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Holy Week and Pascha 2013: St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church Tampa, FL

Christ is Risen! Our Holy Week journey in 2013 in Tampa brought a few new “twists.” For many years, as in many parishes, we have the Good Friday custom of the “Myrrh-bearers.” This year we inaugurated a new ministry, called “the Maidens,” who stood vigil at the Icon of the Nymphios (Bridegroom) on Palm Sunday, Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday evenings. Holy Thursday evening and into Good Friday morning were particularly moving. For the service of the 12 Gospels on Holy Thursday Night, for the first time we commemorated the Passion of Christ in front of a packed church! Following this service, our Seminarian, Charlie Hambos, led the first ever all-night Vigil at the foot of the cross. Over 20 parishioners participated, reading from the Psalms throughout the night and into the morning. The “Vigil” finished with the service of the Royal Hours, so in total, from 6:30 p.m. on Holy Thursday until 11:00 a.m. on Good Friday, there were 16.5 hours of continuous prayer and worship in our church—the longest service in its history. Good Friday celebrations included our Sunday school retreat, which had over 50 children in attendance. On Holy Saturday, the Paschal Light was given to three women of our parish to distribute to the faithful, as the choir gathered on the solea to chant “Come Receive the Light” before our procession outside. A memorable and meaningful celebration of Holy Week and Pascha was experienced by all.

Our parish of St. John the Baptist numbers approximately 360 families and is very youth-oriented. With 140 children in our Sunday school and about 30 baptisms a year, our church continues to grow and radiate the Light of the Resurrected Christ. If your journeys bring you to the Tampa Bay area, please stop by and visit us!

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis
St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church

For more on our parish life please visit us at:
St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church Tampa, FL