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Holy Saturday, also nown as Black Saturday commemorates the day that Jesus Christ lay in the tomb after his death, according to the Christian bible. It is the day after Good Friday and the day before Easter Sunday.
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Holy Saturday commemorates the day that Jesus (sculpture of him pictured above) lay in his tomb after he died. ©iStockphoto.com/Edward Lin

Holy Saturday is the last day of Holy Week and ends the season of Lent. It is also known as the Vigil of Easter. The day is traditionally a time of reflection and waiting. The vigil stems back to when Jesus’ followers spent this day waiting after his crucifixion on Good Friday. It is also known as the day when Roman governor Pontius Pilate instructed guards to be posted at the tomb to prevent Jesus’ followers from removing the body to claim that he had risen from the dead.

Holy Saturday was also known as Great or Grand Saturday, as well as the Angelic Night. It was the only Saturday on which fasting was permitted in the early days of the Christian church. According to some sources, fasting occurred during the entire day or lasted for 40 hours before the Easter Sunday sunrise during the first century CE. This day was a major day for baptisms in the early church. Many churches still hold large services for baptisms on Holy Saturday.

Some people refer to Holy Saturday as Easter Saturday but this is a misnomer, as Holy Saturday is the last day of Lent and the eve of Easter. The Saturday after Easter Sunday is known as Easter Saturday, or Bright Saturday. It is important to note, however, that Holy Saturday is often referred to as Easter Saturday.

 

Scripture Readings for the Holy/Black Saturday

 

Hebrews 4:1-13

Let us fear therefore lest the promise being left of entering into his rest, any of you should be thought to be wanting. For unto us also it hath been declared, in like manner as unto them. But the word of hearing did not profit them, not being mixed with faith of those things they heard.

For we, who have believed, shall enter into rest; as he said: As I have sworn in my wrath; If they shall enter into my rest; and this indeed when the works from the foundation of the world were finished. For in a certain place he spoke of the seventh day thus: And God rested the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again: If they shall enter into my rest.

Seeing then it remaineth that some are to enter into it, and they, to whom it was first preached, did not enter because of unbelief: Again he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time, as it is above said: To day if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

For if Jesus had given them rest, he would never have afterwards spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a day of rest for the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, the same also hath rested from his works, as God did from his. Let us hasten therefore to enter into that rest; lest any man fall into the same example of unbelief.

For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature invisible in his sight: but all things are naked and open to his eyes, to whom our speech is.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)
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