Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil – Jerusalem

Background: A candlelight mass/vigil is held every Holy Saturday morning (as in 5am) in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The mass is supposed to be solemn like the Funeral Procession, as it commemorates the day of mourning after Christ’s death. The mass begins with a procession of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the cardinals into the church (3-6).

Impressions: The mass starts before sunrise, at around 5am Saturday morning, but to make it even worse, we had to line up outside the Old City because of the security measures enacted for the Eastern Orthodox Holy Fire (see post above). So at 5am I huddled and waited near the New Gate, where I met a priest (from Michigan, but studying in Rome), who was really friendly and kind enough to help me speed through the crowd to the front. So a group of priests and I were able to enter the church pretty early and grab good spots, which I later just got pushed and shoved out of, but at least I got to see some stuff at the beginning. What made this mass different, and more beautiful, was the use of candles (see photos). The candles were handed out at the beginning of the ceremony, and because of the solemn air, no one was pushing anyone (much), making the light a nice touch. Instead, everyone held (up) their candles, making the atmosphere something to remember. What also made this mass different was its length. I think it ended up being 4 or 5 hours long, so long that I didn’t make it until the end. But it’s ok I think I’ve been to more masses this week than I had in my whole life..

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~ by jonathanmtsai on April 27, 2011.

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