As Epitaphios ( ancient Greek επιτάφιος ) in the Orthodox churches on the one hand a liturgical object is referred to, on the other hand also a service in which this object is used. The Epitaphios is formally a cloth on which a variation of the icon of the lamentation at the grave is sewn. Mostly the inscription "The noble Joseph took off your very pure body from the wood of the cross, covered it in pure linen, covered it with fragrant herbs and laid it in a new grave." (In the respective language) embroidered around the picture, a sentence from a troparion . Epitaphios symbolically represents the shroud of Christ.
During the evening service ( Esperinos , Vespers ) on Great Friday ( Good Friday ), which is generally celebrated on Friday around noon, the Epitaphios is carried out of the chancel in a procession to the center of the church, where it is carried along with the The Gospels placed on him are venerated by the faithful.
Finally, at the morning service ( Orthros ) on the Great Saturday, which is generally celebrated under the name Epitaphios on the evening of the Great Friday, it is placed on a bier that is decorated over and over with flowers and initially rests in the middle of the church, is then sprinkled with flavored water and thrown with more flowers, in order to finally be carried in a procession through the church district. Often the town's cemetery chapel is the farthest stop in the procession depicting Christ's descent into the underworld , Hades . Sometimes it is a custom to go back to the church under the Epitaphios after the procession (so that the head is touched). After the service is over, the faithful receive some of the flowers with which Epitaphios was adorned.