After a prayerful morning and afternoon, filled with spiritual reflections and discussions on the suffering of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us, we joined Archbishop Daniel for Vespers and the taking out of the Holy Shroud.
At 7 p.m. His Eminence Archbishop Daniel served the Vespers in St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL. Serving alongside Archbishop Daniel were Very Rev. Ivan Lymar and Very Rev. Mykola Lymar, Protodeacon Andriy Fronchak, and Deacon Myroslav Mykytyuk (St. Sophia Seminary). Near the end of the Vespers, with the parish choir singing of the troparion of the “Benevolent Joseph...”, Archbishop Daniel carried the Holy Shroud around the Temple three times, and placed It in the middle of the Temple in a prepared place symbolizing the tomb in which Nicodemus put the Savior's body at His burial.
At the conclusion of the service, Archbishop Daniel spoke to those gathered and those watching via Livestream on the importance of today’s service. Good Friday is only one day of the year when the Divine Liturgy is not served; only Vespers with the procession and placement of the Holy Shroud. The Shroud is taken out in the afternoon. Gathered parishioners walk around the church three times with the Shroud, which is carried at the four ends. After the procession, the Shroud is placed on a prepared table in the middle of the church. The faithful approach the Holy Shroud and kiss it devoutly. Christ’s tomb is decorated with flowers and lamps. The removal of the Shroud is the main Christian tradition on Good Friday. The Shroud symbolizes the cloth in which Jesus Christ was wrapped and after removed from the Cross. Faithful do not eat anything until the Shroud is removed. It is not allowed to do hard work on Good Friday. In general, it is better to do all the work on Thursday.
In his sermon that day, Archbishop Daniel spoke that today Jesus is led to Golgotha, crucified, and buried because of our sins. He said that we all should look inside us and see our sinfulness. That we should crucify all our sins, to put them into the tomb and forget about it, after what to resurrect in a new, perfect man with Jesus. It was really touching, the whole service was the burial of our Lord who died for our sins. Now, we are awaiting, through that silence, for the most glorious, solemn, and bright Feast that comes after it. Those were words of our spiritual Father of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America, his Eminence Archbishop Daniel.
After service Archbishop Daniel told people about one tradition, he sticks to, that is to crawl to the Holy Shroud. The whole Church did it following the example of his Eminence. It was very prayerful. After that everyone left church with the subtle note of sorrow, but with great hope in resurrection.
By Seminarian Reader Maksym Zhuravchyk
Photos by Subdeacon Yaroslav Bilohan and Olena Lymar