Yesterday was Good Friday in the Eastern world and during Friday afternoon services an icon or embroidery of the Shroud is placed in the centre of the church to remind believers of the Passion of Christ. The shroud remains there until the beginning of Saturday night/Sunday morning Easter liturgy.
Holy Friday is the most sorrowful day of Holy Week because of the Biblical story of Easter with Christ the Saviour crucified by death on the cross to save people from sin. During the pre-Easter period Christians have fasted for 40+ days to recall the 40 days Jesus spend in the wilderness before being nailed to a cross. Fasting helps believers prepare for the celebration by helping believers crucify the flesh and fallen nature.
Holy Friday follows the week of Lazarus Saturday, commemorating the raising of Lazarus of Bethany, on the day before Palm Sunday. Lazarus Saturday begins Holy Week, the last week of the fasting period. Holy Week lasts until the night prior to Easter Sunday when Orthodox Christians begin to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ.
In most Slavic languages, the name for Easter comes from the Greek word meaning “Great Night.”
For complete Easter coverage in Eastern Europe and Asia, enjoy more here at the Mendeleyev Journal’s Easter feature.