How long was Christ buried in the tomb? Let’s ask Saint Augustine:
“There were thirty six hours from the evening of His burial to the dawn of the resurrection, that is, a whole night with a whole day, and a whole night.”
- Saint Augustine De Trinitate, 4
Augustine says that Christ rose with the dawn while part of the darkness of the night remained. So then, the Gospels read that the women came to the tomb when it was still dark – that is before daylight. By then, Christ’s body was already absent from the sepulchre.
Augustine explains that the duration still qualifies as “three days” in the same passage from De Trinitate: “For as the primitive days were computed from light to night on account of man’s future fall, so these days are computed from the darkness to the daylight on account of man’s restoration.”
HT: Thomas Aquinas