On the day before Meatfare Sunday, we commemorate all our departed from the beginning of time. We pray for our dead, and it is for a reason. There is no death, Jesus Christ has conquered it. Our death is only a transition from one form of being to another. But after separating from the body, our soul has no power over its condition, the prayer of the living becomes its only comfort. The spiritual connection between the living and departed members of our Church is grounded in prayer.
The Meatfare Saturday is also called parental because we always begin our commemoration with prayers for our departed parents. There are six parental Saturdays in the church year, of which the Meatfare Saturday is one. The other five are the Trinity and Saint Dimitrius Saturdays, and the second, third, and fourth Saturdays of the Great Lent.
On these days, Orthodox Christians leave prayer notes with the names of their deceased. It is also customary to bring meals that are consecrated at the church and distributed to the willing. Anyone who takes the food will add their personal prayer to the commemoration of the departed at the church
Also on a parental Saturday, we prepare Kutiya, or Kolivo, a meal made from boiled wheat grains mixed with honey. To grow into a new crop, the grain needs to lie in the soil to decay. Likewise, the bodies of the dead are interred so that they would rise for eternal life in their time.
As we pray for our dead, we remember that all the now living will enter eternal life when their time comes. We also realise how vain and fragile our earthly lives are, how finite our worldly comforts and wealth, how small are many of our daily concerns. We can take none of them with us to eternity. Our joys and sorrows intertwine, our health is vulnerable to illness, and our life can stop abruptly at any moment. Our time on earth is short and flies past quickly. Days and years go by before we notice it.
As we read in the Scripture, «Everyone is a liar» «there is no one on earth who does what is right and never sins.» We are sinners, and we will be brought to answer for our sins. But we all have a chance to repent and reform while we are still on earth. As we commemorate our departed, let us also not forget to live our earthly lives on earth with dignity and make good use of our time.
The joyous Easter season or Paschaltide is finally here! In the Orthodox Church, this season starts on Easter Sunday (May 2nd) and continues for forty days until the eve of the feast of Ascension, which falls on June 10th this year.
We offer ourselves up to God by fulfilling His commandments, anticipating our imminent death, however absurd it may sound.
On November 8 (21 in the new calendar), the Church commemorates the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Powers. This feast was established after the fourth century Council of Laodicea
The calendar of the Church humbles our proud minds. It returns us to the truth of God the Creator of all things, including time, and thus its rightful master.
Let us take a deeper look at the history and meaning behind one of the most important texts in Orthodox Christianity.
The Orthodox Church approaches the Great Lent which will start on March 15th according to the Julian calendar. In order to prepare for the Lenten journey, the Church gives us four pre-lenten weeks to help us understand why we fast.
The Great and Holy week came, and the Royal Family followed Christ to Golgotha. The Tsar, the Empress and their children rejoiced as they celebrated their last Easter