The Orthodox Observance of Great and Holy Saturday
On Great and Holy Saturday the Church observes the day on which Christ reposed in the tomb. Foreshadowing this day as the blessed the seventh day, by Moses, the Church sees it the Blessed Sabbath. In other words, this is the day of rest on which the only-begotten Son of God rested from all His works (Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Saturday).
By calling this day the Blessed Sabbath the Church links Holy Saturday with the creative act of God. In the account of creation in the Book of Genesis, God made man in His own image and likeness, and to be truly himself, man was to live in everlasting communion with the dynamic power of that image: God. When humankind fell from God, that image was broken.
By His Holy Resurrection, the Logos (Word), the Son of God through whom all things were created, has come to restore us to communion with God. He has thereby completed creation, and all things are as the Father intended. Having consummated this great act, He rests from all His works, and this day is forever known as the Blessed Sabbath.
With love in Christ,
Saturday April 15, 2017 / April 2, 2017
Passion Week: Great Saturday, descent into Hades.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Venerable Titus the Wonderworker (9th c.).
Martyrs Amphianus (Apphianus) and Edesius (Aedesius) of Lycia (306).
Martyr Polycarp of Alexandria (4th c.).
Venerable Gregory, ascetic of Nicomedia (1290).
St. George of Matskveri Monastery (9th c.) (Georgia).
St. Nicetius of Lyons (573) (Gaul).
Virgin-martyr Theodora of Palestine (Greek).
St. Sabbas, archbishop of Crimea (11th c.).
The Scripture Readings
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
He Is Risen
28 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.
The Women Worship the Risen Lord
9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
The Soldiers Are Bribed
11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.