Day of Rejoicing

On Tuesday of St Thomas week we remember those Orthodox Christians from all ages who have died in faith, and in the hope of resurrection.

There are indications of this commemoration in the sermons of the Fathers of the Church. St John Chrysostom, for example, mentions it in his homily “On the Cemetery and the Cross.”

In pre-Revolutionary Russia bars remained closed and alcoholic beverages were not sold until this Day of Rejoicing so that the joy people felt would be because of the Resurrection, and not an artificial joy brought on by alcohol.

Today the Church remembers its faithful members at Liturgy, and kollyva is offered in remembrance of those who have fallen asleep. Priests visit cemeteries to bless the graves of Orthodox Christians, and to share the paschal joy with the departed. It is also customary to give alms to the poor on this day.