Saturday, April 14, 2012

Great and Holy Saturday

After the lamentations of Great and Holy Friday and the joy that comes with the first glimpse of the Resurrection that awaits our Lord and also us, the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil on Great and Holy Saturday often becomes forgotten. It is such a shame that except for new converts who are received into the Church on this day, their families, their sponsors and those usual attendees, the church is only maybe a quarter full of what it was last night. Most people, like our Lord, take today to rest, though He was resting in Hades proclaiming the same good news He gave to the living, freeing Adam and Eve from their bondage and trampling down death.

It is a common mistake that icons like the one pictured above are called Resurrection Icons. That is patently false. The actual description is that of the Harrowing of Hades which is prophesied by Habakkuk in the Old(er) Testament. There is NO icon of the Resurrection for that event cannot be properly seen. The Resurrection is something that must be experienced. And without the Resurrection, says St. Paul, our faith is utterly in vain.

And today on this Great and Holy Saturday, we see our first glimpses of the Resurrection that awaits us. Those who come for the Liturgy on this day are probably even more eager for the holy flame to come into our midst and sing that Christ has risen and trampled down death by death.

Our Lord rests today and awakens as one out of sleep, delivering us from the ancestral curse of Adam (cf. Koinonikon of Holy Saturday), so let us rest with anticipation for the Great and Glorious Pascha very soon to come.

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