By Archimandrite Photios Gavrielatou
In every corner of the Orthodox universe, at the time when the trembling voice of the humble priest is heard saying, "today is hung on wood", all of creation kneels before the sight of the Crucified God.
At that time the love of God is crucified and sacrificed, eyes begin to flow with tears, the heart beats endlessly before the greatness of the icon of the Blameless One.
At that time every hurting soul kneels and offers the roses of forgiveness of the human race.
Christ ascends the path of martyrdom alone, tired, with open wounds from torture, his eyes barely distinguishing the road, and the voices of the people wound Him even more. With sharpness they express their contempt! It's as if they saw nothing good from His love. Could they not recognize Him? They never felt His mercy! This is why with anguish in His heart He says: "My people, what have I done to you?" And of course: "What do you offer Me instead?"
On the Cross our Lord embraces every hurting soul and heals it with love. High up there God works out our salvation. Up there on the wood of Lot's repentance, up there He considers and saves humanity. Up there He signs a new contract with all of us.
Instead of a pen, a Cross. Instead of paper, His all-holy Body. Instead of ink, His precious Blood. This is how God signs His signature. And what will we give Him? Probably our best gift - our souls.
"The Entombment of the Body of God"
In the divine Drama, the tragedy of the Passion, known persons played a key role in the development of the events. Each person from their position reveals the character of their society then as well as today.
A figure who is glossed over from the sacred story, Pilate, the ruler who could not stand up to the height of the circumstance but rather appeared below it, was a mouthpiece of the Pharisees who threatened him. Eventually he gave in to their lawless designs.
Peter eventually tasted his own fall through his denial, conquered by even a weak child, and his weeping shows the sensing of his wrong.
But there is one person who stands apart, a gracious and courteous figure who comes to show us that in love there is no fear. He asks with strength for the body of the Lord, he receives it, since they first gave him, we would say today, the death certificate through the centurion.
Within the darkness of that day, after all that happened, a cry tears at your heart, the cry of pain, it is like a knife that cuts a soul into pieces, when a mother loses her child. Mother Panagia could not be but torn over the wrongful death of her child, since she also was a mother, although she knew that she held God in her hands.
Although she was the Theotokos she never lost her identity as a parent. For her this was always her child!
Our Lord is prepared, according to custom, with respect and love, and is led to His tomb.
The stranger now has a residence. His wounded body has a place to rest.
The stone of the tomb seals the door, not forever, but for a little while.
Whatever the lawless attempt to do, whatever designs they implement, they cannot stop the victory over death, because all of us await with hope, the Resurrection of Christ!
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.