Join us for the Saturday of the Souls
Please join us at the Church of Our Saviour for Saturday of the Souls (March 1,8) as we commemorate those who have fallen asleep. Orthros will begin at 8:30am and Divine Liturgy will begin at 9:30am each Saturday. Below please read a beautiful article written by Fr. Anthony Stratis about the importance of praying for those who have fallen asleep and never to be forgotten. Also below is a simple recipe for Kolyva (boiled wheat). It is customary to prepare and offer kolyva and a list of names in memory of those who have fallen asleep. Feel free to fill out the attached document to submit names for commemoration or email me your list directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Memorial Prayers in the Greek Orthodox Church
For Christians, the act of gathering to pray for those who have died goes back to the earliest days of the Church. In particular, martyrs were honored (for example, placing the Altar Table of a church upon the site where the relics of a martyr were buried); however, gathering at the burial place of a friend or family member was also a common practice among Christians. When we gather today in the Church for a memorial, we are continuing a centuries-old practice.
So, why do we use ‘kollyva’ (wheat)? In John 12:24, Jesus says: “ Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” The boiled wheat is used in the Orthodox Church as a symbol of our hope in the Resurrection. From the grain that died comes the fruit of eternal life. Why, then, do we call the wheat ‘kollyva’? This name comes from a term commonly used during the fourth century, particularly where the following miracle occurred. The Emperor Julian the Apostate tried to have the fruits and vegetables, for use by Christians who were fasting during Great Lent, contaminated! In a dream, Saint Theodore the Tyron appeared to Patriarch Evdoxios and told him to instruct the faithful to consume only boiled wheat (‘kollyva’). The faithful responded accordingly and were able to continue the fast! This miracle is commemorated annually on the third Saturday of Souls.
When should we hold memorials? The practice of the Church is to hold them on Saturdays (since the souls are traditionally commemorated on Saturdays); however, the common practice has become Sundays, since we gather on Sundays for Liturgy. Regarding the usual times for memorials, besides the Saturdays of the Souls (the ‘psychosavata’), it should be noted that, according to ancient sources, memorials were held on the third, sixth, ninth, and fortieth day, as well as one year, after someone died. Currently, memorials are held around the fortieth day and the first anniversary of one’s death (although they may also take place at other times as well).
To arrange a memorial, one calls the church to schedule the service with the office. If they would also like to hold a service at the gravesite, they discuss that with the Father Elias as well. The name of the one for whom the memorial was arranged should be given to Father Elias (additional names may also be given for commemoration during the Preparation of the Gifts [the ‘Proskomidi’] and the Liturgy). It is traditional – though not required – to bring other items as well: Prosforon and wine, for use during the Liturgy, and olive oil, for the vigil light on the Altar.
As we pray, not only for the living (the Church Militant) but for the souls (the Church Triumphant) as well, we are drawn together with our Lord and Savior. Let us come together at all possible opportunities, seeking His blessings and His salvation.
By: Father Anthony Stratis
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral 1200 Robert E. Lee Boulevard; New Orleans, Louisiana
“Why do we pray for the dead? It is true that the dead are judged by how they lived. Generally, the Church teaches our future in eternity is based on our faith, life, deed, virtues, love, compassion, goodness, (or their absence) in this life, before our death. Yet, since we are never fully sure of the place of each soul before God, and because God Himself is merciful and loving, we pray for any help which might come to the soul of the deceased.” Fr. Stanley S. Harakas from The Orthodox Church: 455 Questions and Answers
4 cups shelled wheat (2 lbs)
½ cup granulated sugar
2 cups craisins
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 cups finely ground zwieback toast
white or silver candied almonds
Preparations: Cover the wheat with water and soak overnight.
Drain and rinse…then cover with 4 quarts of water in a heavy pot and
bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for several hours stirring
from time to time and scooping out any stray shells or foam until wheat becomes puffy and tender. Drain in a colander, rinse and drain again. Spread
wheat on a smooth towel to dry overnight. (You may want to have a photo of
your loved one with an icon and/or Kandili near the drying Kolyva.)
Day of Memorial: Cover large tray with paper doilies that extend over the
edge yet on top of doilies place wax paper so that the doily does not stick to the wheat. Combine granulated sugar, parsley, raisins, cinnamon, coriander and cumin with the wheat and mix well. Place combined mixture
on the tray and shape in a mound smoothing out the final surface. Spread zwieback crumbs covering entire surface and smooth out surface. Sift powdered sugar evenly over mound and smooth with wax paper.
Decorate with candied almonds as you wish with initials of the deceased and a cross in the center.
Symbolic Meaning of Ingredients:
Wheat= Everlasting life
Powdered Sugar= Sweetness in Heaven
Parsley= Green of the Earth