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Saturday of Souls

February 5, 2010

On Meatfare Saturday, before the commemoration (on Meatfare Sunday) of
the Last Judgment, the Holy Church prays for the departed, so that together with us
they also stand at the right hand of the Judge, and especially prays for those who
have died, who, as the Synaxarion says, were stolen suddenly by death in a foreign
country, on the sea and on impassable mountains, on cliffs, from starvation, from
plagues and hunger, in war, in fires, from cold, and have undergone all kinds of
other generic types of death, and also about poor and needy, and in general for all
who “have not received commemoration in the legitimate psalms and hymns”. On
a Saturday, instead of another day, before Meatfare Sunday it is necessary to pray
for the repose of souls because the Sabbath Day is the day of rest, according to its
innate meaning. It is the most important day for prayer for those who repose with
the Saints. Besides this, the present prayer for the departed who repose the Holy
Church reminds us about our inevitable end and our standing for trial before the
incorruptible Judge, that, fearing these things to better prepare us for the spiritual
struggle which are to come in the saving fast. (S.V. Bulgakov)

In the Church we all depend on each other, belong to each other, are united by the love of Christ. (Therefore no service in the Church can be “private”.) Our repentance would not be complete without this act of love towards all those, who have preceded us in death, for what is repentance if not also the recovery of the spirit of love, which is the spirit of the Church. Liturgically this commemoration includes Friday Vespers, Matins and Divine Liturgy on Saturday.

Fr. Alexander Schmemann

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Only Creator who out of the depths of wisdom lovingly govern all things and upon all bestow what is accordingly best for them, give rest to the souls of Your servants, for they have placed their hope in You, our Author and Maker and God.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Give rest, O Christ, among the Saints to the souls of Your servants, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no grieving, but life everlasting.

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