- Epistle: 1 Corinthians 23-28
- Luke 21:8-9,25-27,33-36
Praying to the reposed is a crucial element of the Christian faith. The life of a human being does not end with the dissolution of their earthly body and the separation of their soul from the body, but the person continues alive in spirit awaiting general resurrection: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5: 28-29).
Christianity addresses every human being saying: "O man, do not only say that you are from the dust and to the dust you return, but say also that you are from God and to Him you will return."
The Orthodox Church assigns two Saturdays per year as a general memorial to those who have reposed in the hope of the glorious resurrection, for some people have no one to commemorate them. It should be noted that every Saturday according to the Orthodox liturgy is dedicated to the reposed except Lazarus Saturday, Holy Saturday, and feast days. Likewise, the reposed are commemorated in every Divine Liturgy on the altar during the proskomedia service and in the Great Entrance.
These two Saturdays are:
- The Saturday just before the Sunday of the Last Judgment or Meatfare Sunday.
Judgment means the second coming of Christ, and because our dead are not yet subject to judgment, the Church commemorates the reposed in hope, and invites us to pray for the rest of their souls by the infinite mercy of God, also reminding us of the need to repent.
- The Saturday immediately before Pentecost.
The Holy Spirit is the source of life, grace and holiness, and hence we solicit the grace of the Holy Spirit for the comfort and rest of the reposed.
There is no death in Christianity because the true dead person is the one who rejects the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and his presence in his heart. And here we hear the Apostle Paul say: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”(Ephesus 5:14)
There is no death in Christianity but rest and a transition to eternal life.
It is the Soul Saturday of the reposed, and not of the dead. Death is killed by the death of the human nature in Christ on the Cross. When the Lord descended into hell death was vanquished in its home place.
Therefore, the Creed, which is from the fourth century, does not mention the word "dead" for Christ. Rather, it says of him: "He was crucified during the reign of Pilate Pontius, He suffered, was buried and rose on the third day."
This is what it means that Christ has two whole natures and two whole wills: divine and human.
He died in His human nature and not in His divine nature. The divine nature does not die; and He rose by His own authority.
Our dead rest in the hope of eternal resurrection and therefore do not die. The Master and Source of life was incarnate, took our human nature, and was crucified. He arose and resurrected us with him, and death was annulled by His death. We became people of the Resurrection.
The best consolation uttered by Jesus to the sister of Lazarus, who was stinking after four days in the grave is this: ““I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 25:11). Then He stood at Lazarus' tomb and cried with a loud voice, saying, "Lazarus, come out!" So he came out.
Christ is risen.
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