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Memorial Saturday (Saturday of the Souls) of Pentecost

Today we remember all pious and Orthodox Christians who have fallen asleep in the Lord, and also recall the dread Day of Judgment. May Christ our God be merciful to them, and to us.

Two Epistles (Acts 28:1-31, I Thess. 4:13-17) and two Gospels (JN 21:14-25, JN 5:24-30) are appointed to be read at Liturgy. The readings from Acts and the Gospel of Saint John, which began on Pascha, now come to an end. The book of Acts does not end, as might be expected, with the death of Saints Peter and Paul, but remains open-ended.

In his article “With all the Saints,” Father Justin Popovich says that the Lives of the Saints are nothing less than a “continuation of the Acts of the Apostles.” Just as the book of Acts describes the works of Christ which the Apostles accomplished through Christ, Who was dwelling in them and working through them, the saints also preach the same Gospel, live the same life, manifest the same righteousness, love, and power from on High. As we prepare for the Sunday of All Saints, we are reminded that each of us is called to a life of holiness.

On this seventh Saturday of Pascha, Saint John Chrysostom’s “Homily on Patience and Gratitude” is appointed to be read in church. It is also prescribed to be read at the funeral service of an Orthodox Christian.

Ψυχοσάββατο - Ενωμένη Ρωμηοσύνη

In the Greek Orthodox Church, there is an important and long-standing tradition of praying for our departed sisters and brothers. Saturday (except for Lazarus Saturday and Holy Saturday) is the day of the week that is traditionally reserved for those who have fallen asleep because our Lord’s own salvific passing took place on Great and Holy Saturday.

While each Saturday provides an opportunity for the remembrance of those who have fallen asleep, there are two main Saturdays every year known as ’Saturday of Souls,’ which are designated specifically for this purpose: the Saturday before Meatfare Sunday, which is this Saturday, February 18, 2023, and the Saturday before Pentecost.

It is important to highlight that many traditions in the Church started locally, and some have been adopted on a larger scale or even more formally by the Church. This is demonstrated by the fact that in some regions or local Churches, the Saturday before the feast of Saint Demetrios (October 26th) is celebrated as a Saturday of Souls, and more local Churches have been adopting this tradition.

Most Churches also observe two additional Saturdays of Souls: one on the Saturday before Cheesefare Sunday (where we commemorate all the holy men and women who excelled in asceticism) and on the Saturday of the first week of Great Lent (where we celebrate the miracle of kollyva by the Great Martyr and Saint Theodore the Tyro).

Apolytikion of Sat. of Souls

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 of Sat. of Souls

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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