The Vigil of Easter (Chrysostom 347-407 AD)

Are there any who are devout lovers of God?

Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!

Are there any who are grateful servants?

Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary from fasting?

Let them now receive their due!

If any have toiled from the first hour, let them receive their reward.

If any have come after the third hour, let them with gratitude join in the feast!

Those who arrived after the sixth hour, let them not doubt; for they shall not be short-changed.

Those who’ve tarried until the ninth hour, do not hesitate. Let them come, too.

And those who arrived only at the eleventh hour, do not be afraid by reason of your delay.

For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first. The Lord gives rest to those who come at the eleventh hour, even as to those who toiled from the beginning.

To one and all the Lord gives generously.

The Lord accepts the offering of every work.

The Lord honors every deed and commends their intention.

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!

First and last alike, receive your reward.

Rich and poor, rejoice together!

Conscientious and lazy, celebrate!

You who’ve kept the fast, and you who’ve not,

Rejoice this day, for the table is bountifully spread!

Feast royally, for the calf is fatted.

Let no one go away hungry.

Partake, all, of the banquet of faith.

Enjoy the bounty of the Lord’s goodness!

Let no one grieve being poor, for the reign of God is revealed in Christ who died and now lives!

Lament not long your failings, for forgiveness has risen from the grave.

Fear not death, for the death of our Savior has set us free.

The Lord has destroyed death by enduring it.

The Lord vanquished hell when He descended into it.

The Lord put hell in turmoil even as it tasted of His flesh.

Isaiah foretold this when he said, “[Hell] beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come” (Isaiah 14:9).

Hell was in turmoil having been eclipsed.

Hell was in turmoil having been mocked.

Hell was in turmoil having been destroyed.

Hell was in turmoil having been abolished.

Hell was in turmoil having been made captive.

Hell grasped a corpse and met God.

Hell seized earth and encountered heaven.

Hell took what it saw, and was overcome by what it could not see.

O death, where is thy sting?

O hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and you cast down!

Christ is risen, and demons fall!

Christ is risen, and angels exult!

Christ is risen, and life rejoices!

Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead.

For Christ, having risen from the dead, has shown us the way to life.

To Christ be glory and power forever and ever.

Amen!

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