The Great Vigil of Easter

 7:00 pm

Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral

The Right Reverend Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez

XVI Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania

Choral Anthems:  

Step by Step - Horace Boyer

The Lily of the Valley - Wendell Whalum

Postlude:  Incantation pour un jour Saint -Jean Langlais

On this most holy night, in which our Lord Jesus passes over from death to life,” we celebrate the most ancient of all of these services, the Great Vigil of Easter. Exiting slowly from darkness into the brilliant light of the resurrection, we experience anew the victory over the powers of darkness that is ours in the Light of Christ.    In the early church, this was the traditional time for baptizing new Christians, symbolizing their passage from an old life of sin to new life in the Risen Christ. The service begins in darkness with the kindling of new fire and the lighting and procession of the Paschal Candle. Chanting of Psalms and readings from scripture in candlelight recall God’s acts in history beginning from the creation.

This is followed by the Rites of Initiation, when members of the cathedral congregation and from around the Diocese of Pennsylvania are baptized, confirmed, received from another communion and reaffirming their baptismal vows. Then, with sudden bursts of light, shouts of “Alleluia,” bells, hymns and anthems, the Resurrection is proclaimed and the first Eucharist of Easter is celebrated. The Bishop is the Presider and Preacher at this Liturgy.