The day of the commemoration of the dead or Radonitsa
Upon the completion of seven joyous festal days of Christ’s Resurrection, we share our great joy with the deceased. We do so in hope of the blessed resurrection, so jubilantly announced by the Lord Himself who entered hell with glad tidings about victory over death. This joyful news in Russian means “radostnyi” and thus the name for the day is Radonitsa. It originates from an ancient Slavic word meaning “the one who rejoices.”
We learn from the Kiev Caves Paterikon about a story of a devout elder who went to cense the graves inside the caves on Pascha together with a deacon. As soon as they exclaimed: “Christ is Risen, fathers and brethren!,” they heard a loud greeting in response: “Indeed He is Risen!”
After the evening service on the eve of Radonitsa and on the day of Tuesday of the second week after Pascha, panikhidas were served after Liturgies in the monastery churches. During the day, the sisters visited the monastery and village cemeteries and the monastery’s clergy served the Litya services there.
We still rejoice in the afterfeast of Pascha, so the panikhidas are sung using paschal hymns, canons and sticheras. It was established this way so that we could share with the deceased the joy of the Lord’s Resurrection.