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Holy Week a Half Day Off?

Alveus Lacuna

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I heard somewhere on a podcast that the Holy Week services are basically a half a day early, hence why the passion gospels are on Thursday rather than Friday, Pascha is in the middle of the night instead of Sunday morning, etc.

Does anyone know the history of how this came to be if it is true? How did all of the Byzantine tradition come to celebrate everything slightly ahead of read time?
 

Minnesotan

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It's not just the Byzantine tradition, either. The Coptic parish near where I live has its Easter liturgy from 7PM to midnight on Saturday (and I'm planning to go, if it works out with my schedule, which hopefully it will).
 

WPM

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Alveus Lacuna said:
I heard somewhere on a podcast that the Holy Week services are basically a half a day early, hence why the passion gospels are on Thursday rather than Friday, Pascha is in the middle of the night instead of Sunday morning, etc.

Does anyone know the history of how this came to be if it is true? How did all of the Byzantine tradition come to celebrate everything slightly ahead of read time?
Depends on how you interpret historical events.
 

homedad76

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I always assumed it had to do with starting the day at "dawn" the night before.  I've never heard the "half day early" thing before.
 

Luke

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I was told that they are morning services, but they do them in the evening, perhaps to help all who are working or having classes.
 

Regnare

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The Passion Gospels just have to be at night, really. How else are you going to commemorate an event where the sun went dark for three hours? (Although, when you think about it, all Matins services assume that the sun will be coming up around the Great Doxology, so darkness works better generally.)
 

Iconodule

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I read somewhere that this has something to do with Byzantine and Hebrew time, where the day begins with the evening. So what we consider Monday night is actually the start of Tuesday. That's why the vespers service is the beginning of the feast that continues next morning with matins and liturgy. On the other hand, this way of reckoning time doesn't seem to apply to fasts, e.g. the Friday fast doesn't start Thursday night and end Friday night.
 

Bob2

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Porter ODoran said:
In my dreams, Matins (Othros) coincides with actual, observable dawn.
I've always wanted to see the sun breaking the horizon right as we hear, "Glory to Thee who has shown the light!"
 

Dominika

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Alveus Lacuna said:
I heard somewhere on a podcast that the Holy Week services are basically a half a day early, hence why the passion gospels are on Thursday rather than Friday, Pascha is in the middle of the night instead of Sunday morning, etc.

Does anyone know the history of how this came to be if it is true? How did all of the Byzantine tradition come to celebrate everything slightly ahead of read time?
Actually, in most EO parishes most of the Holy Week services are not done in the proper time, what really bothers me (I wrote an article about it for the biggest Polish Orthodox website and I still getting into more and mroe details about Holy Week services in general). In the Triodon, as well in Typikon, you have clearly written when they should be celebrated. I also recommend this article: http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8123
 

scamandrius

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Bob2 said:
Porter ODoran said:
In my dreams, Matins (Othros) coincides with actual, observable dawn.
I've always wanted to see the sun breaking the horizon right as we hear, "Glory to Thee who has shown the light!"
In monasteries i have been to, the time when light starts entering the church is during the chanting of the ainoi, around the phrase," Praise Him O sun and moon..."
 

MalpanaGiwargis

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Alveus Lacuna said:
I heard somewhere on a podcast that the Holy Week services are basically a half a day early, hence why the passion gospels are on Thursday rather than Friday, Pascha is in the middle of the night instead of Sunday morning, etc.

Does anyone know the history of how this came to be if it is true? How did all of the Byzantine tradition come to celebrate everything slightly ahead of read time?
I'm not sure when this happened, but something similar occurred in the Latin Rite as well. Matins and Lauds of Holy Thursday and Good Friday were said the preceding evening in a darkened church, giving the name Tenebrae (Latin for "darkness") to these services. The Easter Vigil was celebrated in the morning (!) of Holy Saturday by the 12th century, where it remained until the 1950s.

Then there's also the practice, common to many different Rites, of Vespers being said early in the day on fasting days, probably an aberration having its origin in making fasting easier. This seems to have happened for many of the hours; the name for the Ninth Hour in Latin, Nona, is the origin of the English word noon, indicating that Ninth Hour had been widely anticipated at midday for many, many centuries.
 

podkarpatska

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As was explained to me over the years and as I heard repeated on Great Friday this year in church, Holy Week is first a week of great anticipation, hence the schedule and timing of the great services are in anticipation. Also, humanity's betrayal of Christ and His Crucifixion rendered time and the heavens were in great turmoil  and Christ our God descended into Hades and normality as we know it was not restored until the Resurrection.

The article in the Greek Archdiocesan website details the Byzantine practice, not the Slavic so again, there are variations as to when and what services are typically observed depending on the national church of origin within Eastern Orthodoxy. similar, but not identical.
 
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