July 7, 2013

Why Is Sunday So Important For Christians?

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

Christ resurrected during the early hours of Sunday. We do not know the actual time of His Resurrection, since no one saw Him at that moment, but it was certified when the Myrrhbearing women went to the tomb to anoint the body of Christ with perfumes. Thus, Sunday is the first day of the week, the day of the Resurrection of Christ. If Christ conquered the dominion of death on a Saturday, on a Sunday He certified to all His Resurrection, that He is the conqueror of death and the devil.

The day of Sunday in the so-called weekly calendar is the first day from which the week is numbered, but also the eighth, because it lies at the end of the seventh day, after Saturday that is. In the Old Testament it was considered an important day, firstly because it is the first day of the creation of the cosmos, on which light was brought about, and on the other hand it is considered holy according to the command: "For seven days present food offerings to the Lord, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present a food offering to the Lord. It is the closing special assembly; do no regular work" (Lev. 23:36).

Moses did not call the first day first, but Day One. Interpreting this, Basil the Great says that holy Sunday, on which day the Lord resurrected, is called Day One in order to lead our minds to a sense of the future eternal life. Now Sunday is a type of the future age, but then it will be in itself the eighth day. If one thinks that the weekly cycle symbolizes the entire time of a persons life, and Sunday is a type of the future eighth age, then it is a single day. Basil the Great calls Sunday "the first-fruit of days" and "having the same origin as light".

According to Saint Gregory Palamas, Sunday is called the eighth day because on this day the Resurrection of Christ took place, which is the eighth resurrection in history. Three resurrections took place in the Old Testament (one by the Prophet Elijah and two by the Prophet Elisha), and four resurrections happened in the New Testament by Christ (the daughter of Jairus, the son of the widow of Nain, of Lazarus, and the dead on Good Friday). And so the greatest, the eighth resurrection, was the Resurrection of Christ. Essentially, however, it is not only the eighth resurrection, but also the first according to the resurrection hope of the dead.

On Sunday, the first day of creation, light was made. On Sunday, the first day of regeneration, the light of the Resurrection appeared, which is the same Light of Transfiguration and Pentecost. The human nature of Christ eliminated mortality and corruptibility, as we will see below.

Sunday is also called a holy and chosen day, because all the great Despotic events happened on it. According to the Fathers, the Annunciation to the Theotokos, the Birth of Christ, the Resurrection, the basic great Despotic events, occurred on a Sunday. And the Second Coming of Christ, and certainly the resurrection of the dead will also happen on this day (Saint Peter of Damascus). This is why Christians give such importance and weight on the day and seek to make it holy, because on this day the sudden Second Coming of Christ will take place.

For all these reasons Saint John of Damascus celebrates on the day of Pascha: "On this chosen and holy day, the first of the Sabbaths, the royal and supreme, the festival of festivals and celebration of celebrations, we bless Christ unto the ages."

It is humbling to think that the Church every Sunday with this wonderful hymn celebrates the Resurrection of Christ. Thus, besides the annual Pascha there is also a weekly Pascha, the so-called small Pascha, the luminous day of Sunday.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos