From Palm Sunday to the Glorious Resurrection. This page will help guide you through the steps of our Lord Jesus Christ as we progress through Holy Week. You’ll find everything you need to participate, understand, and to fully benefit from Holy Week.

Daily Guides
10 steps to help you benefit from Holy Week
10 steps to help you benefit from Holy Week

The Lectionary of Holy Week

This English Holy Week Lectionary is a collection of scripture readings appointed for each day of the Holy Week. Use this PDF to follow  the services throughout the week.

Also available as an iBook for iPhone or iPad 

Lectionary of Holy Week Preview

Church Tradition

During Holy Week the Church lives the entire passion of Christ. We do, within the confines of the church building, what the early Christians did in Jerusalem every year during this week. The early Christians used to celebrate Holy Week by visiting and praying at each site where the events had originally taken place.

The early Church had understood the great importance of Holy Week and took several steps to devote this week to the Lord. The level of asceticism (fasting, prayer, metanias, vigil) was at its maximum. They only ate bread and salt, abstaining from any cooked food or dessert. They considered it inappropriate to taste anything sweet while commemorating the suffering of the Lord and also tried to avoid the distractions of cooking. Most Christians also abstained from food from Good Friday until Easter service, spending the whole week in the church.

Emperor Theodosuis, a Christian king, ordered a universal holiday during this time so that all those working within the government or private business sector could assemble in prayer and devotion as one family. Prisoners were even set free to go to Church and join in the ceremonial prayers.

Our blessed Church has set the schedule of prayers and readings to correspond with the journey, the teaching, and the events that lead up to the crucifixion. The hymns, sermons and meditations are so expositive that the catechumens used to learn the entire story of Christ during this one week.

Church Setting 

Under the Old Testament law, the sin offering was to be burned outside of the camp so that the camp would not be defiled by the sins of the congregations (Leviticus 4:12, 21). In a similar manner, Christ had taken away the sins of the world outside of Jerusalem. The Church follows the example of the Old Testament and Christ’s sacrifice by celebrating all of the prayers of Pascha outside of the main church, the altar. Instead, the Holy Week prayers are done in the middle section of the church. No one enters the Altar because the Lord Christ’s suffering and crucifixion took place outside of Jerusalem. As St. Paul explains, we go outside the camp: “Let us go forth therefore unto Him outside the camp bearing His reproach.” (Hebrews 13:13). We do not go near the sanctuary, for we remember how the door to the heavens were closed before the crucifixion. We enter with Him on Holy Thursday, as we relive the mystical Supper. Then we continue with Him for the remainder of the events in Jerusalem.

Daily Guides

These guides are designed to be read between services of Holy Week