Easter Celebration of

Easter Celebration of.

In the ancient Church the seventh day of Passion-week (q.v.), the great Sabbath, as it was called, was observed with rigorous precision as a day of fasting. Religious worship was celebrated by night; and the vigils continued till cock-crowing, the hour at which it is supposed our Lord arose. At this hour the stillness of these midnight vigils was broken by the joyful acclamation, "The Lord is risen! The Lord is risen! The Lord is risen indeed!" The day of Easter was celebrated with every demonstration of joy as a second jubilee. There was a solemn celebration of the Lord's Supper; the baptism of catechumens; appropriate salutations, and demonstrations of joy; the liberation of prisoners, and the manumission of slaves. Charities were dispensed to the needy. Courts of justice were closed. The heathen were forbidden to celebrate public spectacles in order that the devotions of Christians might not be interrupted. The week following was considered as a continuation of the festival. During this time, those who had been baptized at Easter continued arrayed in white, in token of that purity of life to which they were bound by baptism. On the Sunday following they laid aside their garments of white, and were welcomed as members of the Church. — Bingham, Orig. Ecclesiastes book 20, chapter 5.

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