Time at the church and of the services
The pilgrim is frequently astonished to discover that time at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre does not always coincide with that of his or her own watch, since inside the church “winter” time is always used, as the agreed rules do not allow for changing to “summer time”. As a result, times of summer services are one hour later (by the watch) than in the winter.
Mass presided by the Latins in the Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre begins at 4.30 each morning and is repeated each half hour until 7.45.
At 6.30 the friars celebrate the Solemn Mass for the day in the space in front of the Edicule. Masses are also held at Calvary, in the right nave, from 5.00 to 8.30.
On Friday the Solemn Mass at 06.30 is held at Calvary.
Also on Fridays, the communities take turns in carrying out the task of cleaning the Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre.
The friars, following tradition, make the Way of the Cross each Friday through the streets of Jerusalem, departing at 15.00 from the Column of the Flagellation and terminating in front of the Edicule, where the Resurrection of Our Lord is proclaimed.
Following the completion of the Latin morning services, management of the Edicule passes into the hands of the Greek Orthodox.
Each afternoon at 16.00 the Franciscan community leads a procession throughout the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, departing from the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament and stopping in each of the chapels along the eastern ambulatory, descending also to the Chapel of the Finding of the Cross and exiting from Calvary to rejoin the Edicule of the Tomb. The procession concludes with the Eucharistic Blessing at the point of departure. Pilgrims from all of the different nationalities form an integral part of this daily ritual.
Of the other two rites that share the Holy Sepulchre, only the Armenians carry out a mobile precession in the church, which takes place the last three days of the week.
After the closing of the church, the services of the three communities continue, beginning at 23.30 with the various incensations and the night services. The first mass is celebrated by the Greek Orthodox at half past midnight, followed two hours later by the Armenians so as to arrive once again at the opening hour and the beginning of daily life at the Holy Sepulchre.