Hierarchical commemoration services and the akathist
The Holy Church lifts up special prayers to God today for the repose of all Orthodox Christians who passed away from the beginning of time, so the Trinity ancestral Saturday is also known as the universal memorial Saturday. This remembrance of the dead was established on a Saturday before Pentecost, since with the descent of the Holy Spirit, the work of salvation of man, with the deceased also being a part of it, was made complete. As the Church prays on Pentecost to bestow the Holy Spirit upon all those who live, She also asks that, for the deceased, the grace of the All-Holy Spirit, the All-Sanctifying Comforter would become the source of blessedness, because “every soul is made alive” by the Holy Spirit. Saint Basil the Great who composed the prayers for the Vespers on Pentecost says that on that day the Lord deigns to receive prayers for the dead and even for “those captured in hell.”
The early-morning hierarchical Divine Liturgy, the panikhida and the akathist before the honorable relics of Venerable Seraphim of Sarov were celebrated in the Trinity Cathedral of the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery. Metropolitan Georgiy of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas presided at the services. Concelebrating His Eminence was Bishop Innocent of Sormovo, the Vicar bishop of the Nizhny Novgorod Diocese.
During the post-communion sermon, Rev. Fr. Alexiy Kurnosov of the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery spoke about a great gift the mankind has received from God – the immortality of the human soul. But, in order to receive this gift, the preacher emphasized, it is necessary to accept God in your heart, fully trust in Him and labor hard. The lives of the saints testify that some may already reside in heaven even during their earthly lives, whereas immortality will be made possible after Christ’s Second Coming only to those who believed in Him.
The loss of a loved one often becomes the true tragedy, with many lamenting, “I can’t forget that person.” In consolation for those who mourn, Father Alexiy said that we shouldn’t forget. On the contrary, it is necessary to find inner strength to build new relationships with the deceased and continue to assist them, but in eternity.
At the end of the service, Hegumenia Sergia, the abbess of the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery, on behalf of the entire monastic family, heartily thanked Metropolitan Georgiy and Bishop Innocent for their prayers on the Holy Trinity Saturday. Matushka hegumenia wished the archpastors that the Lord gives rest to the souls of their deceased relatives in the abodes of the righteous, and that through the prayers of the Most Holy Mother of God and the saints of Diveyevo, they receive strength to carry on their labors for the good of the Orthodox Church and our Motherland. Hegumenia Sergia presented Metropolitan Georgiy and Bishop Innocent with prosphora and prayer beads for memory in prayer.
On the ancestral Trinity Saturday, the head of the Nizhny Novgorod Diocese greeted all who came to worship and remarked that we are standing at the threshold of the Church birthday, when the fullness of the Holy Spirit will be spread throughout the world.
“Today we specifically commemorate the Universal Church in its entirety, those who passed away in our Lord Christ Jesus since time immemorial. And today the Heavens rejoice in particular because, in prayer and the songs of glory to the Lord, the earthly and heavenly Church become one. So, together with the angels, we sing: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy Lord of Sabaoth, Heaven and Earth are full of Thy Glory’,” said His Eminence.