For most of Christian history, learning about Christ could not be done through personal reading, as the majority of the world could not read. Learning was done through listening to preaching, and through the singing of hymns. The events of Holy Week, from the triumphal entry of Christ in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, to the Cross of Good Friday, to the glorious Resurrection on Pascha, have been taught throughout the centuries primarily through song. In fact, the most well-known Orthodox hymn, “Christ is Risen”, provides in 22 words, a summary of the Resurrection and its meaning for Christian salvation.
Holy Week in the Orthodox Church is a journey of nine days and nearly 20 services, that returns us to Jerusalem 2,000 years ago through Scripture, ritual and, most especially, hymnology. Scripture captivates the mind. Ritual captivates the eyes. Hymnology stirs our souls to spiritual renewal, captivating our emotions and our hearts. The Greatest Story Ever Sung: Reflections on the Hymns of Holy Week in the Orthodox Church reflects on both the well-known and lesser-known hymns of the services of the Orthodox Holy Week. It will take you on a journey not only to the week of Christ’s Passion, but to the depths of your own faith.
This book will capture your emotions, warm your heart and restore your spirit. It will help you remember the saving work of Jesus Christ and allow you to more deeply appreciate Holy Week services in the years to come.
The foreword is written by Christopher Kypros, a dedicated choir director and composer, who has poured his soul into leading choirs in singing these beautiful hymns. The author of the book, Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, has celebrated the services of Holy Week for more than 25 years. Consisting of 61 short reflections, this book guides the reader from the Saturday of Lazarus through the Agape Vespers on Pascha, taking us on a familiar journey that many of us know through Scripture, but, instead, leading us by way of the beautiful and powerful hymns that comprise the greatest story ever sung.