Holy Week 2023 – Holy Saturday

Sitting quietly in faith and reflection


Matthew 27 57 That evening a rich disciple named Joseph from the town of Arimathea 58 went and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate gave orders for it to be given to Joseph, 59 who took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. 60 Then Joseph put the body in his own tomb that had been cut into solid rock and had never been used. He rolled a big stone against the entrance to the tomb and went away.

61 All this time Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb.

62 On the next day, which was a Sabbath, the chief priests and the Pharisees went together to Pilate. 63  They said, “Sir, we remember what this liar said while he was still alive. He claimed in three days he would come back from death. 64 So please order the tomb to be carefully guarded for three days. If you don’t, his disciples may come and steal his body. They will tell the people he has been raised to life, and this last lie will be worse than the first one.”

65 Pilate said to them, “All right, take some of your soldiers and guard the tomb as well as you know how.” 66 So they sealed it tight and placed soldiers there to guard it.




from a book of jewish women’s prayers (1995)

Because we give charity on your behalf, dear souls, strengthen us to achieve the right way and not drown in the lusts of this world. Let us not be led astray by the Evil Inclination. By the merit of our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the merit of all righteous men and women, may we be found worthy of beholding the reconstruction of the Holy Temple and the resurrection of the dead, speedily and in our time. Amen.


Egeria in the Holy land, c. 380 CE

Egeria was a nun from France who was touring the Holy Land in the late 4th century. She was in Jerusalem during Holy Week and provides the only eye witness account of how the early church celebrated.

On the following day, which is Saturday, there is as usual a service at the third hour and again at the sixth hour. There is no service, however, at the ninth hour on the Saturday, for preparations is being made for the Easter vigil in the major church, the Martyrium. The Easter vigil is observed here exactly as we observe it at home. Only one thing is done more elaborately here. After the neophytes have been baptized and dressed as soon as they came forth from the baptismal font, they are led first of all to the Anastasis with the bishop. The bishop goes within the railings of the Anastasis, a hymn is sung, and he prays for them. Then he returns with them to the major church, where all the people are hoildng the vigil as is customary. Everything is done which is customarily done at home with us, and after the sacrifice (Communion/Eucharist) has been offered, the dismissal is given. After the vigil service has been celebrated in the major church, everyone comes to the Anastasis singing hymns. There, once again, the text of the Gospel of the Resurrection is read, a prayer is said, and once again the bishop offers the sacrifice.

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