In the Orthodox Church, the liturgical day begins in the evening with the setting of the sun. This practice follows the Biblical account of creation: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day” (Gen 1.5). On the eve of the Lord’s Day, we gather for “Vigil” — the solemn and meditative services of Vespers and Matins.
The service (mostly sung) takes us through creation, sin, and salvation in Christ. It leads us to the meditation of God’s word and the glorification of his love for men. It instructs us and allows us to praise God for the particular events or persons whose memory is celebrated and made present to us in the Church. It prepares us for the sleep of the night and the dawn of the new day to come. On the evening before the Divine Liturgy, it begins our movement into the most perfect communion with God in the sacramental mysteries.
The “climax” of the Vigil is the proclamation of the Resurrection of Christ in a reading from the Holy Gospels; all are anointed with holy oil after this reading.
The services of Holy Trinity Cathedral, a parish of the Orthodox Church in America, are sung in English. All are welcome!