THE VIGIL AT TOMB OF CHRIST
(Great and Holy Friday afternoon through Great and Holy Saturday)
What is a Vigil? A Vigil is a time of watching, waiting, and preparing. We watch over the Lord’s tomb, remembering His sufferings and death for our salvation. We take time out of our often too hectic schedule to wait with expectation for our Lord’s Resurrection from the dead. It is an excellent time to take account of our life in the light of Jesus’ life and teachings, preparing ourselves to be able to behold the glory of His triumph over death. In a very real sense, the Holy Friday Vigil is the final opportunity of getting ready for Pascha - the Resurrection of Christ!
What do I do at a Vigil? In practical terms, a vigil is spent in meditation and prayer while one or more people read hymns and Psalms before the Tomb of Christ in the church. In many places, people sign up to read these Psalms and hymns during the night so that there is someone constantly watching over the Tomb throughout the night.
Do I have to spend the whole night at the Church? Not unless you want to. But after spending some time by Christ’s tomb, you may find yourself wanting to stay. You may sign on the sign up sheet on the bulletin board to pray the Psalms for an hour or so.
How long is the Vigil? The Vigil starts after the Vespers of Holy Friday afternoon, when the body of Christ is removed from the Cross and placed in the tomb. It should continue until the beginning of the Paschal Hours and Matins on Saturday night.
Come and stand vigil at the Tomb of Christ. If you desire to pray the Psalms, sign up on the sheet on the bulletin board (or somewhere close by).