Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Why do we have a Liturgy early Saturday morning on Bright Saturday (just before Easter) if Jesus did not resurrect before Sunday morning? (If Jesus is still in the tomb, how we can take communion?) What is the reason for this specific Liturgy on Saturday?

You will notice that the Church dims all the lights as of the sixth hour when the Lord was nailed to the cross on Great Friday. However, in commemoration of the Lord's death at the ninth hour, the lights go back on as it is written in the accounts of the Holy Gospel that the sun was darkened from the sixth to the ninth hour. This is because salvation was accomplished by the death of our Lord Jesus Christ at the ninth hour. After the prophecies of the twelfth hour, i.e., Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet, the veil of the sanctuary is opened revealing the triumphant Church, symbolizing those in paradise as in the inner sanctuary while the struggling Church responds with the doxology outside of the sanctuary. Bright Saturday goes back and forth from sorrowful to joyful tunes. The Church is no longer arrayed in black sashes, but the white festive sashes are not yet revealed until the Resurrection Liturgy. This the time when the Lord descended to Hades and released the righteous and faithful captives that died in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah. Salvation was accomplished and the Divine Liturgy can then be celebrated. Thus, Bright Saturday is a transition from death to life and the Divine Liturgy and partaking of Holy Communion are a proclamation and confession of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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