St Philip the Apostle Sydenham SE26
St Philip the Apostle Sydenham SE26

Easter Vigil Service at Home 03 or 04 April 2021



Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!

Exult, all creation around God’s throne!

Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!

Sound the trumpet of salvation!


Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendour,

radiant in the brightness of your King!

Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!

Darkness vanishes for ever!


Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!

The risen Saviour, shines upon you!

Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people.


It is truly right, that with full hearts and minds and voices we should praise you, Father almighty, the unseen God, through your only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.


For Christ has ransomed us with his blood, and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin to our eternal Father!

This is our Passover feast, when Christ, the true Lamb is slain, whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.


This is the night /day:


When first you save our ancestors: you freed the people of Israel from their slavery and led them dry-shod through the sea.

When the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!

When Christians everywhere washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement, are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

When Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us had Christ not come as our Redeemer?

Father, how wonderful your care for us! How boundless your merciful love! To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault. O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer! Most blessed of all times, chosen by God, to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this time scripture says: ‘The night will be as clear as day: it will become my light, my joy.’

The power of this holy time dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy, it casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.

Season truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth and we are reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this time, receive our daily sacrifice of praise, through Christ, the Morning Star, who came back from the dead and shed his peaceful light on all humanity, your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.




The number of readings has varied through the ages. 7 Old Testament readings are provided here. You may wish to read them all or make a selection. Usually in church we have three. But the third reading from Exodus is always used and if you only have one, this is it. Each is followed by a psalm and a Collect. They all have a bearing on the mystery of Baptism and our redemption. They are as it were snapshots of our collective history as the people of God, which we read in the light of Christ’s resurrection.


Reading One:  Genesis 1:1 – 2:2:God saw all he made, and indeed it was very good.


Psalm 104 with the response: Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.


Bless the Lord, my soul!
Lord God, how great you are,
clothed in majesty and glory,
wrapped in light as in a robe!                                        R/


You founded the earth on its base,
to stand firm from age to age.
You wrapped it with the ocean like a cloak:
the waters stood higher than the mountains.                R/


You make springs gush in the valleys:
they flow in between the hills.
On their banks dwell the birds of heaven;
from the branches then sing their song.                        R/


From your dwelling you water the hills;
earth drinks its fill of your gift.
You make the grass grow for the cattle
and plants to serve our needs.                                      R/


How many are your works, O Lord!
In wisdom you have made them all.
The earth is full of your riches.
Bless the Lord, my soul!                                                R/


Collect: O God, who wonderfully created human nature and still more wonderfully redeemed it in Christ: grant us we pray, to set our minds against the enticements of sin, that we may merit to attain eternal joys. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Reading Two: Genesis 22: 1-18 The sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith.


Psalm 16 with the response: Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.


O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup:
it is you yourself who are my prize,
I keep the Lord ever in my sight:
since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.              R/


And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
even my body shall rest in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead,
nor let your beloved know decay.                                 R/


You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand happiness for ever.                           R/


Collect God and Father of all who believe in you, you promised Abraham that he would become the father of all nations, and through the death and resurrection of Christ you fulfil that promise:

everywhere throughout the world you increase your chosen people;. may we respond to your call by joyfully accepting your invitation to the new life of grace. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Reading Three: Exodus 14:15 – 15:1 The people of Israel went on dry ground through the sea.


In place of the Psalm: the continuation of the reading - the Song of Moses with the response:

 I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph.


I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

Horse and rider he has thrown into the sea!

The Lord is my strength, my song, my salvation.

This is my God and I extol him,
my father’s God and I give him praise.           R/


The Lord is a warrior! The Lord is his name.

The chariots of Pharaoh he hurled into the sea,
the flower of his army is drowned in the sea.

The deeps hide them; they sank like a stone.            R/


Your right hand, Lord, glorious in its power,
your right hand, Lord, has shattered the enemy.

In the greatness of your glory you crushed the foe.   R/


You will lead your people and plant them on your mountain,
the place, O Lord, where you have made your home,
the sanctuary, Lord, which your hands have made.

The Lord will reign for ever and ever.                         R./


Collect Lord God, in the new covenant you shed light on the miracles you worked in ancient times: the Red Sea is a symbol of our baptism, and the nation you freed from slavery is a sign of your Christian people. May every nation share the faith and privilege of Israel and come to new birth in the Holy Spirit. We ask this through Christ our Lord Amen.




Reading Four: Isaiah 54: 5-14  With everlasting love, the Lord your redeemer has taken pity on you.


Psalm 30 with the response: I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.


I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me
and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead,
restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.         R/


Sing psalms to the Lord, you who love him,
give thanks to his holy name.
His anger lasts but a moment; his favour through life.
At night there are tears, but joy comes with dawn.                R/


The Lord listened and had pity.
The Lord came to my help.
For me you have changed my mourning into dancing,
O Lord my God, I will thank you for ever.                               R/


Collect Almighty and eternal God, glorify your name by increasing your chosen people as you promised long ago: In reward for their trust, may we see in the Church the fulfilment of your promise. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Reading Five: Isaiah 55:1-11  Come to me and your soul will live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you.


Psalm: verses from Isaiah 12, with the response: With joy you will draw water

from the wells of salvation.


Truly God is my salvation,
I trust, I shall not fear.
For the Lord is my strength, my song,
he became my saviour.

With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.                              R/


     Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name!
Make his mighty deeds known to the peoples!
Declare the greatness of his name.                R/


Sing a psalm to the Lord 
for he has done glorious deeds,
make them known to all the earth!
People of Zion, sing and shout for joy

for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.        R/


Collect: Almighty, ever living God, only hope of the world, by the preaching of the prophets you proclaimed the mysteries we are celebrating tonight.

Help us to be your faithful people, for it is by your inspiration alone that we can grow in goodness. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Reading Six: Baruch 3: 9-15, 32 – 4:4 In the radiance of the Lord, make your way to light.


Psalm 19 with the response: You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.


The law of the Lord is perfect,
it revives the soul.
The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,
it gives wisdom to the simple.           R/


The precepts of the Lord are right,
they gladden the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear,
it gives light to the eyes.                   R/


The fear of the Lord is holy,
abiding for ever.
The decrees of the Lord are truth
and all of them just.                           R/


They are more to be desired than gold,
than the purest of gold,
and sweeter are they than honey,
than honey from the comb.               R/


Collect Father, you increase your Church by continuing to call all people to salvation.

Listen to our prayers and always watch over those you cleanse in baptism.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Reading Seven: Ezekiel 36: 16-28 I shall pour clean water over you and I will give you a new heart.


Psalm 51 with the response: A pure heart create for me, O God.


A pure heart create for me, O God,
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
nor deprive me of your holy spirit.                             R/


Give me again the joy of your help;
with a spirit of fervour sustain me,
that I may teach transgressors your ways
and sinners may return to you.                                 R/


For in sacrifice you take no delight,
burnt offering from me you would refuse,
my sacrifice, a contrite spirit.
A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.           R.


Collect: Father, you teach us in both the Old and the New Testament to celebrate this Passover mystery: Help us to understand your great love for us. May the goodness you now show us confirm our hope in your future mercy. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Gloria (bells are rung,)

Glory to God in the highest,

and peace to his people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King,

almighty God and Father,

we worship you, we give you thanks,

we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ only Son of the Father,

Lord God, Lamb of God,

you take away the sin of the world:

have mercy on us;

you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God the Father. Amen.


The Collect:

Grant, Lord that we who are baptised into the death of your Son may continually put to death our evil desires and be buried with him: that through the grave and gate of death we may pass to our joyful resurrection; through the merits of him who died and as buried and rose again for us, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


New Testament (Epistle) Reading: Romans.6: 3-11. Death hath no more dominion.


From Psalm 118 ; response: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!


Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
for his love has no end.’
Let the sons of Israel say:
‘His love has no end.                                      R/


The Lord’s right hand has triumphed;
his right hand raised me up.
I shall not die, I shall live
and recount his deeds.                                   R/


The stone which the builders rejected
has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord,
a marvel in our eyes.                                      R.


Gospel Mark 16: 1-7. “Do not be afraid. Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified, has risen.”



The Paschal Homily of Saint John Chrysostom


Around the year A.D. 400, our patron Saint John Chrysostom preached this Easter Homily. The faithful loved it so much they asked to hear it again. And so it became, to this day, part of the Orthodox Liturgy for Easter. We, at S. Philip’s have enjoyed it at the Easter Vigil for a few years now.


Is there anyone here who is a devout lover of God?

Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival.

Let those who are faithful servants enter rejoicing into the joy of their Lord!

Let those who are weary with fasting now receive their reward. 

Let those who have worked from the first hour receive today what they are owed. 

Let those who came after the third hour keep the feast with thankfulness.

Let those who arrived at the sixth hour be also confident; they too will not be deprived. 

Let those who have delayed until the ninth hour advance, with no fear. 


Let those who have delayed until the eleventh hour be not afraid for their tardiness; for the Lord is gracious, and will accept the last even as the first.

He gives rest to those who came at the eleventh hour, as well as to those who worked from the first hour. 

He is merciful to those who come late, and he cares for those who came at the beginning. 

He gives to the one; and he gives to the other also.

He rewards the work which is done, and he recognizes the incomplete attempt. 

He honours the act and he praises the intention.


And so let all enter into the joy of our Lord. 

Let the first and the second receive their reward. 

Let rich and poor rejoice together. 

You that have kept the fast and you that have not, rejoice today, for the table is full-laden; let everyone feast richly.

The calf is fatted; let no one leave hungry.

Let all enjoy the feast of faith; let all receive the riches of mercy. 

Let none complain of poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.


Let no-one grieve for their sins; for forgiveness has risen from the tomb.

Let no-one fear death; for the death of our Saviour has set us free. 

He has destroyed death by enduring it. 

By descending into hell, he has plundered it. 

He embittered it when it tasted of his flesh. 

Isaiah prophesied this and said: Hell has been embittered by meeting him below.

It was embittered, for it was abolished.

It was embittered, for it was mocked

It was embittered, for it was destroyed.

It was embittered, for it was annihilated. 

It was embittered, for it was now made captive.  I

t took a body and discovered God. 

It took earth and encountered heaven. 

It took what it saw and was conquered by what it did not see.

O death, where is your sting?

O Hell, where is your victory?


Christ is risen, and you, O death, are made nothing!

Christ is risen, and the evil ones are cast down!

Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!

Christ is risen, and life reigns triumphant!

Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ, having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen!




In baptism, God calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

To follow Christ means dying to sin and rising to new life with him.


I turn to Christ as Saviour. I submit to Christ as Lord. I come to Christ, the way, the truth and the life.


I repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour.


I renounce the deceit and corruption evil and all rebellion against God.


Credo: The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,

who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again.

He ascended into heaven,

and is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.



In joy and hope let us pray to the Father.


That our risen Saviour may fill +Christopher our Bishop, +Karowei Bishop of Woolwich, us,and all Christian people with the joy of his glorious and life-giving resurrection.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


That isolated and persecuted churches may find fresh strength in the good news of Easter:

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


That he may provide for those who lack food, work or shelter.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


That by his power war and famine may cease through all the world.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


That he may reveal the light of his presence to the sick, the weak and the dying,

to comfort and strengthen them. Among the sick…

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


That, according to his promises, all who have died in the faith of the resurrection may be raised on the last day. We pray for those who have died recently….and for those whose anniversaries are at this time…..

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

That he may send the fire of the Holy Spirit upon his people, so that we may bear faithful witness to his resurrection.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


Heavenly Father, you have delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of your Son: grant that, as his death has recalled us to life, so his continual presence in us may raise us to eternal joy. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord: Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.


The Peace

If you are able to be with others, you may wish to share the Peace:

The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said, ‘Peace be with you.’

Then were they glad when they saw the Lord. Alleluia.




The Lord’s Prayer,


Agnus Dei.


Spiritual Communion

            “Spiritual Communion” is recommended at any time we cannot physically receive the Sacrament of the Lord’s Body and Blood. It means that God gives us the grace of the sacrament in response to our real desire to receive it. This does not mean that we can get on just as well without receiving Holy Communion, but rather, if the opportunity of receiving it is denied to us for whatever reason, God will not withhold its grace and blessing from us. Here is a form of prayer we can use.



Lord Jesus I believe that you are present objectively in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I desire you in my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, show yourself to be already spiritually in my heart, as I embrace you and unite myself wholly to you ;do not let me ever be separated from you .Amen.



God of Life, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross,

and by his glorious resurrection have delivered us from the power of our enemy:

grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his risen life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Solemn Blessing.


God the Father, by whose love Christ was raised from the dead,

open to us who believe the gates of everlasting life. Amen.


God the Son, who in bursting from the grave has won a glorious victory,

give us joy as you share the Easter faith. Amen.


God the Holy Spirit, who filled the disciples with the life of the risen Lord,

empower us and fill us with Christ’s peace. Amen.


And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be upon us and remain with us always. Amen.


Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Let us go forward in his peace Alleluia.







Copyright notice: As well as my own words I have drawn on material from internet sources including websites of The Church of England and electronic sources, and on printed sources including Days of the Lord. Some Copyright material is included from Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000) and The Christian Year: Calendar, Lectionary and Collects(1997, 1998, 1999) copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.




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