2013 Grave Watch Vigil

An Enlightening Experience

Having suffered the Passion for us, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us!

Having suffered the Passion for us, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us!



Great and Holy Friday is one of the most solemn Holy Days within the life of the Orthodox Church. On this day, we witness our Lord’s unchanging love for us as He willingly gives His life for our sake. On Holy Friday, we watch our Lord’s crucifixion by the hands of those He came to save.

In order to fully appreciate the wonder of Christ’s Resurrection from the dead, it is important that we understand the significance of His sufferings that we may behold His glorious Resurrection.

An ancient tradition in the Orthodox Church is the Holy Vigil at the Tomb of Christ also referred to as Grave Watch.  After our Lord died on the Cross, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus, bound it in linen cloths with spices and buried it in a new tomb.  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sat opposite the tomb watching as their Lord was buried.  The Church over the centuries has joined with these two women in keeping watch over Jesus’ tomb.  The Holy Vigil at Christ’s tomb is our opportunity to help keep watch over our Lord’s body as He descends in to Hell to loosen the bonds of death.  What better way to understand the death and resurrection of Jesus than to participate in the Vigil by His tomb?



Epitaphios – Grave of our Lord


The Church has given us this opportunity to watch and wait with the countless saints and myriads of angels as our Lord conquers death.  As we read from Acts at the tomb of our Lord throughout the night of Great and Holy Friday through the beginning of the Vesperal Liturgy on Holy Saturday.

Come join us as we watch over the Lord’s tomb, remembering His suffering and death for our salvation. Let us all take time out of our often too hectic schedules to wait with expectation for our Lord’s Resurrection from the dead as we prepare ourselves to exclaim, “Christ is Risen!”

If you would like more information, have any questions or would like to keep vigil at the tomb of Christ this Great Friday and or Saturday, please contact Joseph Turner by calling him @ 330.283.6833 or you can email him directly by clicking HERE.

Individuals or Families may sign up for one hour blocks of time throughout the evening and night of Great and Holy Friday and then the following day and evening of Holy Saturday.

Common Questions:

Exactly 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 Vigil is the final opportunity of getting ready for Pascha (Christ’s Passover from Death to Life) – the Resurrection of Christ!

What do I do at the 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?
Time is separated by one hour increments; however, you are welcome to stay and pray or reflect as long as you would like.  After spending some time by Christ’s tomb, you may find yourself wanting to stay. In most places, people sign up to keep vigil at the Church at a specific time, say for an hour or so. During this time, they might help read the Psalms or from the Book of Acts or possibly quietly pray and meditate before the Tomb.

How long is the Vigil?
Traditionally, 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 would conclude with the Paschal; Hours and Matins on Saturday night, as we celebrate our Lord’s victory over death and His Resurrection. In some places, the Vigil begins after the Lamentations on Holy Friday evening and concludes with the Liturgy of St Basil the Great on Holy Saturday morning.


The angelic powers were at Thy tomb; the guards became as dead men. Mary stood by Thy grave, seeking Thy most pure Body. Thou didst capture hell, not being tempted by it. Thou didst come to the Virgin, granting life. O Lord who didst rise from the dead: glory to Thee!

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