Orthodox London

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London Churches on Good Friday

The Epitaphion or Epitaphios is strictly speaking an icon, today most often found as a large cloth, embroidered and often richly adorned, which is used during the services of Good Friday and Holy Saturday in the Orthodox Church.

The icon depicts Christ after he has been removed from the cross, lying down, as his body is being prepared for burial. The scene is taken from the Gospel of St. John (John 19:38-42). Shown around him, and mourning his death, may be his mother (the Theotokos), John the beloved disciple; Joseph of Arimathea; and Mary Magdalene, as well as angels. Nicodemus and others may also be depicted.  [Source] 

“The Noble Joseph, taking down Thy most pure Body from the Tree, did wrap it in clean linen with sweet spices, and he laid it in a new tomb.”

In the Byzantine Orthodox tradition an elaborately carved wooden canopy, properly called a kouvouklion, stands over the Epitaphios icon cloth. This raised represents the Tomb of Christ. On Good Friday morning, the bier is decorated with spring flowers, mostly white, red, and purple, until it is covered by the flowers in its entirety. The Tomb is often sprinkled with flower petals and rosewater, decorated with candles.  [Source] 

Below is a selection of Orthodox funeral biers for the Tomb of Christ in Orthodox Churches in London.

All the Orthodox Churches has processions this evening while they sang the lamentations. 



Kouvouklion, Cathedral of All Saints, Camden


Kouvouklion, Cathedral of the Dormition, Wood Green


Kouvouklion, St Demetrios Church, Edmonton London


Epitaphion, Ss Cosmas and Damian the Unmercenaries (αγ. Ανάργυροι) Highgate



Preparing the Kouvouklion at St John the Baptist Haringey


St Katherine’s Church, Barnet


One of the faithful women, preparing the Tomb, at St Barnabas, Wood Green


The faithful women of St. Eleftherios, Leyton


St Lazarus, Forest Gate

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This entry was posted on April 18, 2014 by in Info and tagged , , , , , , .

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