Vigil and First Eucharist of Easter
8pm Saturday 24 March
Hæc nox est, in qua, destructis vinculis mortis, Christus ab inferis victor ascendit.
This is the night when Christ broke the chains of death and rose victorious from the dead.
Thus sings the Deacon, by the light of the Paschal Candle, at the Great Vigil of Easter.
This is the most important liturgy of the Church’s year, proclaiming the mystery of the Resurrection in the darkness before the dawn of Easter Day. The liturgy begins outside St Mary & St John with the kindling of new fire from which the Paschal Candle, the symbol of the Risen Christ, is lit. Then inside the church the story of God’s care for humanity from Creation through to the death and resurrection of Jesus is recounted. New believers, who have been instructed in the faith through the course of Lent, are baptized in the newly-blessed waters of the font. All share Communion and ‘thanks be to God’ is proclaimed in the ancient shout ‘Alleluia’, heard for the first time since Ash Wednesday.
The liturgy is followed by champagne and canapés in the Vicarage, just across the Cowley Road from the church.