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Question 7.

Dear Fr. Christopher,
Why do people call the Holy Saturday Morning service as the First Resurrection and the Midnight service as the Second Resurrection? Are there two Resurrections?


Dear S.........,                 

In the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, we are given an account of the Creation. “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep...  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light...  And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Because the night was first, the Church’s day begins with the evening until the next evening. Therefore in monasteries the daily services begin with Vespers (evening service), then Compline, Midnight Service, Mattins (morning service), First Hour, Third Hour, The Divine Liturgy, Sixth Hour and  end with the Ninth Hour. In town churches, we follow the same cycle but with fewer services: Vespers, Mattins, Divine Liturgy and Ninth Hour. Every feast begins with Vespers and ends with the Ninth Hour, which closes the day. The feast of the Resurrection is no exception, but so that people can attend the Great Services of Holy week, the Church has moved the services from their actual time. The morning services are said on the previous evening and the evening services in the morning.


Thus, the first service of Holy Week is the Mattins of Monday, [known as the service of the Bridegroom (Νυμφίος)], and is sung on the Evening of Palm Sunday.

The Tuesday morning service on Monday evening,

The Wednesday morning service on Tuesday evening,

The Thursday morning service on Wednesday evening,

The Thursday evening service (the Mystical Supper) on Thursday morning,

The Friday morning service (the service of the Holy Passion 12 Gospels) on Thursday evening,   

The Friday evening service (the Deposition, Η Αποκαθήλωσις) on Friday morning,

The Saturday morning service (The Lamentations, Ο Επιτάφιος Θρήνος) on Friday evening,

The Saturday evening service (the so-called first Resurrection) on Saturday morning,

And the Sunday morning Resurrection service at midnight.


The Vespers Service for the Feast of the Resurrection belongs to the day cycle for the Resurrection and so all the hymns are for the Resurrection. Hearing the service sung on Saturday morning, the people quite understandably become confused and think that the Church celebrates a first and second Resurrection.