On Saturdays, the Orthodox Church remembers the Most Holy Mother of God and the faithful departed. During Holy Week, the Church celebrates Christ’s descent to the dead and His trampling down death by death on Holy Saturday, just as a week before on Lazarus Saturday, it remembers Christ’s raising Lazarus from the tomb. Throughout the year, but especially during Great Lent, there are a number of Saturdays that are “Soul Saturdays,” or days on which the departed are remembered and prayed for. At no time can we forget the triumph of Christ and the hope of the departed.
I have not found good sources to speak about Saturday’s association with the Mother of God. Doubtless a reader or two will have something to share with the rest of us. As I thought about this myself (and thus you should take it for nothing more than my thought) I recalled verses associated with the Mother of God:
The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore. For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy. (Psalm 132:11-16)
The fulfillment of these verses are linked to the Incarnation. The resting place and habitation of God (Zion) is frequently understood by the fathers and the hymnody of the Church to refer to the Mother of God. She is the “ark of God’s rest.” It was this particular thought that made a connection for me with Saturday, the day of rest. For the true rest of God is found in His habitation, most perfectly fulfilled in the womb of the Virgin.
I would gladly hear more of this good day and the joy it gives us all.
In the 4th Tone
Rejoice, O Virgin, Theotokos
The Lord is with Thee.
Blessed art Thou among women
And blessed is the fruit of Thy womb,
For thou hast borne the Savior of our Souls.