STATION AT HOLY CROSS IN JERUSALEM
(Indulgence of 30 years and 30 quarantines)
DOUBLE OF THE FIRST CLASS
THE MASS OF THE CATECHUMENS
The Service of this morning consists of four parts, which we now proceed to explain. First of all, we have the Lessons; next, the Prayers; thirdly, the Veneration of the Cross; and lastly, the Mass of the Presanctified. These solemn and unusual rites announce to the Faithful the sacredness of this Day, as also the suspension of the daily Sacrifice, for which they are substituted. The Altar is stripped; the Cross is covered with a black veil; the Candles are of yellow wax; — everything in the Sanctuary bespeaks mournfulness. As soon as the Choir have recited None, the Celebrant and sacred Ministers approach the Altar; their black Vestments denote the grief of holy Church. Being come to the foot of the Altar, they prostrate, and pray in silence, whilst the Acolytes cover the Altar with a single cloth, instead of the three which are always required when Mass is celebrated. The Celebrant and Ministers then rise, and the Lessons are begun.
FIRST PART: THE LESSONS
The first portion of this morning’s function consists of two prophetic passages from the Old Testament, and of the Passion according to St. John. The passage from the Prophet Osee tells us of the merciful designs of God in favour of his new people, the Gentiles, who were dead, and who, nevertheless, were to rise again, in three days, with Christ, whom they do not so much as yet know. Ephraim and Juda are to be treated otherwise: their material sacrifices have not been acceptable to a God, who loves mercy above every other gift, and rejects the offerings of those whose hearts are filled with bitterness.
FIRST LESSON – Osee 6: 1-6
Thus saith the Lord: In their affliction they will rise early to Me: Come, and let us return to the Lord, for He hath taken us, and He will heal us, He will strike, and He will cure us. He will revive us after two days: on the third day He will raise us up and we shall live in His sight. We shall know and we shall follow on, that we may know the Lord. His going forth is prepared as the morning light and He will come to us as the early and the latter rain to the earth. What shall I do to thee, O Ephraim? What shall I do to thee, O Juda? Your mercy is as a morning cloud and as the dew that goeth away in the morning. For this reason have I hewed them by the Prophets, I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgements shall go forth as the light. For I desired mercy and not sacrifice: and the knowledge of God more than holocausts.
The Tract is taken from the Canticle of the Prophet Habacuc (Habakkuk), and which we have already sung at Lauds. It foretells the second coming of Christ, when he shall come, in glory and majesty, to judge them that have crucified him.
TRACT – Habacuc (Habakkuk) 3: 2-3
O Lord, I have heard Thy hearing and was afraid: I have considered Thy works and trembled. In the midst of two animals Thou shalt be made known: when the years shall draw nigh Thou shalt be known: when the time shall come, Thou shalt be manifested. When my soul shall be in trouble, Thou wilt remember mercy, even in Thy wrath. God will come from Libanus, and the Holy One from the shady and thickly covered mountain. His majesty covered the heavens: and the earth is full of His praise.
The Church sums up, in the following Collect, the prayers of her children. She reminds our heavenly Father of his justice towards Judas and his mercy towards the Good Thief, and begs, that every remnant of the old man may be removed from us, and we rise again with our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Deacon says: Let us kneel down.
The Subdeacon: Stand up again.
O God, from whom Judas received the punishment of his guilt, and the thief the reward of his confession: grant unto us the full fruit of Thy clemency; that even as in His Passion, our Lord Jesus Christ gave to each a retribution according to his merits, so having taken away our old sins, He may bestow upon us the grace of His Resurrection. Who with Thee liveth and reigneth.
The second Lesson now follows. It is taken from the book of Exodus, and describes to us the ancient rite of the Paschal Lamb, which was the figure of the reality that is given to us to-day. It is to be a Lamb without spot or blemish. Its blood has the power of preserving from death those whose dwellings are sprinkled with it. It is not only to be immolated; it is to be eaten by them that have been saved by it. It is to be the food of the wayfarer; and they who partake of it must stand whilst they eat, like unto men who have no time to lose during this passing life. Its immolation is the signal of the Pasch; — the immolation of our Emmanuel, the Lamb of God, is the signal of our Pasch
SECOND LESSON – Exodus 12: 1-11
In those days the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall be to you the beginning of months: it shall be the first in the months of the year. Speak ye to the whole assembly of the children of Israel, and say to them: On the tenth day of this month let every man take a lamb by their families and houses. But if the number be less than may suffice to eat the lamb, he shall take unto him his neighbour that joineth to his house, according to the number of souls which may be enough to eat the lamb. And it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male, of one year: according to which rite also you shall take a kid. And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month: and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening. And they shall take of blood thereof, and put it upon both the side posts, and on the upper door posts of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh that night roasted at the fire: and unleavened bread with wild lettuce. You shall not eat thereof any thing raw, nor boiled in water, but only roasted at the fire. You shall eat the head with the feet and entrails thereof. Neither shall there remain any thing of it until morning. If there be any thing left, you shall burn it with fire. And thus you shall eat it: You shall gird your reins, and you shall have shoes on your feet, holding staves in your hands, and you shall eat in haste; for it is the Phase (that is the Passage) of the Lord.
This magnificent prophecy is followed by a Tract taken from the 139th Psalm, in which the Church represents our Redeemer, (who has been betrayed into the hands of his enemies,) praying to his Eternal Father.
TRACT – Psalm 139: 2-10, 14
Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: rescue me from the unjust man. Who have devised iniquities in their hearts: all the day long they designed battles. They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; the venom of asps is under their lips. Keep me, O Lord, from the hand of the wicked: and from unjust men deliver me. Who have proposed to supplant my steps. The proud have hidden a net for me. And they have stretched out cords for a snare for my feet; they have laid for me a stumbling block by the wayside. I said to the Lord: Thou art my God. Hear, O Lord, the voice of my supplication. O Lord, Lord, the strength of my salvation: overshadow my head in the day of battle. Give me not up from my desire to the wicked: they have plotted against me. Do not Thou forsake me, lest at any time they should triumph. The head of them compassing me about: the labour of their lips shall overwhelm them. But the just shall give glory to Thy Name: and the upright shall dwell with Thy countenance.
The Prophets have prepared us for the fulfilment of their types. Holy Church is now going to relate to us the history of our Saviour’s Passion. It is St. John, the fourth of the Evangelists, and an eye-witness of what took place on Calvary, who is about to describe to us the last moments of Jesus’ mortal life. Let us be all attention, and beg our Lord to give us something of that devotion, which filled the soul of his Beloved Disciple as he stood at the foot of the Cross.
THE PASSION – John 18: 1-40; 19: 1-42
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. John
The apprehension of Jesus
At that time Jesus went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where there was a garden, into which he entered with his disciples. And Judas also, who betrayed him, knew the place; because Jesus had often resorted thither together with his disciples. Judas therefore having received a band of soldiers and servants from the chief priests and the Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said to them: Whom seek ye? They answered him: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith to them: I am he. And Judas also, who betrayed him, stood with them. As soon therefore as he had said to them: I am he; they went backward, and fell to the ground. Again therefore he asked them: Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he. If therefore you seek me, let these go their way. That the word might be fulfilled which he said: Of them whom thou hast given me, I have not lost any one. Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it, and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And the name of the servant was Malchus. Jesus therefore said to Peter: Put up thy sword into the scabbard. The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? Then the band and the tribune, and the servants of the Jews, took Jesus, and bound him: And they led him away to Annas first, for he was father in law to Caiphas, who was the high priest of that year.
Jesus at the palace of the High Priest
Now Caiphas was he who had given the counsel to the Jews: That it was expedient that one man should die for the people. And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. And that disciple was known to the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the court of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. The other disciple therefore, who was known to the high priest, went out, and spoke to the portress, and brought in Peter. The maid therefore that was portress, saith to Peter: Art not thou also one of this man’ s disciples? He saith: I am not. Now the servants and ministers stood at a fire of coals, because it was cold, and warmed themselves. And with them was Peter also, standing, and warming himself. The high priest therefore asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him: I have spoken openly to the world: I have always taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither all the Jews resort; and in secret I have spoken nothing. Why asketh thou me? ask them who have heard what I have spoken unto them: behold they know what things I have said. And when he had said these things, one of the servants standing by, gave Jesus a blow, saying: Answerest thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him: If I have spoken evil, give testimony of the evil; but if well, why strikest thou me? And Annas sent him bound to Caiphas the high priest. And Simon Peter was standing, and warming himself. They said therefore to him: Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said: I am not. One of the servants of the high priest (a kinsman to him whose ear Peter cut off) saith to him: Did I not see thee in the garden with him? Again therefore Peter denied; and immediately the cock crew.
Jesus before Pilate
Then they led Jesus from Caiphas to the governor’s hall. And it was morning; and they went not into the hall, that they might not be defiled, but that they might eat the pasch. Pilate therefore went out to them, and said: What accusation bring you against this man? They answered, and said to him: If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up to thee. Pilate therefore said to them: Take him you, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said to him: It is not lawful for us to put any man to death; that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he said, signifying what death he should die. Pilate therefore went into the hall again, and called Jesus, and said to him: Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus answered: Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have others told it thee of me? Pilate answered: Am I a Jew? Thy own nation, and the chief priests, have delivered thee up to me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from hence. Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice. Pilate saith to him: What is truth? And when he said this, he went out again to the Jews, and saith to them: I find no cause in him. But you have a custom that I should release one unto you at the pasch: will you, therefore, that I release unto you the king of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying: Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber. Then therefore, Pilate took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platting a crown of thorns, put it upon his head; and they put on him a purple garment. And they came to him, and said: Hail, king of the Jews; and they gave him blows. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith to them: Behold, I bring him forth unto you, that you may know that I find no cause in him. (Jesus therefore came forth, bearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment.) And he saith to them: Behold the Man. When the chief priests, therefore, and the servants, had seen him, they cried out, saying: Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith to them: Take him you, and crucify him: for I find no cause in him. The Jews answered him: We have a law; and according to the law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore had heard this saying, he feared the more. And he entered into the hall again, and he said to Jesus: Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore saith to him: Speakest thou not to me?knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and I have power to release thee?
Jesus answered: Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore, he that hath delivered me to thee, hath the greater sin. And from henceforth Pilate sought to release him. But the Jews cried out, saying: If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar’s friend. For whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar. Now when Pilate had heard these words, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat, in the place that is called Lithostrotos, and in Hebrew Gabbatha. And it was the parasceve of the pasch, about the sixth hour, and he saith to the Jews: Behold your king. But they cried out: Away with him; away with him; crucify him. Pilate saith to them: Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered: We have no king but Caesar.
Then therefore he delivered him to them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him forth. And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha. Where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title also, and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title therefore many of the Jews did read: because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am the King of the Jews. Pilate answered: What I have written, I have written. The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified him, took his garments, (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part,) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said then one to another: Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the scripture might be fulfilled, saying: They have parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they have cast lots. And the soldiers indeed did these things. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.
The death of Christ
Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst. Now there was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar and hyssop, put it to his mouth. Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost.
Here all kneel for a few moments and, if such be the custom of the place, they prostrate and kiss the ground.
Then the Jews, (because it was the parasceve,) that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath day, (for that was a great sabbath day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came; and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it, hath given testimony, and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true; that you also may believe. For these things were done, that the scripture might be fulfilled: You shall not break a bone of him. And again another scripture saith: They shall look on him whom they pierced.
The Burial of Jesus
And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus also came, (he who at the first came to Jesus by night,) bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pound weight. They took therefore the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now there was in the place where he was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre was nigh at hand.