“From the early times, our Church dedicated Saturday to the souls. It is primarily the day of those who have fallen asleep. And Christians always took care, with memorial services and charitable acts done especially on Saturdays, to stay close to their dead and ask God for their repose and salvation. Even today one will see more people in cemeteries on Saturdays than on any other day.
But why is Saturday the day of the souls? There are many explanations. The most likely explanation why Saturday was set apart for the departed appears to be that the word “Saturday” — coming from the Hebrew word Sabbath — means rest. And on this day we are praying for the repose of the souls.
Starting from this point of view, it is worth our expressing a few thoughts so that we of today may remember again great truths concerning the Saturday of the Souls. Properly speaking, there are only two Saturdays of Souls, the one on Saturday before Meat-fare Sunday and the other on Saturday before Pentecost.
Yet Saturday is generally as the day for those basic and saving truths:
- That the world does not end in whatever we see and count, but also extends in the space of the spirit, which also exists, coexists together with us. In this place the souls of our departed beloved are encamped.
- That the Church is a continuous intercommunion between those of its members that are still struggling on earth and those that have already reposed in the Lord.
- That amidst the fever of action and the struggle of daily life we must remember that the natural terminus of every effort, which is rest in the Lord, since there is nothing more certain than death and nothing more uncertain than the hour of death.”
Excerpted from The Orthodox Messenger