Holy Saturday

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The descent of Christ into the underworld in the Albani Psalter (illumination, England 12th century)
The anointing stone in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem . According to tradition, this is where the body of Jesus was prepared for burial.

The Holy Saturday or Karsonnabend ( Old High German  kara , action ',' grief ',' sadness') is the last day of Holy Week and the second day of the Paschal Triduum . It is followed by Easter Sunday . Holy Saturday is regionally also referred to as a quiet Saturday . The Christians commemorate on Holy Saturday, the day the peace of the grave of Jesus Christ , his descent into the underworld , where he after his crucifixion in limbo , the "bosom of Abraham", the souls of the righteous since Adam have freed ( 1 Peter 3:19 EU ). The colloquial term for Easter Saturday as " Easter Saturday " or "Easter Sunday" deviates from church tradition: Easter Saturday in Christian usage is the Saturday of the Easter octave and thus the day before White Sunday , one week after Easter .

Roman Catholic Church

Holy Saturday is the day on which the Church commemorates Christ's rest in the grave and awaits his resurrection with fasting and prayer , which is celebrated on Easter . On Holy Saturday no sacraments are donated that are associated with festive joy, in particular there is no Eucharistic celebration , Holy Communion is only given as food for the journey ( communion on death ).

In cathedral churches in particular , solemn carmets are sung with the congregation on Maundy Thursday , Good Friday and Holy Saturday mornings .

The altar of the church is not decorated with altar cloth , candles or flowers, but shows the bare stone, symbol of the " corner stone " Christ. The cross is always set up in the churches for veneration by the faithful , often also an icon of Christ's descent into the underworld or a pietà (Vespers image). From the unveiling of the cross in the celebration of the passion and death of Christ to Easter vigil , the cross is honored by a double or single knee bend when passing by, as is the case with the most holy of holies .

In many churches, on Good Friday after the celebration of the suffering and death of Christ, a “ holy grave ” is erected with a cross laid down, the image of Christ resting in the grave. It is visited by the faithful on the evening of Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the day of the Lord's rest in the grave.

Easter Saturday ends with the beginning of the celebration of Easter Vigil , which is part of the liturgy of Easter Sunday as the night watch . Since the celebration of Easter Vigil is a vigil that should be held entirely in the dark, it can begin in the late evening hours of Holy Saturday.


  • Joseph Ratzinger : Holy Saturday. First meditation. In: Joseph Ratzinger: Meditations for Holy Week. (= Meitinger Kleinschriften , No. 5) Kyrios, Meitingen, Freising, 7th edition 1980, pp. 17-21 (spiritual interpretation of Holy Saturday).
  • Hans-Ulrich Wiese: Holy Saturday existence: dealing with Holy Saturday in liturgy and modern art (= image - space - celebration. Studies on Church and Art , Volume 1) Schnell and Steiner, Regensburg 2002, ISBN 3-7954-1515-2 ( Dissertation University of Bonn 2001, 292, [15] pages with illustrations).
  • Ingrid Fischer: The daily liturgy on the three days before Easter: Celebration - Theology - Spirituality (= Pietas liturgica - Studia , Volume 22), Francke, Tübingen / Basel 2013, ISBN 3-7720-8493-1 (Dissertation University of Vienna 2012, VIII , 423 pages, 24 cm, table of contents , content text ).
  • John Ortberg : World Movers. Jesus - who is this person? GerthMedien, Asslar, 2013, ISBN 978-3-86591-877-2 (Chapter 14, pp. 274-291 deals with Holy Saturday).

Web links

Commons : Holy Saturday  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Holy Saturday  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Isa 28.16  EU , Eph 2.20  EU 1 Petr 2.4  EU , 1 Petr 2.8  EU