March 6, 2021

Saturday of Souls (Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos)

By Archimandrite Epiphanios Theodoropoulos

The Saturday after the Sunday of the Prodigal Son is called the "Saturday of Souls" or "Souls Saturday", because on it the the holy Church performs memorials on behalf of the reposed. From the Horologion of the Church, we copy the following:

"From the Apostolic Constitutions (Bk. 8, Ch. 42) the Church of Christ received the custom to perform the so-called third and ninth and fortieth and so forth memorials for the reposed. This is because many over time have died prematurely, or abroad, or at sea, or on mountains, or on cliffs, or by poverty and thus did not have the honor of such a prescribed memorial. For this reason the divine Fathers, moved by their philanthropy, set forth today as a common memorial of all those who throughout the ages died as pious Christians, so that those few who happened to not have memorials may be included in this common one.

Furthermore, because tomorrow we commemorate the Second Coming of Christ, and because the reposed have not been judged, nor have they received their final reward (Acts 17:31; 2 Pet. 2:9; Heb. 11:30-40), it is an opportunity for the Church to commemorate these souls today, encouraged by the infinite mercy of God, praying for Him to have mercy on sinners. By commemorating in common all those who have died it reminds us also of our common death at a fitting time and it provokes us towards repentance, which is a third reason for today's memorials."

Our Church chants on this day the following:

"Only Creator who out of the depths of wisdom lovingly govern all things and upon all bestow what is accordingly best for them, give rest to the souls of Your servants, for they have placed their hope in You, our Author and Maker and God."

Source: From the book Περίοδος Τριωδίου. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.