Today – The Cross

Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung on a tree.
The King of the angels is decked with a crown of thorns.
He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery.
He who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped in the face.
The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the cross with nails.
The Son of the Virgin is pierced by a spear.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
Show us also Thy glorious resurrection.

He who clothes Himself with light as with a garment stood naked for trial.
He was struck on the cheek by hands that He himself had formed.
A people that transgressed the Law
Nailed the Lord of Glory to the cross.

Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
Then the sun was darkened,
Unable to bear the sight of God outraged,
Before Whom all things tremble.
Let us worship Him.

The disciples denied Him,
But the thief cried out:
“Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom!”

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.





21 responses to “Today – The Cross”

  1. Wolfgang Conrad Eisenhut Avatar
    Wolfgang Conrad Eisenhut

    Where I can find the Orthodox Catholic Review of the pioneer of Western Orthodoxy Julian Joseph Overbeck (1821-1905), formaly a Roman priest and after an orthodox layman ? With my thanks in advance.

  2. Fr. Stephen Avatar

    I don’t know. Sorry.

  3. Matthew Avatar

    I am wishing all of you well. Sadly I cannot attend the Pascha service here in my city. I don´t have a car and it begins too late for me on Saturday evening. 🙁

    A friend texted me today from England (he is an Anglican I think) to say that Archbishop Justin Welby announced that it is Holy/Good Friday in the Orthodox Church. He knows the path I am on and is very supportive.

    The Orthodox understanding of what happened at the cross and what it means is so beautiful. Thanks everyone once again.

  4. Michael Bauman Avatar
    Michael Bauman

    Matthew, Our Lord be with you. My wife and I cannot attend either because we live out in the boonies and have trouble with reduced visibility after dark. May flights of angels be with you and your family to gather you into His Heart and give you Life.

  5. Matthew Avatar

    Thank you so much Michael! Same for you and your family.

  6. Janine Avatar

    So beautiful. It is wonderful that hymns are treasures that teach us so much. Mystical poetry!

  7. Fr. Stephen Avatar

    Many do not realize the depths of the poetic theology in Orthodox services – we sing texts written by the greatest of saints/theologians. The services, on the whole, a deeper and greater than any theological writings, for the most part, but are written as worship, the heart-offering of our selves to God. Matchless.

  8. Gé van Gasteren Avatar
    Gé van Gasteren

    To Wolfgang Conrad Eisenhut:

    Not being able to find The Orthodox Catholic Review, I can only share two publications I came across on my search:

    Catholic orthodoxy and Anglo-Catholicism : a word about intercommunion between the English and the Orthodox Churches
    by Overbeck, Julian Joseph, 1866

    A plain view of the claims of the Orthodox Catholic Church as opposed to all other Christian denominations
    Issue 77 (1881)

  9. Dianne Avatar

    and like the thief, I cry, ” Lord, remember me in Thy kingdom!” I have been reading all the morning services this week, due to our normal reader being home with a new baby. Finally arriving at Holy Friday, the drama of our Lord’s Passion is encompassing me. Those who railed against Him, and nailed Him to the cross, were formed by His hands. That thought catches me every time. He is All, and I am nothing.

  10. Fr Christodoulos Fyles Avatar
    Fr Christodoulos Fyles

    Thank you Fr Stephen. as a fellow priest I am often moved to tears by simply reading these texts, and when I am in the services I am definitely weeping as I conduct them.

    God Bless all of you praying at Pascha,

    Greetings from England !
    Fr Christodoulos

  11. Byron Avatar

    The disciples denied Him,
    But the thief cried out:
    “Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom!”

    Wow. This resonates.


    Wishing everyone a great Resurrection. It is so sad to see so many faces in church only on Holy Friday and Pascha. Where are these people on Sundays and other feast-days? What has happened since the pandemic? What should have been a wake-up call has been the opposite. Lord, save your people.

  13. Michael Bauman Avatar
    Michael Bauman

    May God bless and keep you Dimitri. In my own experience after 37 years in the Holy Church only 3 things keep me away: I am lazy and figure I will go next week; Something in the world gets my attention and passions (even minor ones) are more important; I physically hurt and/or got no sleep!; there is a bro/sis parishioner I do not want to see. Apathy.

    Some folks do not come because they are scared and/or angry.

    In any case I always miss something when I do not go. Please pray for me that I do not miss any more.

  14. hélène d. Avatar
    hélène d.

    P.Stephen, reading your response to Janine, my heart rejoiced, because that is exactly it !
    Living near a monastery, I benefit from the services of the week and Sunday and how many times I have been seized by the poetry of the texts, the prayer that rises from deep within, the dynamic of the song which awakens the soul ! It is truly an offering to God !
    Happy and holy feast of the Resurrection !

  15. Joan Moulton Avatar
    Joan Moulton

    I could only read this by singing it. Fifty-one years since coming into the Orthodox Church and so much of the poetry of the Church is music in my head. This morning, Holy Saturday, my husband said he did not sleep well but the music from yesterday’s vespers and music was going through his head. I had had the same experience. In prospectus, Christ is risen!

  16. Matthew Avatar

    He is risen indeed!

  17. Michael Bauman Avatar
    Michael Bauman

    Christ is Risen!!!

  18. Kenneth Avatar

    Indeed He is risen!!

    “By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh…. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven…. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.”

    – From St. John Chrysostom’s Paschal Sermon

  19. Matthew Avatar

    It was a wonderful day.

    Although I was not able to attend the evening-into-the-early-morning Pascha service at our Greek Orthodox Church, I did go to the Sunday afternoon celebration today. What a delight! The church was absolutely packed, so much so that I could barely see into the nave. The street was lined with booths offering Greek food, there were families everywhere, there was traditional Greek music and dancing and more!

    I was able to say “Christos Anesti” (Christ is Risen) to the bishop and we exchanged a few kind words. My wife went with me and although she is not open to the Orthodox church, I think I can safely say she really enjoyed the Pascha celebration. I thought to myself, wow, is this how it is going to be when God is all in all? Every nation and tribe worshipping God the King in their own cultural way? What a beautiful foretaste of what is to come I hope.

    In my typical western German tradition, although the Easter church service is wonderful, afterwards we simply head to a restaurant with close family. This experience of celebrating the Resurrection as a community in the streets really moved me! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

  20. marybenton Avatar

    A blessed Pascha to you all. He is risen indeed!

  21. Fr. Stephen Avatar

    May you be blessed!

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  1. Greetings, Father Stephen, Thank you so much for this reflection and all of the tremendous amount of work you have…

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