Little Leighs - St John - Oak Priest
The wooden priest effigy in the recess could be moved to make space for the Easter Sepulchre ceremony, abolished during the reformation. This ceremony began on Good Friday with 'creeping to the cross', when parishoners would crawl towards a crucifix (representing the dead body of Christ) and kiss it. Afterwards the priest and his assistants, bare-foot, would wrap the crucifix, and place it in a 'sepulchre', together with a pyx containing the host (consecrated communion wafer). The sepulchre would then be covered and lights placed in front. These lights would burn day and night from Good Friday until Easter Sunday all over England, and were tended constantly, by both priests and lay people. On Easter Sunday morning, before mass, before the ringing of bells, but with the church still lighted, the wafer in the Easter Sepulchre was taken out and placed on the altar, to represent the Resurrection. The cross was then removed and carried in ceremonial procession, followed by mass.