Today, my family went to the Greek Orthodox parish for a festival. One of the entertainments was a tour of the church and an explaination of the icons. I found it really interesting but the tour guide wasn’t the most articulate fellow and didn’t seem particularly knowledgable. I was wanting to know about an elaborate structure that sat to the left of the icon wall in front of the sanctuary. It looked like an ornate model building on a table. I asked the tour guide what it was and his answer was confusing. He said that it was used on Holy Friday and it was processed around the church, representing Christ’s going into Hades. I asked him what it was called and he answered, “I should know that…” Are there any Orthodox members who know what I’m describing and can tell me what it’s called? I’d like to learn more about it.
You probably saw the kouvouklion, which is essentially an elaborate bier with a canopy which is used to house the epitaphios (a cloth depicting Christ being prepared for burial) at the end of Holy Week (after the unnailing service, in Greek practice), until it is entombed at the altar, where it will remain for the duration of the Paschal season.
My orthodox Priest friend told me that it sybolized Jesus’ tomb…
Now that you have a name to it, go to google images. There are many pictured on there.
The epitaphios below is on my profile on my youtube channe as I am rather fond of the work of that painterl:-
Here is a video of the epitaphios during Good Friday vespers:
More info on the services:
It is traditional (at least around these parts) to pray the Psalter over the Epitaphios on the eve of Good Friday, and for the faithful to visit the Epitahia at nearby parishes for veneration.