As we make commemoration today of each of them that have died in piety from
ages past, we earnestly entreat Thee , O Lord: Grant rest unto all, together with
Each year the Church calls the faithful to remember those Orthodox Christians who have reposed in diverse ways but were not deemed worthy to receive the appointed memorial services. Out of her love for man, the Church makes a common memorial on the “Saturday of Souls” for all the faithful from all ages, reminding us of the fathomless mercy of our great God. This commemoration is made several times throughout the year:
- The Saturday of Meatfare Week (the second Saturday before Great Lent)—the day before the Sunday of the Last Judgement
- The second Saturday of Great Lent
- The third Saturday of Great Lent
- The fourth Saturday of Great Lent
- Radonitsa (Monday or Tuesday after Thomas Sunday)
- The Saturday before Pentecost
The service on these days provides a common memorial for all pious Orthodox Christians who have reposed from all ages past, so that those who did not have particular memorial services may be included in this common service. The words of the canon of Matins for this day are direct and show us the great the mercy of our loving God:
O Thou Who from the earth didst create
the dust of the flesh and didst quicken it
by the Spirit, do Thou, O Compassionate
Saviour, grant rest in life unending unto
those whom Thou hast taken unto Thyself,
Also, the Church of Christ teaches us that alms should be given to the poor by the departed one’s kinsmen as a memorial for him.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 (Departed)
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
24 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.
28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth-those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
O Thou Who by the depths of Thy wisdom dost provide all things out of love
for man, and grantest unto all that which is profitable, O only Creator: Grant rest,
O Lord, to the souls of Thy servants; for in Thee have they placed their hope, O
our Creator and Fashioner and God.
Hymns from the service of Matins
Ode 3 Troparion from the Canons of Matins
Vouchsafe, O God that they who have passed the course of their life in godly
faith may put on the crown of righteousness, and enjoy eternal good things.
Thou alone art immortal, Who hast created and fashioned man. For from the
earth were we mortals fashioned and unto the same earth shall we go again, as
Thou, Who didst fashion me, didst command, and say unto me: For earth art
Thou, and unto earth shalt thou return, whither all we mortals shall wend our
way, as we make of our funeral dirge the song: Alleluia.
On this day, as the most divine Fathers have ordained, we make commemoration
of all them that from ages past have reposed in piety in the hope of the resurrection
of eternal life.
Commemorate not the offences of the dead, O Word;
Prove not Thy good bowels of compassion to be dead.
Do Thou number the souls of them that have gone to rest before us, O Master
Christ, among the dwellings of Thy righteous, and have mercy on us, since
Thou alone art immortal. Amen.
Hymns were used from the English translation of “The Triodion”
Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by
permission. All rights reserved.