My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIS IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
ON THE SATURDAY BEFORE PENTECOST OR
MEMORIAL SATURDAY OR SATURDAY OF SOULS.
On this day, Saturday before Pentecost the Holy Orthodox Church
commemorates all those who reposed in ages past, in a godly manner,
in the pious hope of resurrection to eternal life.
One of the major common memorials designated yearly by the Church is served nine days after the bodily Ascension of Our Savior Jesus Christ, that is, the Saturday before Holy Pentecost. On this Memorial Saturday, the Church commemorates all those who have piously fallen asleep from the beginning of the age in the hope of the resurrection unto life eternal. The Holy Fathers of the Church have assigned this day for the remembrance of those who died without the usual benefit of memorial services. This includes all those who have died since Adam, even as we chant on this day: "We pray fervently that in the bosom of Abraham, do Thou rest to Thy servants in Thy courts, to them that from Adam till this day offered worship to Thee in purity…even every man who with faith worked performed all proper to this life. Vouchsafe them to attain Thy heavenly Kingdom, O God." [Pentecostarion, Saturday of Souls, Vespers Sticheron, Mode Plagal Four.] For all these our Church prays that they are enabled to provide a good defense at the time of the General Judgment, so that they may be found at the right hand of God with joy, in the portion of the righteous and the Saints, with a bright inheritance, and, thus become worthy of the Heavenly Kingdom. Hence, we say prayers for those righteous who lived before the incarnation of Christ. We also pray to the Lord regarding the dead in the sixth prayer of the Service of Kneeling on Pentecost.
We entreat God to grant rest to those who have reposed in piety, whether their death took place in the city or in the wilderness, whether at seas or on dry land. We pray for those whether they were autocrats, sovereigns, princes, rulers, hierarchs, priests, coenobites, monastics, or lay people. We remember them whatever their age, gender, or race, so that they may be deemed worthy of the Kingdom of the Heavens. Our Beneficent God, Who has created all, is easily reconciled. We ask His mercy upon our forefathers, great grandparents, grandparents, parents, kinfolk, relatives, brethren, and friends–whether they were rich or poor. We supplicate Our King and God that He forgives all of the iniquities that they committed in this life.
We, also, do not forget those who died suddenly due to flooding or perished out of doors whether in mountains or caves. We ask for pity on those who grievously ended their lives in the deep, died unknown on land, or were mortally wounded in wars and battles. We also ask the Lord to take compassion upon those who were rent asunder by beasts, or were devoured by fish, or were buried under whatever fell upon them as a result of earthquakes or avalanches, or whether they fell into abysses or pits. We ask that such victims might be delivered from the threat of punishment yonder. We also implore Him for those who were destroyed by the sword, or the dagger, or fire, or some other life-threatening weapon or peril. We request His mercy for those dispatched either by robbers and thieves, or by famine, or plague.
Therefore, those of the Church Militant on earth pray for those who have departed the fleeting things of this TEMPORAL LIFE. We pray that they may be settled in the Tabernacles of Christ’s chosen. "For though as men they have sinned on earth, yet do Thou, O silness One, by the mediation of the Theotokos who gave Thee birth, forgive them their failings, both voluntary and involuntary, that we may cry together to Thee, ‘Alleluia." We also beg the intercessions of the Theotokos, our ready helper, that we too be deemed worthy of rest with her Son. O Theotokos, as a bridge for the world who leads mortals to God, we ask thine intercessions: "SAVE FROM ALL DISTRESS AND CORRUPTION THOSE WHO HAVE FINISHED THEIR LIFE IN FAITH AND LOVE TOWARD THEE."
We should prepare here and now, for dread is the last moment and breath. Fearful is the judgment of the Master. Let us be mindful, before we go on sinning, that yonder is the unquenchable life, the weeping and the gnashing of the teeth, the unsleeping worm, the outer darkness, and the everlasting dreadful sentence. Therefore, when we visit the side of any grave, let us "bend down and gaze upon the utter delusion of this world. Where is the glory of great wealth and the comely beauty of the body? Where is the pride and glory of this life? Truly, all things are vanity and fleeing. Behold how the life of man passeth by as a shadow and a dream!" [Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church]
"Glory Be To GOD
– Sainit John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George