First Pan-Orthodox Passion Service in Baltimore

On Sunday evening March 30, 2008, the third Sunday of the Great Fast – the Week of the Veneration of the Life-Giving Cross –  the Orthodox faithful of the Baltimore Metropolitan area solemnly celebrated a Passion Service at Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in Baltimore, MD. 

The pastor of Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, Rev. Priest John Vass concelebrated this special Great-Lenten Vespers Service with Very Rev. Archpriest Theodore Boback, Rector of St. Andrew Orthodox Church (OCA) in Baltimore, Very Rev. Archpriest Gregory Mathewes-Green, Rector of Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church (Antiochian Archdiocese) in Linthicum, Rev. Deacon Mark O’Dell from Holy Cross and Rev. Deacon Michael Bishop from Holy Trinity. 

Choirs from both Holy Trinity and St. Andrew’s parish sang antiphonally throughout the entire Divine Service with solemnity. All of the visiting clergy brought their own parish communities to the service. Many Orthodox faithful from each of the three parishes attended the service. 

The Passion Gospel from the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark was read by all three priests. Afterwards, Fr. Gregory Mathewes-Green spoke in his sermon about the need for Orthodox faithful to prayerfully contemplate the significance of Christ’s suffering and to follow the examples of the woman from Bethany, who anointed Jesus’ feet and Joseph of Arimathea who lovingly offered his own tomb for our Lord. Emulating such acts of kindness is one of the many ways we can better understand the significance of Christ’s Passion in our life. 

Afterwards, Fr. John Vass individually thanked the visiting clergy for concelebrating the Divine Service and for bringing their parish communities. He noted that the Orthodox parishes in the Baltimore region do not have the tradition of serving the Passion service on Sunday evenings during Lent. “But, all of us at Holy Trinity will strive to make this year’s Passion service in Baltimore the first of many more to come in the future,” he said. 

After the Divine Service a lenten trapeza-reception was held in the church hall, coordinated through the mutual cooperation from each of the three parish communities.

O Most Holy Trinity, Our God, Glory to Thee!