7 Epistles and 7 Gospels are read during this time
and after each passage from an Epistle and then from
one of the 4 Gospels is read,
a candle is lit for these readings.
You can see the sense of time
through this beautiful service,
where the candles are lit at different times and
thus are at different lengths.
After all the Gospels are read,
our priest held the Gospel open and above everyone's
head and we all went crowding in underneath
as prayers continued to be said.
Then the priest blessed everyone by lightly
putting the open Gospel on each person's head.
One of the young children of our parish,
after she had her Gospel book blessing,
had a look of happiness like she had just received a great
and unexpected gift.
I told the child's Mother this and she said that
the children still understanding intuitively what is going on
and we adults have to struggle to again
to become like children...
oh to love and trust God as a child can,
in purity and simplicity!
At the end of this service the priest anoints
each person on the forehead, hands and neck
and if needed for healing else where
(like if a foot had been injured or a knee).
This service is also for our spiritual healing and
to prepare us to celebrate Great and Holy Friday
and then Great and Holy Pascha (Easter).
It was a lovely service....