Saturday, April 18, 2009
Epitaphios decoration and Sprinkling of fragrance
On Friday morning, the service of Apokathelosis (taking down from the Cross) of the Body of Christ is held. The Gospel relating to the Crucifixion and the receiving of the body of Christ by Joseph of Arimathea for burial is read. At the moment the Gospel mentions the Apokathelosis, the body taken down from the Cross, wrapped up in a white sheet, and taken into the Holy Altar. Then, the gold-embroidered ceremonial cloth, bearing the depiction of the dead Christ with His Mother and disciples looking over Him, is brought out in solemn procession and placed in rest in the wooden sepulcher Epitaphios. The dome of the Epitaphios has been already covered with fresh flowers by women, in remembrance of the Biblical women who performed the traditional rites of respect to the dead Christ.
Why is then the Epitaphios decorated with flowers, and I noticed the priest sprinkles a fragrance around the tomb?
The flowers on the Epitaphios symbolize with their fragrance the myrrh with which the body of Christ was anointed by the women as also does the sprinkling with rosewater by the priest later in the service of the Epitaphios?