"The solution is to be found through the sanctification of the parents. Become saints and you will have no problems with your children." Father Porphyrios , Wounded By Love

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Sunday, July 4, 2021

Lamentations of Theotokos

A beautiful tradition has been celebrated continuously in Jerusalem for over centuries, as well as in some of our local parishes. It is the service of the Lamentations to the Theotokos or Engomia in Greek which translates to "praises."

This breathtaking service of the Orthodox Church mirrors that of a vigil for Holy Friday or Holy Saturday Matins/Orthros. The same familiar melodies return to our ears and hearts to express the sorrow of earthly death while rejoicing in the joy of eternal life. In fact, the very first stanza repeats the same words we chant aloud for Christ... "Ei zoi en tafo" or "In a grave they laid you"

An Epitaphios of the Theotokos exists (like the one pictured here), richly embroidered with a cloth icon of the Theotokos reposed, and is used in a procession, although it is never placed on the Holy Table like the one for Christ.

For a copy in English of these special hymns, click here.

To view photographs in Jerusalem click here

Below are a few favorite stanza's:

All the earth sings glory
at your grave side, O Christ,
with all reverence, O Master, we also praise
the entombment of your Mother, ever Pure...

Now the Bridegroom calls you,to rejoice, Bride of God.
in a manner both divine and most beautiful
in the Bridal Chamber, holy and divine...
We your children offer
lamentations and love
unto you who are our Mother: accept our gift
which we offer from the depths of our souls...


Unknown said...

I checked out this blog and the stanzas are very nice that I like to learn by heart, I admire you for the great work done.
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Anonymous said...

Although this has been a tradition in Jerusalem (Gethsemane), it is a more modern tradition in parishes. Most monasteries, including Mount Athos are against this practice. The Lamentations are a service dedicated to Christ and sung gloriously on Holy Friday. The Epitaphios depicting the Body of Christ is placed in the center of the Church in the kouvouklion. This modern tradition unfortunately elevates the Mother of God, the Most Holy Theotokos to be like Christ. I myself as an Orthodox Priest used to perform this service every year in my parish but after studying the matter, found that it takes away from the beauty of Holy Friday. This service is also not found in any of the service books and is a recent innovation (except Jerusalem).

Fr. C

Emily said...
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