On April 7, on the Holy and Great Saturday we had a solemn celebration at St. George Church. This year this day fell on the feast of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Mother of God, so the Church services combined hymns and readings of the two holy days. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served Vespers with the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil. After the reading of the Epistle the covers on the stands in the temple, as well as vestments of those who served were changed from black to the festal color of blue.
Following the readings from Sacred Scripture he preached a sermon in Russian. Fr. Igor stressed that this year we have an amazing spiritual coincidence of the two profound holy days having a great meaning. Feast of the Annunciation tells us about the very beginning of our salvation while Great Saturday tells us about the end of that mission. At the same time we rejoice of the Good News about future birth of the Savior, and we see the Lord’s Tomb with the Shroud in the middle of the church telling us that our Lord died and was buried. The very beginning and very end of the earthly life of Jesus came together today in one celebration.
On Great Saturday we have to remember that our Lord Jesus Christ underwent His sufferings and a humiliated death on the cross, that He was buried – all for our sake, so we may be saved and inherit eternal life. Christ died and descended into hell, so when He was risen from the dead, He could lead the souls of the just from that place. Christ died, so death could no longer have an absolute power over us. But this is also the meaning of the Annunciation. What was proclaimed to the Blessed Virgin by that Archangel had been fulfilled.
The Rector called the faithful to pray that our life could bear good fruits, at least remotely resembling the fruit of the life of Christ. Fr. Igor wished that our souls finish their earthly journey with the gracious salvation in Christ Jesus who today was announced to be born into the world and who conquered death by His death.
The choir prayerfully performed hymns of the Holy Saturday and of the Annunciation.
After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector performed traditional for this day of Holy Saturday Blessing of the bread and wine.