this.


Here are some more pictures of this from the Metropolis of Corinth in Greece: http://www.imkorinth...636&format=raw.


As you mentioned that the Divine Liturgy used to be served on the graves of the martyrs in the catacombs (and as they were Christ-bearers, by extension also the tomb of Christ). This is why every Holy Altar has holy relics of the saints placed within it during the consecration. An interesting custom in some places is to at certain feasts, to use the holy relics of their martyr saint as the holy altar itself. See an example from Mytilene, where they are serving Divine Liturgy on the holy relic of St. Theodore the Byzantine: http://2.bp.blogspot...ou_2009_43.jpg.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: plaschanitsa, epitaphios, tomb, liturgy, holy saturday

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