Prayer Before Reading Holy Scripture
O Master Who loves mankind, illuminate our hearts with the pure light of Your divine knowledge and open the eyes of our mind to understand the teachings of Your Gospel. Instill in us also the fear of Your blessed commandments, that we may overcome all carnal desires, entering upon a spiritual life and understanding and acting in all things according to Your holy will. For You are the enlightenment of our souls and bodies, O Christ God, and to You we give glory together with Your eternal Father and Your all-holy, gracious and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.
Epistle Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:2
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
that no flesh should glory in His presence.
But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God; and righteousness and sanctification and redemption;
that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 27:1-61
When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death.
And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”
Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.”
And they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.
Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced,
“and gave them for the potter’s field, as the LORD directed me.”
Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” So Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.”
And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.
Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?”
And He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished.
And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.
Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”
For he knew that because of envy they had delivered Him.
While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.
The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!”
Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”
Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”
When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.”
And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”
Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him.
And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.
When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.
Then when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.
Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross.
And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull,
they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.
Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”
Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there.
And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.
And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads
and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
Likewise the chief priests, also mocking with the scribes and elders, said,
“He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.
“He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ “
Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.
Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, ” This Man is calling for Elijah!”
Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave it to Him to drink.
The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”
Jesus, when He had cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up His spirit.
And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,
and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
Now when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar,
among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.
This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him.
And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.
And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
Saints and Feasts
Holy Friday; 5th Saturday of Lent: The Akathist Hymn; George the Righteous of Maleon; Righteous Plato the Studite; Nicetas the Hieromartyr, Struggler of Serrai (1808); Righteous Zosimas; Theonas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki, Founder and Renovator of the Sacred Monastery of Saint Anastasia of Pharmakolytria, Halkidiki; Theodoulos and Agathopous of Thessaloniki