Holy Saturday


Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday (Latin: "Sabbatum Sanctum") is the day after Good Friday. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week, in which Christians prepare for Easter.

On this day the church commemorates the time that Jesus Christ lay in the tomb and that he decsended into heaven.

Western practice

In Roman Catholic Churches, the sanctuary remains stripped completely bare (following the Mass on Maundy Thursday) while the administration of the sacraments is severely limited. Holy Communion is given only as Viaticum to the dying. All Masses are strictly prohibited. No Mass at all appears in the liturgy for this day. Many of the churches of the Anglican Communion as well as Lutheran, Methodist, and some other Churches observe most of the same; however, their altars may be covered in black instead of being stripped.

In some Anglican churches, including the Episcopal Church in the United States, provision is made for a simple Liturgy of the Word on this day, with readings commemorating the burial of Christ, but no Eucharist.

Liturgically speaking, Holy Saturday lasts until dusk, after which the Easter Vigil is celebrated, marking the official start of the Easter season. In Roman Catholic observance, during the "Gloria" of the Mass (which is the first Mass since that of Holy Thursday), the church statues and icons, in places where they are covered with purple veils during Passiontide, are dramatically unveiled.

Eastern practice

In Eastern Orthodoxy this day, known as Holy and Great Saturday, is also called The Great Sabbath since it is on this day that Christ "rested" physically in the tomb. But it is also believed that it was on this day he performed in spirit the Harrowing of Hades and raised up to Paradise those who had been held captive there.

Matins of Holy and Great Saturday (usually held on Friday evening so more people can attend) takes the form of a funeral service for Christ. The entire service takes place around the "Epitaphios" (Slavonic: "Plashchanitza"), an icon in the form of a cloth embroidered with the image of Christ being prepared for burial. The first part of the service consists of chanting Psalm 118 (the longest psalm in the Bible) with hymns ("enkomia") interspersed between the psalm verses. The predominant theme of the service is not so much one of mourning, but of watchful expectation: [


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Holy Saturday — • In the early Church this was the only Saturday on which fasting was permitted (Constit. Apost., VII, 23), and the fast was one of special severity Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Holy Saturday     Holy Saturday …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Holy Saturday — Holy Ho ly, a. [Compar. {Holier}; superl. {Holiest}.] [OE. holi, hali, AS. h[=a]lig, fr. h[ae]l health, salvation, happiness, fr. h[=a]l whole, well; akin to OS. h?lag, D. & G. heilig, OHG. heilac, Dan. hellig, Sw. helig, Icel. heilagr. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Holy Saturday — n. the Saturday before Easter …   English World dictionary

  • Holy Saturday — the Saturday in Holy Week. [1350 1400; ME] * * * ▪ Christianity also called  Easter Vigil,         Christian religious observance that ends the Lenten season, falling on the day before Easter Sunday. The early church celebrated the end of Lent… …   Universalium

  • Holy Saturday —    This name (from the Latin Saturni dies, meaning Saturn s day ) refers to the day before Easter. Holy Saturday is part of the Paschal Triduum …   Glossary of theological terms

  • Holy Saturday — /hoʊli ˈsætədeɪ/ (say hohlee satuhday) noun the Saturday in Holy Week …   Australian English dictionary

  • Holy Saturday — noun the Saturday before Easter; the last day of Lent • Hypernyms: ↑Christian holy day …   Useful english dictionary

  • Holy Saturday — noun Date: 14th century the Saturday before Easter …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Holy Saturday — noun The Saturday immediately after Good Friday and before Easter …   Wiktionary

  • Holy Saturday — noun the Saturday preceding Easter Sunday …   English new terms dictionary


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