Millions of Orthodox Christians commemorate Good Friday, also known as “Great Friday” to remember the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. The Orthodox Easter dates usually differ from the dates used by western churches because most Orthodox churches retained some version of the Julian calendar, which is older than the Gregorian calendar, commonly used today.
On Good Friday, many Orthodox Christian churches hold special liturgies with readings from the Gospels of the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In countries such as the United States, some Orthodox churches hold evening liturgies throughout Holy Week, with some special afternoon liturgies for children on Good Friday. Church activities may include: a family retreat with children’s activities; discussion groups; the wrapping of the red eggs to be distributed on Easter Sunday; and a Lenten lunch. Many adult Orthodox Christians observe Good Friday with fasting, prayer, cleanliness, self-examination, confession and good works.
In the early Church Good Friday was called “Pascha of the Cross” because it marked the beginning of that Passover. It is part of the Easter period which is observed by both Orthodox and western churches alike, although the Easter dates may differ.
Good Friday commemorates the moments leading up to and including the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, as told in the New Testament of the Bible. The most common symbols in observing Good Friday are the cross and crucifix and traditions include the venerations of the cross and the preaching or singing of the Passion of Christ.