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Author Topic: Vigils  (Read 459 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: January 31, 2013, 07:28:30 PM »

Often in the Fathers I see talk of vigils. These seem to be speaking not of corporate events but of private devotions. Two examples:

Quote
"Our initial struggle therefore must be to gain control of our stomach and to bring our body into subjection not only through fasting but also through vigils, labors and spiritual, reading, and through concentrating our heart on fear of Gehenna and on longing for the kingdom of heaven." - St. John Cassian, On the Eight Vices: On Control of the Stomach

"Man cannot drive away impassioned thoughts unless he watches over his desire and incensive power. He destroys desire through fasting, vigils and sleeping on the ground, and he tames his incensive power through longsuffering, forbearance, forgiveness and acts of compassion." - Evagrios the Solitary, Texts on Discrimination in Respect of Passions and Thoughts, 3

What do such vigils traditionally entail? Are they all night long or only a certain period of time? Do they include mainly reading from the Psalter? Is there a variety of activities engaged in? Prostrations? How often? I am curious about both monastic and lay practices, if anyone knows.
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 07:34:44 PM »

In Russian practice, this is vespers, matins and prima. Sometimes litya is added (or vespers are switched with great compline). They last 1:30-2:30 hs so they're hardly all-night.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 07:35:19 PM »

In Russian practice, this is vespers, matins and prima. Sometimes litya is added (or vespers are switched with great compline). They last 1:30-2:30 hs so they're hardly all-night.

These aren't the vigils I am asking about Wink I think. Maybe. We'll see...
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 07:35:32 PM by Asteriktos » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 08:04:49 PM »

The services of the Daily Cycle are divided into three groups of three services each, conveniently entitled: Evening Service (9th Hour, Vespers and Compline), Morning Service (Nocturns, Matins and 1st Hour), and Midday Service (3rd Hour, 6th Hour and Divine Liturgy or Typical Psalms). In addition, on Saturday evenings, as well as on Major Feasts, All-Night Vigil, which consists of a joining of Great Vespers and Matins into one Service, may be served.

The All-Night Vigil consist of services of Vespers, Matins, and First Hour when served separately.

Some vigil's will be as short as 3-4 hours, some vigil's can go all night, all the way into Sunday and through Divine Liturgy. To pray that much is a great feat of strength and surely one would benefit from it spiritually. A vigil service will try your patience. It lasts a very long time, you'll be deprived of sleep and depending on the season, fasting as well. You know some people think a 2-3 hour Sunday service is "long" and they can't wait to leave, try doing an all night service. It's a lot of suffering for our Lord and so the Church Fathers speak highly of vigils.

Sometimes on special occasions, for example if a miracle working icon visits a monastery, the monastery will hold an all night vigil in honor of God and the miracle working icon. (example below)

Kursk Icon visits Holy Cross Monastery - All-Night Vigil
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgCqTi9JZio
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 08:10:08 PM by Peacemaker » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2013, 09:07:41 PM »

I light a candle and stay up overnight until morning to make a Orthodox/Catholic house. (Or follow the tradition of the Dark Night of the Soul) ...
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 09:08:11 PM by WPM » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2013, 09:11:54 PM »

In Russian practice, this is vespers, matins and prima. Sometimes litya is added (or vespers are switched with great compline). They last 1:30-2:30 hs so they're hardly all-night.

These aren't the vigils I am asking about Wink I think. Maybe. We'll see...

Without seeing the original language, I would venture based on the context that "constant prayer" or "watchfulness" might be what you are looking for. Keeping vigil, is to compared to keeping guard - a constant act of alertness. In this context it is a verb and not a noun. A vigil is something that is not done for just a short period of time, but for your whole life.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 09:12:54 PM by arimethea » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 09:26:18 PM »

In this context, it means either some lengthy church service of those days, or personal prayer throughout the night, and almost certainly the latter.
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2013, 09:40:58 PM »

Probably praying the Psalter and the Jesus Prayer.
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