Memorial Saturday of Meatfare
On the day before Meatfare Sunday, on which we remember the Last Judgment, the Orthodox Church prays for those of its members who may have died unexpectedly because of wars, plagues, starvation, or any other sort of death while they were in a foreign country, or while they were traveling by sea, by land, or by air. The Church also prays for the poor, or for those who may not have received a proper burial, or who had no one to request Memorial Services to be offered for them.
We pray for the departed on this Saturday because the Orthodox Church has established Saturday as the proper day of the week for remembering the dead. On this day before we hear the Gospel about the Last Judgment, we should pause to recall our own inescapable death when we shall appear before Christ to give an account of our lives. May we have “an acceptable defense before His dread Judgment Seat.”
As we prepare for the spiritual struggles of the Great Fast, we should remember that we have been given this present life for repentance and for entreating God’s mercy. When Christ comes in glory to judge the world, it will be too late then to say that we repent, or to ask for mercy. Therefore, we should make the most of the time that has been given us in order to struggle against every sinful impulse which separates us from God, to confess our sins, to correct ourselves, and to pursue a life of virtue and holiness.
During the week leading up to Meatfare Sunday, we do not sing “Alleluia” in place of “God is the Lord,” at Matins. “Alleluia” is appointed to be sung on the Wednesday and Friday of Cheesefare Week, and also during Great Lent. See the TYPIKON or the OCA rubrics book for information about the structure of the pre-Lenten and Lenten services.