Holy Saturday Evening
Minutes prior to the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, William DeKnatel was confirmed into the Greek Orthodox Faith by Frs. Nick and Patrick. His sponsors are Stavros and Toulouse Maravegias. AXIOS!
Significance of this Service
(The service is Matins and Divine Liturgy of Sunday morning sung Saturday midnight. With this service, the Pentecostarion starts (50 days services).
On Easter Sunday (Saturday midnight), the life-giving Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is celebrated. Before midnight, the Odes of Lamentation of the previous day are repeated. The Orthros of the Resurrection begins in complete darkness. The priest takes light from the vigil light and gives it to the faithful, who are holding candles. The priest sings: "Come ye and receive light from the unwaning life, and glorify Christ, who arose from the dead," and all the people join him in singing this hymn again and again. From this moment, every Christian holds the Easter candle as a symbol of his vivid, deep faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as Savior. In many churches, the priest leads the people outside the church, where he reads the Gospel which refers to the Angel's statement: "He is Risen; He is not here." (Mark 16:1-8)
Then comes the breathless moment as the people wait for the priest to start the hymn of Resurrection, which they join him in singing, repeatedly: "Christ has Risen from the dead, by death trampling upon Death, and has bestowed life upon those in the tombs." From this moment, the entire service takes on a joyous Easter atmosphere. The hymns of the Odes and Praises of Resurrection which follow are of superb meaning and expression. The people confess, "It is the Day of Resurrection, let us be glorious, let us embrace one another and speak to those that hate us; let us forgive all things and so let us cry, Christ has arisen from the dead." By this hymn, they admit that love of one's fellowman is the solid foundation of the faith in the Resurrection of Christ.
The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is then officiated. At the end of the Liturgy, a part of the marvelous festival sermon of St. Chrysostom is read, which calls upon the people to "Take part in this fair and radiant festival. Let no one be fearful of death, for the death of the Savior has set us free...O Death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is Thy victory? Christ is Risen and Thou art overthrown. To Him be glory and power from all ages to all ages."
The readings are Acts 1:1-8 and John 1: 1-17.