O Lord, keep not Thy help far from me; look to my defense: deliver me from the lion’s mouth, and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns. (Psalm) O God, my God, look upon me: why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins. O Lord, keep not…
O almighty and everlasting God, Who didst cause our Savior to take upon Him our flesh and to undergo the cross, for an example of humility to be imitated by mankind: mercifully grant that we may deserve to possess not only the lesson of His patience, but also the fellowship of His Resurrection. Through the same our Lord.
Epistle – Philippians 2:5-11
Brethren, let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above all names (genuflect) that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.
Thou hast held me by my right hand; and by Thy will Thou hast conducted me, and with Thy glory Thou hast received me. How good is God to Israel, to them that are of a right heart! But my feet were almost moved, my steps had well-nigh slipped, because I was jealous of the wicked, seeing the prosperity of sinners.
O God, my God, look upon me: why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins. O my God, I shall cry by day, and Thou wilt not hear; and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me. But Thou dwellest in the holy place, and praise of Israel. In Thee have our fathers hoped; they have hoped, and Thou hast delivered them. They cried to Thee, and they were saved; they trusted in Thee, and were not confounded.
But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men and the outcast of the people. All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn; they have spoken with the lips and wagged the head. He hoped in the Lord, let Him deliver Him; let Him save Him, seeing He delighteth in Him. But they have looked and stared upon me: they parted my garments amongst them, and upon my vesture they cast lots. Save me from the lion’s mouth, and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns. Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify Him. There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come: and the heavens shall show forth His justice. To a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made.
Gospel – Matthew 26:36-75, 27:1-60
At that time Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani; and He said to His disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray. And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to grow sorrowful and to be sad. Then he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death; stay you here and watch with Me.
And going a little further, He fell upon His face, praying, and saying: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt. And He cometh to His disciples, and findeth them asleep. And He saith to Peter: What! Could you not watch one hour with Me? Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak. Again the second time, He went and prayed, saying: My Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, Thy will be done. And He cometh again, and findeth them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And leaving them, He went again, and He prayed the third time, saying the selfsame word. Then He cometh to His disciples, and saith to them: Sleep ye now and take your rest; behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go: behold, he is at hand that will betray Me.
As He yet spoke, behold Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the ancients of the people. And he that betrayed Him gave them a sign, saying: Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is He; hold Him fast. And forthwith coming to Jesus, he said: Hail, Rabbi. And he kissed Him. And Jesus said to him: Friend, whereto art thou come?
Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus, and held Him. And behold one of them that were with Jesus, stretching forth his hand, drew out his sword, and striking the servant of the High Priest, cut off his ear. Then Jesus saith to him: Put up again thy sword into its place; for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot ask My Father, and He will give Me presently more than twelve legions of Angels? How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that so it must be done? In that same hour Jesus said to the multitudes: You are come out, as it were to a robber, with swords and clubs to apprehend Me. I sat daily with you, teaching in the Temple, and you laid not hands on Me. Now all this was done that the Scriptures of the Prophets might be fulfilled. Then the disciples, all leaving Him, fled.
But they holding Jesus, led Him to Caiphas the High Priest, where the scribes and the ancients were assembled. And Peter followed Him afar off, even to the court of the High Priest. And going in, he sat with the servants, that he might see the end. And the chief priests and the whole council sought false witness against Jesus, that they might put Him to death. And they found not, whereas many false witnesses had come in. And last of all there came two false witnesses; and they said: This man said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and after three days to rebuild it. And the High Priest, rising up, said to Him: Answerest Thou nothing to the things which these witness against Thee? But Jesus held His peace. And the High Priest said to Him: I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us if Thou be the Christ the Son of God. Jesus saith to him: Thou hast said it. Nevertheless I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming upon the clouds of heaven. Then the High Priests rent his garments, saying: He hath blasphemed; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now you have heard the blasphemy. What think you? But they answering said: He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in His face and buffeted Him: and others struck His face with the palms of their hands, saying: Prophesy unto us, O Christ, who is he that struck Thee?
But Peter sat without in the court, and there came to him a servant-maid, saying: Thou also wast with Jesus the Galilean. But he denied before them all, saying: I know not what thou sayest. And as he went out of the gate, another maid saw him, and she said to them that were there: This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath: I know not the man. And after a little while, they came that stood by and said to Peter: Surely thou also art one of them, for even thy speech doth discover thee. Then he began to curse and to swear that he knew not the man; and immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus which He had said: Before the cock crow, thou wilt deny Me thrice. And going forth, he wept bitterly.
And when morning was come, all the chief priests and ancients of the people took counsel against Jesus, that they might put Him to death. And they brought Him bound, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor. Then Judas, who betrayed Him, seeing that He was condemned, repenting himself, brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and ancients, saying: I have sinned in betraying innocent blood. But they said: What is that to us? Look thou to it. And casting down the pieces of silver in the Temple, he departed, and went and hanged himself with an halter.
But the chief priests having taken the pieces of silver, said: It is not lawful to put them into the corbona, because it is the price of blood. And after they had consulted together, they bought with them the potter’s field, to be a burying-place for strangers. For this cause the field was called Haceldama, that is, the field of blood, even to this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him that was prized, Whom they prized of the children of Israel; and they gave them unto the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed to me.
And Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked Him, saying: Art Thou the King of the Jews? Jesus saith to him: Thou sayest it. And when He was accused by the chief priests and ancients, He answered nothing. Then Pilate saith to Him: Dost not Thou hear how great testimonies they allege against Thee? And He answered him to never a word; so that the governor wondered exceedingly.
Now upon the solemn day the governor was accustomed to release to the people one prisoner, whom they would. And he had then a notorious prisoner that was called Barabbas. They therefore being gathered together, Pilate said: Whom will you that I release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus that is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered Him. And as he was sitting in the place of judgment his wife sent to him, saying: Have thou nothing to do with that just man, for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him. But the chief priests and ancients persuaded the people that they should ask for Barabbas, and take Jesus away.
And the governor answering, said to them: Whether will you of the two to be released unto you? But they said: Barabbas. Pilate saith to them: What shall I do then with Jesus that is called Christ? They say all: Let Him be crucified. The governor said to them: Why, what evil hath He done? But they cried out the more, saying: Let Him be crucified. And Pilate seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, taking water washed his hands before the people, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man; look you to it. And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and our children. Then he released to them Barabbas: and having scourged Jesus, delivered Him unto them to be crucified.
Then the soldiers of the governor, taking Jesus into the hall, gathered together unto Him the whole band; and stripping Him they put a scarlet cloak about Him. And platting a crown of thorns they put it upon His head and a reed in His right hand. And bowing the knee before Him, they mocked Him, saying: Hail, King of the Jews. And spitting upon Him, they took the reed and struck His head. And after they had mocked Him, they took off the cloak from Him, and put on Him His own garments, and led Him away to crucify Him.
And going out, they found a man of Cyrene, named Simon; him they forced to take up His cross. And they came to the place that is called Golgotha, which is the place of Calvary. And they gave Him wine to drink mingled with gall. And when He had tasted He would not drink. And after they had crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: They divided My garments among them, and upon My vesture they cast lots. And they sat and watched Him. And they put over His head His cause written: This is Jesus the King of the Jews. Then were crucified with Him two thieves: one on the right hand and one on the left. And they that passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads, and saying: Vah, Thou that destroyest the temple of God and in three days dost rebuild it, save Thine own self. If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. In like manner also the chief priests with the scribes and ancients, mocking, said: He saved others, Himself He cannot save; if He be the king of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him; He trusted in God, let Him now deliver Him if He will have Him; for He said: I am the Son of God. And the self-same thing the thieves also that were crucified with Him reproached Him with.
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over the whole earth, until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? That is, My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? And some that stood there and heard said: This man calleth Elias. And immediately one of them running took a sponge and filled it with vinegar and put it on a reed and gave Him to drink. And the others said: Let be; let us see whether Elias will come to deliver Him. And Jesus again crying with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
(All kneel for a few moments)
And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom; and the earth quaked and the rocks were rent; and the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose, and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection, came into the holy city, and appeared to many. Now the centurion and they that were with him watching Jesus, having seen the earthquake and the things that were done, were sore afraid, saying: Indeed this was the Son of God. And there were there many women afar off, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto Him: among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
And when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded that the body should be delivered. And Joseph taking the body wrapt it up in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new monument, which he had hewed out in a rock. And he rolled a great stone to the door of the monument, and went his way.
My heart hath expected reproach and misery, and I looked for one that would grieve together with Me, but there was none; I sought for one that would comfort Me, and I found none; and they gave Me gall for My food, and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the gifts offered in the sight of Thy Majesty, may procure us the grace of devotion and the reward of a blessed eternity. Through our Lord.
Preface of the Holy Cross
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to Thee, holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: Who didst establish the salvation of mankind on the tree of the cross: that whence death rose, thence also life might rise again, and that he overcame by a tree, by a tree also might be overcome: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the hosts of heaven with blessed Seraphim unite, exult, and celebrate. And we entreat that Thou wouldst bid our voices to be heard with theirs, singing with lowly praise:
Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, Thy will be done.
By the operation of this mystery, O Lord, may our vices be removed, and our just desires fulfilled. Through our Lord.