A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Second Soul Saturday (Saturday of Souls Before Pentecost, Σάββατο πριν την Κυριακή της Πεντηκοστής). A day set aside for the commemoration of the dead within the liturgical year of the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches. Saturday is a traditional day of prayer and hymns for the dead (νεκρός), as Christ lay dead in the tomb on the Great and Holy Saturday. Departed relatives and others among the faithful not otherwise commemorated are honoured with prayers for their forgiveness, so that they may rest in peace (αναπαύομαι εν ειρήνη). Koliva (with wheat, raisins, cinnamon, nuts, pomegranate and powdered sugar) is prepared for sharing after the Memorial Service. People visit the tomb (μνήμα) of a loved one, show respect for the deceased by cleaning the tombstone, take care of the land around it, leave flowers, burn incense and light a vigil oil lamp (καντήλιi). On Crete, on the previous day and the Saturday, trees are not felled to avoid disturbing the souls sitting on the branches. Image: grforafrica.blogspot.com.
Prayer We pray for all those who, from ages past, have piously fallen asleep in the hope of resurrection unto life eternal. We pray that those who have died as a result of conflict between our many faiths or have been the victims of internecine conflict may be united with You, O God. We ask that the saving grace of the Holy Spirit wash away the sins from the souls of all our forefathers, fathers and brethren that have reposed from all the ages, so that they may all be united in the Kingdom of Heaven. The prayer of a righteous man has great power. Amen
Sadhu Sundar Singh (St Sundar Singh of India, The Apostle of the Bleeding Feet) (1889-c1929). Anglican Communion Feast Day commemorating the last journey of Punjabi Sikh, who was an Indian Christian missionary with an Anglican College education, a Reformer, Sadhu (ascetic devoted to spiritual practice), evangelist and Teacher of the Faith. Sundar felt that Christianity was without an ultimate meaning and resolved to kill himself unless whosoever was the True God appeared before him. The same night, he had a vision of Jesus and announced that henceforth he would do the missionary work of Jesus Christ despite family condemnation. Sundar was rescued from ill-treatment by a British Christian and, in the Christian Missionary Home near Simla (Shimla) in the Himalayan foothills, he served leprosy patients. On his 16th birthday, Sundar was publicly baptised as a Christian in the parish church in Simla. He set out on his journey as a new Christian, wearing a saffron turban and the saffron robe of a Sadhu, working within Christianity but aware that Indians could not be converted unless it was in an Indian way. He said: “I am not worthy to follow in the steps of my Lord, but like Him I want no home, no possessions. Like Him I will belong to the road, sharing the suffering of my people, eating with those who will give me shelter and telling all men of the love of God.” He was given an unexpectedly warm welcome in his home village and travelled north on his mission through the Punjab, over the Banihal (blizzard) Pass into Kashmir and then back through Muslim Afghanistan to the brigand-infested North-West Frontier and Baluchistan. By the Christian communities of the north, he was referred to as the apostle with the bleeding feet and he suffered arrest and stoning for his beliefs but experienced mystical encounters. In 1908, he crossed the frontier of Tibet, where he was appalled by the living conditions and was stoned as he bathed in cold water, as it was believed that holy men never washed. He went to Bombay (Mumbai), hoping to board a ship for Palestine but was refused a permit and had to return to the north. He realised during his stay in missions that Western civilisation had become the antithesis of the original Christian values, and he was disillusioned with the materialism and colonialism of Western society. He wished to forge an Indian identity for the Indian church and lamented that Indian Christians adopted British customs, literature and dress, which had nothing to do with Christianity and Christ. In December 1909, Singh began training for the Christian ministry at the Anglican college in Lahore, where he was ostracised for being different and after 8 months he left the college. The secret Missionaries group, linked to one of the Magi at Christ’s Nativity and to the disciples of the 1st-Century Apostle Thomas of India, numbered around 24,000 and Singh built a spiritual life with them and his visions. In his 20s, Singh’s name and picture were familiar all over the Christian world and he described a struggle with Satan to retain his humility. Many people said: “He not only looks like Jesus, he talks like Jesus must have talked.” With his habitual early morning meditation on the Gospels, in 1918 he made a long tour of South India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and the following year he was invited to Burma (Myamar), Malaya, China and Japan. The opportunity to visit Britain came and he visited the West twice, travelling to Britain, the USA and Australia in 1920, and to Europe again in 1922, before returning to India and his Gospel-proclamation work, although physically frail. In 1923, Singh made the last of his regular summer visits to Tibet and, in the following years in the Simla hills gave himself to meditation, fellowship and writing. In 1929, he made one last journey to Tibet, setting out on 18 April 1929 and reaching Kalka, a small town below Simla. Where he went after that is unknown, as is whether he died of exhaustion or reached the mountains. Sundar Singh wrote eight books in Urdu between 1922 and 1929, later translated into English and other languages. Venerated in Anglican Communion and revered by many as a formative, towering figure in the missionary conversions of the Christian church in India. He is respected in the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church and the Coptic Church, although neither officially recognises him as a saint. Image: sites.google.com.
St Thaddeus (St Jude Apostle and Martyr, Lebbaeus, Judas Thaddaeus, Θαδδαῖος, ܝܗܘܕܐ ܫܠܝܚܐ). Eastern Christianity Feast for one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus sometimes identified with Jude the brother of Jesus but clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, the Apostle who betrayed Jesus prior to His Crucifixion. Venerated in all Christian denominations that venerate saints, Islam. Alternative Eastern Christianity Feast Day 21 August, Feast in Western Christianity 28 October. The Armenian Apostolic Church honours St Thaddeus along with St Bartholomew as its patron saints. Patron of Armenia, lost causes with St Rita of Cascia, desperate situations, hospitals, St Petersburg, Florida, the Chicago Police Department, Clube de Regatas do Flamengo Rio de Janeiro, Lucena, Quezon, Sibalom, Antique, Trece Mártires, Cavite, the Philippines, Sinajana, Guam. Image: catholicprayersx.blogspot.com.