The services of the Orthodox Christian's Holy Week, the last week before Easter are not just moving, they are also utterly beautiful.
Just listen to this prayer, sung on Holy Friday during a service that remembers the unnailing of Jesus from the cross. It was composed by Sergey Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), a world-renown composer, pianist and conductor.
Orthodox Christians approach Easter with an intensity and seriousness that cannot be overstated. They believe Easter is much more important Christmas, and prepare for it accordingly.
A 40-day fasting period of long prayer services, repentance, self-restraint and self-discipline prepares them for the brilliance of Resurrection.
This preparation reaches a zenith during Holy Week, the last week before Easter when Christ's passion is remembered and experienced mystically through the services. During the Vespers of Holy Friday at Holy Apostles, an icon of Jesus hanging on a wooden cross was taken down and wrapped in a sheet, where it will remain until the Easter service Sunday.
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