THE ENGOMIA OF THEOTOKOS IN GETHSMEMANE
On the morning of Wednesday, the 14th/27th of August 2014, the service of the Engomia (Lamentations) of the Mother of God was held in Gethsemane, at her tomb.
The service, unique in the Orthodox Church, began with a long procession of Hagiotaphite Fathers, priests of the Orthodox Churches and pilgrims, from the Patriarchate to the Hegoumen’s Quarters in Gethsemane. The procession went across the Via Dolorosa, passed by the Monasteries of St Charalambos, the Praetorium, Sts Joachim and Anna, came out of the Lions Gate and walked through the Monastery of St Stephen.
At the Hegoumen’s Quarters, His Beatitude and Primates sat until the arrival of priests who, dressed in formal attire, took their places in the court of the Gethsemane Shrine and welcomed the Patriarch.
After blessing the incense, His Beatitude walked into the Church, following the priests and cantors under the direction of the Head Cantor of the Church of the Resurrection, Archimandrite Aristovoulos.
After venerating at the Tomb of the Mother of God, His Beatitude rose to the Throne. Once the Epitaphios (Bier) and the icon of the Dormition of Theotokos were placed by the priests at the center of the church, the service of the Lamentations began, having as participants a large crowd of locals and pilgrims. The Greek Consul-General in Jerusalem, Mr Georgios Zacharoudiakis, was also in attendance.
The speech of the day was delivered by the Elder Secretary-General, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina.
On the conclusion of Doxology, the priests carried the Epitaphios to the Church’s entrance steps, where His Beatitude made a supplication for peace and benevolence in the whole world.
After the supplication, the Epitaphios was carried to the Platytera, on the south of the Tomb of the Mother of God, where another supplication was made, and the Patriarchal Polychronism was sang.
Once the service was concluded, Hegoumen Nektarios hosted the Patriarchal and Hieratic retinue, as well as pilgrims, to a nuts, figs and grapes reception, in honour of Our Lady the Mother of God, obediently and devotedly participating in the mystery of our salvation.
From the Secretariat-General