Holy Saturday or Gospel Saturday

Holy Saturday is the day between Good Friday and Easter.

The service of the Holy Saturday in the Syriac Orthodox Church begins around 11:30 am with Noon prayer, then the 9th hour prayers, followed by Holy Qurbono. Holy Qurbono is conducted on this day in the same ‘pattern’ of Pesaho Qurbono (Holy Thursday). But the Qaumo of the day (i.e. Holy Saturday Qaumo) must be chanted. 

The Holy Qurbono shall not be celebrated on the same altar where the burial service of our Lord Jesus Christ was conducted on Great Friday (Good Friday). It can be celebrated on another altar or a temporary altar can be arranged for it.

In the Syriac Orthodox Church,   the Holy Saturday is observed as the day of commemoration of all the departed ones. (We also remember all our departed ones  just before the Great Lent begins, which is also called Aneede Sunday).

The Holy Saturday is also known as the Gospel Saturday. Because after the crucifixion, Christ went to Sheol, (the word ‘Sheol’ means  the grave or the abode of the dead) to preach the Gospel to the departed souls (1 Peter 3:19, 4:6). The Holy Qurbono celebrated on the Holy Saturday gives us an opportunity to pray for all the departed souls. 

The Syriac Orthodox Church teaches that Christ descended to the sheol of the dead on Holy Saturday to save the righteous souls. An ancient homily for Holy Saturday states – “a great silence stilled the world while Christ searched for Adam, ‘our first father,’ as for a lost sheep.” 

Syriac Church father Mor Ephraim says, “This is the Son of the carpenter, wWho skilfully made His Cross as a bridge over Sheol that swallows up all, and brought over mankind into the dwelling of life”.

Let us pray to God for all our beloved departed souls on this day for His grace and mercy.

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Ayub Silvanos is the Metropolitan of the Knanaya Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch. H. E. is currently serving as the Metropolitan of the North American & Europe Region of the Knanaya Archdiocese since 2009.

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