* The door
* Sunday Vigil
But on the seventh day, that is on the Lord's Day, the whole multitude
assembles before cockcrow, in as great numbers as the place can hold, as at
Easter, in the basilica which is near the Anastasis, but outside the doors,
where lights are hanging for the purpose. And for fear that they should not be
there at cockcrow they come beforehand and sit down there. Hymns as well as
antiphons are said, and prayers are made between the several hymns and
antiphons, for at the vigils there are always both priests and deacons ready
there for the assembling of the multitude, the custom being that the holy
places are not opened before cockcrow.
Now as soon as the first cock has crowed, the bishop arrives and enters the
cave at the Anastasis; all the doors are opened and the whole multitude enters
the Anastasis, where countless lights are already burning. And when the people
have entered, one of the priests says a psalm to which all respond, and
afterwards prayer is made; then one of the deacons says a psalm and prayer is
again made, a third psalm is said by one of the clergy, prayer is made for the
third time and there is a commemoration of all.
After these three psalms and three prayers are ended, lo! censers are brought
into the cave of the Anastasis so that the whole basilica of the Anastasis is
filled with odours. And then the bishop, standing within the rails, takes the
book of the Gospel, and proceeding to the door, himself reads the (narrative of
the) Resurrection of the Lord. And when the reading is begun, there is so great
a moaning and groaning among all, with so many tears, that the hardest of heart
might be moved to tears for that the Lord had borne such things for us.
After the reading of the Gospel the bishop goes out, and is accompanied to the
Cross by all the people with hymns, there again a psalm is said and prayer is
made, after which he blesses the faithful and the dismissal takes place, and as
he comes out all approach to his hand.
And forthwith the bishop betakes himself to his house, and from that hour all
the monks return to the Anastasis, where psalms and antiphons, with prayer
after each psalm or antiphon, are said until daylight; the priests and deacons
also keep watch in turn daily at the Anastasis with the people, but of the lay
people, whether men or women, those who are so minded, remain in the place
until daybreak, and those who are not, return to their houses and betake
themselves to sleep.
Now at daybreak because it is the Lord's Day every one proceeds to the greater
church, built by Constantine, which is situated in Golgotha behind the Cross,
where all things are done which are customary everywhere on the Lord's Day. But
the custom here is that of all the priests who take their seats, as many as are
willing, preach, and after them all the bishop preaches, and these sermons are
always on the Lord's Day, in order that the people may always be instructed in
the Scriptures and in the love of God. The delivery of these sermons greatly
delays the dismissal from the church, so that the dismissal does [not] take
place before the fourth or perhaps the fifth hour.
But when the dismissal from the church is made in the manner that is customary
everywhere, the monks accompany the bishop with hymns from the church to the
Anastasis, and as he approaches with hymns all the doors of the basilica of the
Anastasis are opened, and the people, that is the faithful, enter, but not the
And after the people the bishop enters, and goes at once within the rails of
the cave of the martyrium. Thanks are first given to God, then prayer is made
for all, after which the deacon bids all bow their heads, where they stand, and
the bishop standing within the inner rails blesses them and goes out.
Each one draws near to his hand as he makes his exit Thus the dismissal is
delayed until nearly the fifth or sixth hour. And in like manner it is done at
lucernare, according to daily custom. This then is the custom observed every
day throughout the whole year except on solemn days, to the keeping of which we
will refer later on.
But among all things it is a special feature that they arrange that suitable
psalms and antiphons are said on every occasion, both those said by night, or
in the morning, as well as those throughout the day, at the sixth hour, the
ninth hour, or at lucernare, all being so appropriate and so reasonable as to
bear on the matter in hand.
And they proceed to the greater church, which was built by Constantine, and
which is situated in Golgotha, that is, behind the Cross, on every Lord's Day
throughout the year except on the one Sunday of Pentecost, when they proceed to
Sion, as you will find mentioned below; but even then they go to Sion before
the third hour, the dismissal having been first made in the greater church...
And when the Paschal days come they are observed thus : Just as with us forty
days are kept before Easter, so here eight weeks are kept before Easter. And
eight weeks are kept because there is no fasting on the Lord's Days, nor on the
Sabbaths, except on the one Sabbath on which the Vigil of Easter falls, in
which case the fast is obligatory. With the exception then of that one day,
there is never fasting on any Sabbath here throughout the year. Thus, deducting
the eight Lord's Days and the seven Sabbaths (for on the one Sabbath, as I said
above, the fast is obligatory) from the eight weeks, there remain forty-one
fast days, which they call here Eortae, that is Quadragesimae.