Georgian Orthodox church marks Great Friday – What happened on this day?
06 April, 2018
Georgian Orthodox church marks Great Friday – What happened on this day?
Today marks Holy Friday also known as Great Friday or Black Friday, a day when Orthodox Christians commemorate crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This day is the hardest among the days of Holy Week that precede Easter Sunday. Holy Friday is a holiday observed primarily by adherents to Christianity commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary.

The Crucifixion of Jesus was on a Friday, the Bible says. The estimated year of Good Friday is AD 33. On
Holy Friday the Stations of the Cross are often prayed either in the church or outside, and a prayer service is held. In the afternoon, at 2 PM the parish gathers for the Vespers of the Taking-Down from the Cross, commemorating the Deposition from the Cross.
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Andrea Vaccaro’s painting of the crucifixion (Picture: Getty)

Because of the penitence and sorrow associated with the Crucifixion of Jesus, the Divine Liturgy is never celebrated on Great Friday.

Good Friday is the hardest day of the Great Lent that precedes Easter. Some believers receive blessing of the priests not to eat anything during the day, some have only bread and water.
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Good Friday is the hardest day of the Great Lent that precedes Easter

Eggs are painted red and Paska, special Easter bread symbolizing Golgotha, the mountain where Christ was crucified, is made on this day.

The egg is a symbol of eternal life, as living beings are born from them. The red color symbolizes blood, as Jesus Christ blessed the living with his blood.
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The red color of the egg symbolizes blood, as Jesus Christ blessed the living with his blood

Good Friday is a widely instituted legal holiday around the world, including in most Western countries and 12 U.S. states. Some countries, such as Germany, have laws prohibiting certain acts, such as dancing and horse racing, that are seen as profaning the solemn nature of the day.
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Paska, special Easter bread symbolizes Golgotha, the mountain where Christ was crucified

According to the Bible, on the evening before Good Friday (Maundy Thursday), Jesus told his disciples to expect his death during what’s known as the Last Supper.

He also told them that from then on, if they ate bread and drank wine they would be eating his body and drinking his blood. This is now known by some Christians as Holy Communion.
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Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

Later, one of his disciples Judas Iscariot betrayed him and this helped the royal soldiers find Jesus in Gethsemane.

Judas was given 30 silver coins for his betrayal, and he did so by kissing Jesus, pointing out to the spies nearby who they were to arrest.
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The Judas Kiss by Gustave Doré, 1866

After being arrested, Jesus was taken to the house of Annas, the father-in-law of a high priest, Caiaphas, and was interrogated.

He was then sent, bound, to Caiaphas himself, where the Sanhedrin (a group of rabbis acting as a tribunal) had assembled to question him.

Jesus remained silent at first, but when finally asked if he was the son of God, he responded: ‘You have said it, and in time you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty, coming on the clouds of Heaven.’

Meanwhile in the courtyard, Jesus’ disciple Peter denied he was the son of God to bystanders three times, just as his leader had predicted.

Ultimately Jesus’s statement meant that Caiaphas charged him with blasphemy, and that the Sanhedrin gave him the sentence of death.
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Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Ecce Homo with Jesus and Pontius Pilate, 19th century

On Friday morning he was taken to Roman governor Pontius Pilate, under the three charges of ‘subverting the nation, opposing taxes to Caesar, and making himself a king’.

Pilate told the Jewish authorities to sentence him according to their laws, but they responded that by Roman law they could not sentence him to death.

What followed was a back and forth between Pilate and King Herod of Galilee, neither of whom thought Jesus should be sentenced to death, but merely whipped and released.

However, at the time there was a Passover custom that required Pilate to ask the gathered crowd to decide which prisoner out of two was to be released from custody.

When this happened, the crowd – under the guidance of the chief priests – asked for Barabbas, an insurrectionary who had been imprisoned for committing murder, to be released and Jesus to be crucified.
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The Pieta (The Pity; 1498–1499), a work by Michelangelo Buonarroti

Under the crowd’s will Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified in order to stop a riot and ultimately to keep his job. A crown of thorns was placed on Jesus’ head, then he was whipped and bound to a wooden cross.

Jesus then had to carry his cross to the site of execution (assisted by Simon of Cyrene). There, he was crucified along with two criminals. Crucifixion was a common punishment of the day.

He was alive on the cross for six hours and for the last three, darkness is said to have fallen across the land. Jesus is said to have risen from the tomb on Sunday, which is the day which Christians celebrate his resurrection.

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