Vespers and Liturgy of Holy Saturday

by , under church, services

Time: 2:50
Total: 4:40 Grand total: 14:30
Congregation: at least 50
Crew: Altar: Fr T, Fr R, both hypodiakons, 7-year-old altar boy, slightly older altar boy who hadn’t served before (a parishioner’s grandson, his grandfather was VERY PROUD and took pictures). Choir: 5 sopranos, 2 altos, Regular Bass and Occasional Bass.

A Protestant (well, up to that moment) young man who has been coming to church for quite some time was chrismated before the service, while Choirmistress and Tertia and I were sorting out the festive white cloths — someone had brought them and told Tertia where they were but not explicitly enough so we had to search after all.

The last couple of years we’ve been having the Old Testament readings read by young people; this time there weren’t enough teenagers (a whole bunch went away to university) so it was three grown women (Choirmistress did the first, and also the fifth and the last with the glorifications), the new altar boy (who had been given a piece too long and too difficult for him, but he stubbornly did his best) and several girls. One girl of about sixteen is clearly a potentially good reader and I’m eager to get my hands on her and give her some hints on how to use her voice — mostly she was pitching much too high which made her breathless and tired her out too soon. A Russian girl of about ten read very clearly in Russian, which she got complimented on by at least three separate people after the service.

While we were singing “Arise, o God and judge the earth,” the soprano who was sitting on a stool at the edge of the choir platform moved a fraction and fell off, stool and all, flat on her back. We were flustered but sang on, while first a big solid man, and then a conveniently present doctor, picked her up. She came back a couple of minutes later, smiling, saying she was made of rubber and there was nothing wrong with her!

This service already has a Resurrection Gospel. I’m used to it now — it used to surprise me every time — but it’s still a rush of joy. As we said later over a glass of wine: “Christ is risen but we’re keeping it secret for a bit.”


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