Cherry Hill, NJ – Good Friday at St. Thomas was a day full of services, preparations and educating the youth. As the doors opened this morning, the Ladies Philoptochos of St. Thomas gathered to decorate the Epitafios in the Greek school hall adjacent to the church. White carnations, roses, and baby’s breath were being arranged by the ladies. The dome and base were layered and scented by a team of Philoptochos members that worked for more than five hours. Christ’s tomb will be marched over the campus during the Orthodox of Lamentations this evening.

Next door, in the church, more than eighty Greek school students gathered for the Royal Hours. The two-hour service was then followed by a veneration of the cross that took place. Each student and teacher visited the cross, made the sign of the cross and kisses the body of Jesus. Students then broke out into six classes that circled in areas around the church for short lessons on various topics of Orthodoxy, that had a strong focus on Easter.

The youngest children attended a learning session downstairs, while the oldest, watched a short film in one of the classrooms. They would then rotate from group to group learning about Barabis vs. Jesus. Who they were and the acts.

The afternoon concluded with a meal for the kids where they were addressed by Father Christoforos. They also learn a hymn and then return for the taking down of the cross in the afternoon.