Sunday, May 23, 2010

Interceding for the dead

How are YOU celebrating the holiday?

I didn't remember, either. There are times when I'm more in tune with the church calendar, and times, obviously, when I'm not.

Today, many churches around the world celebrate Pentecost.

A cluster of holidays around this time in the Russian Orthodox Church include "Soul Saturday" and "Trinity Sunday/Pentecost."

Although I had heard bits and pieces, I finally decided to try to find out a little more about "Soul Saturday." Continue/-

It took me some time to even determine a proper search term, as in Russian it is called "Parents' Saturday." All I kept hearing was that everyone went to the cemetery on the Saturday before Pentecost, and I didn't see the connection.

"Saturday is a traditional day for prayer for the dead, because Christ lay dead in the tomb on Saturday...These days are devoted to prayer for departed relatives and others among the faithful who might not be commemorated specifically as saints." (wikipedia)

"Saturdays" above is plural because there are other Saturdays during Lent and at other times in the church calendar that have the same "purpose."

So as with other holidays on the Russian Orthodox Calendar, many nominally Christians in Russia have dutifully made their stop at the graveyard this weekend to visit granny or whomever else is buried there. This was a bit of a cultural shock for me, and I honestly cannot imagine how it must feel to be Russian and to observe such a tradition without knowing the hope of salvation.

I suppose the idea is that if so-and-so's been gone for awhile, you can go to the burial site on Soul Saturday and say a prayer, and maybe his/her soul will end up in a better place.

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