It's nice writing to you about Orthodoxy in Jerusalem, where our Christian faith began. It's also nice that you are talking about such an important Orthodox festival with your nephew.
I'm having an on line discussion with my nephew who is in a Lutheran seminary and doing a paper (due tomorrow) on the Orthodox 'Holy Light'.
He brought up some interesting questions that perhaps some of you can answer -
1) The website you gave states that the 'Holy Light' comes to the Orthodox Patriarch at around noon on Holy Saturday. Is there any reason it is at that time rather than at midnight just prior to tne Pascha Matins?
I'm not sure why, but Fr. George noted elsewhere on the forum that the schedule for Holy Week is actually shift by 1/3-1/2 of a day. He suggested that this was done for the purpose of making the celebration "in anticipation." So this shifting appears to be the reason.
2) What is celebrated in the Church of the Holy Seplechure at Midnight/ Is it Matins and Liturgy?
I guess it would be Vespers going into Liturgy, but I'm not sure. I guess it would be the same schedule as traditional for other Orthodox Churches. One factor affecting the schedule could be that the Church building is shared with other churches like the Roman Catholics, and their use may alter the use by the Orthodox compared to when we would use it otherwise.
3) If the Holy Light comes around noon on Holy Saturday.....Is it then the people greet each other with Christ Is Risen? And if so, why so early?
Anyone have some quick answers?
Yes, it's then that people greet eachother with Christ is Risen in Jerualem after the event. The timing of the greeting you mentioned could simply be a folk custom that isn't in line with the Sunday service. It could just be because it's Holy Week. Or it could be as part of the anticipatory nature of the schedule of Holy Week services that I mentioned in my answer to your first question. Plus it would be ok anyway, since it's true in Christianity that Christ is Risen.
Glory be to Jesus Christ
Thanks for confirming about my question that
I would also like to ask what times do Orthodox churches in the Holy Land have a vigil service on Easter Saturday and then a litrugy on Sunday morning.
It sounds like from this article (http://www.saltfilms.net/zababdeh/apr01.html) that they have a VIGIL service from 8 PM to midnight on Saturday of Light, and then a LITURGY next morning from 3 AM to sunrise on Easter Sunday.
Do I have that right?
, as you wrote: "That's the settup of any Orthodox Church I've ever come across."
This is something more for my blog (rakovskii.livejournal.com) On a sidenote, wow you know alot and have alot of experience with the Church in the Middle East. Health to you