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 May 1, 2021 / April 18, 2021
Passion Week: Great Saturday, descent into Hades.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Venerable John, disciple of St. Gregory of Decapolis (820).
New Hieromartyr Bessarion priest (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Priests Nicholas (1937) and Basil (Derzhavin) (1930) and lay people of the city of Gorodets, Nizhni-Novgorod.
Virgin-martyr Tamara (1942).
Martyrs Victor, Zoticus, Zeno, Acindynus, and Severian of Nicomedia (ca. 303).
Venerable Cosmas, bishop of Chalcedon, and his fellow-ascetic Venerable Auxentius (815-820).
New Martyr John the Tailor of Ioannina, at Constantinople (1526).
“Maximov” Icon of the Mother of God (1299).
Venerable Euthymius the Enlightener of Karelia (1435), and Venerables Anthony and Felix of St. Nicholas Monastery in Karelia.
Monks John and Athanasius of Aegina (Greek).
St. Naucratius, abbot of the Studion (848).
St. Athanasia the Wonderworker of Aegina (9th c.).
St. Basil Ratishvili of the Holy Mountain (13th c.) (Georgia).
Martyr Sabbas the Goth (372).
The Scripture Readings
1 Corinthians 5:6-8
6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Pilate Sets a Guard
62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”
65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.
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.