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389 bytes added, 16:11, April 20, 2007
Midnight Office: diversification
Sometime before midnight, on the [[Holy Saturday|Blessed Sabbath]] the [[Midnight Office]] service is chanted. In the Slavic practice, the priest goes to the tomb and removes the [[epitaphios]] and carries it through the [[holy doors]] and places it on the [[altar]] table where it remains for forty days until the day of [[Ascension]]. In the Byzantine practice, the epitaphios has already been removed (during the [[Lamentations Orthros]] on [[Holy Friday]] evening).
The procession begins near midnight. The people leave the dark church building singing, carrying banners, [[icons]], candles, and the Gospel. The procession circles the outside of the church and returns to the closed front doors. Here In Greek practice, the Gospel is read which tells of the empty tombis now read. In Syrian practice, following the Gospel reading, the priest beats on the door and takes part in a dialogue with an interlocutor inside the church doors, crying out with the words of [[Psalm]] 23 (24): "Lift up your heads, O gates! And be exalted, you everlasting doors, that the king of glory may enter in!" In Slavic practice, neither of these rites is preserved. Next, the [[Pascha#Hymns|Paschal troparion]] is sung for the first time, together with the verses of [[Psalm]] 67 (68 ) which will begin all of the Church services during the Paschal season.
:''Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered; let those who hate him flee from before his face!''
:''As smoke vanishes, so let them vanish; as wax melts before the fire,''

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