Orthodox Holy Week Begins

Editor’s note: Easter is coming a week later this year for Orthodox churches than Western churches. Philip LeMasters, priest at St. Luke’s Orthodox Church in Abilene, explains why and gives a list of services at the church. The church is located at 501 Sunset Drive. All are welcome.


The Orthodox Church celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ this year on April 24, a week later than other churches.  That is because of the differences between the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the respective lunar cycles used to set the date of Easter.  Orthodox Christians refer to Easter as “Pascha,” meaning Passover, because Christ’s resurrection is our Passover from death to life.  

Philip LeMasters

Orthodox Holy Week includes many beautiful services, beginning on the Friday evening before Palm Sunday and continuing until Pascha.  They help us enter into the great mystery of the crucifixion, death, descent to hades, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Doing so requires time, effort, and disorienting ourselves from our usual routines in order to follow the Savior to the cross and empty tomb.  

The schedule for Holy Week is posted below and available at www.stlukeorthodox.net.  Services will also be livestreamed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP7KFlgkXZoDfIpgS3KKp4Q.  Everyone is welcome to worship with us at Saint Luke Orthodox Christian Church, 501 Sunset Drive, Abilene, throughout Orthodox Holy Week and at other times also.  

Father Philip LeMasters is the pastor of Saint Luke Orthodox Church and also is a professor of religion at McMurry University.  He posts his weekly homilies at https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/easternchristianinsights.

Holy Week at St. Luke Orthodox Christian Church

4/15:  Little Compline with Canon for St. Lazarus, 6 pm
4/16:  Divine Liturgy for St. Lazarus, 9 am; 5:30 pm, Great Vespers for Palm Sunday
4/17: Palm Sunday: 9:40 am, Hours; 10 am, Divine Liturgy; 6 pm, Bridegroom Matins
4/18: Holy Monday: 6 pm, Bridegroom Matins 
4/19:  Holy Tuesday: 6 pm, Bridegroom Matins 
4/20:  Holy Wednesday: 6 pm, Holy Unction 4/21: Holy Thursday, 6 pm, Service of the Twelve Passion Gospels 
4/22:  Holy Friday: 10 am, Royal Hours; 3:30 pm, Great Vespers of Taking Down from the Cross; 6 pm, Lamentations at the Tomb
4/23: Holy Saturday: 10 am, Vesperal Divine Liturgy with Baptisms 
10 pm:  Paschal Matins and Divine Liturgy [This is the main service of Orthodox Easter.]4/24:  Pascha, Noon, Agape Vespers.  

One comment

  • I don’t know how you keep up with such a busy schedule–church and school. I remember visiting your church for a program on Icons. You have a beautiful facility.


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