THE SUNDAY OF SAINT GREGORY PALAMAS
THE SUNDAY (TRIUMPH) OF ORTHODOXY
SATURDAY OF THE FIRST WEEK OF THE GREAT FAST
At the sacred memorials, as we know, kollyva is offered, a practice which can be traced to the middle of the fourth century. Kollyva, in antiquity, referred to special cakes made of boiled wheat with sugar, dried raisins, pomegranate seeds, nuts, herbs, etc. Bread and wine with olives or cheese or rice were offered in memorials of earlier times. The offering of these gifts served the purpose of charity, and those who partook of them would pray, “Blessed be his/her memory!” This is why they were called makariae (blessings), and had their origin at the meals or the funeral meals of which the Apostolic Constitution mention.+ As a continuation of that ancient custom are the meals offered today by the relatives of the deceased to those who prayed with them at the sacred memorial services.
The boiled wheat grains of kollyva, which finally prevailed over the other gifts, conceal a profound and most didactic symbolism. They symbolize the resurrection of the bodies from the dead of the bodies. They remind us that man, too, is a seed that is at death buried in the earth as is the seed of wheat. This seed will be resurrected again by the power of God. Learn More
The two preceding Sundays, of the Last Judgment and of Forgiveness, together constitute – albeit in reverse order – a recapitulation of the whole range of sacred history, from its beginning point, Adam in Paradise, to its end-point, the Second Coming of Christ, when all time and history are taken up into eternity. During the forty days that now follow, although this wider perspective is never forgotten, there is an increasing concentration upon the central moment in sacred history, upon the saving event of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection, which makes possible man’s return to Paradise and inaugurates the End. Lent is, from this point of view, a journey with a precise direction; it is the journey to Pascha. The goal of our journey is concisely expressed in the closing prayer at the Liturgy of the Presanctified: ‘… may we come uncondemned to worship at the Holy Resurrection’. Throughout the forty days we are reminded that we are on the move, travelling on a path that leads straight to Golgotha and the Empty Tomb. Learn More