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Πέμπτη, 3 Ιανουαρίου 2019

The Sabbath Day The Orthodox view of the Sabbath Day


The Orthodox Church does not see an obligation for her people to follow the Saturday Sabbath. Just as her faithful are not obligated to follow the Old Testament dietary restrictions, upon which our Jewish friends hold to Kosher laws, or the required practice of circumcision as a sign of our covenant with God, the Church does not require us to keep the Sabbath.

The Greek word for Saturday is pronounced “sabbado”, hence, Saturday is indeed the Sabbath. But our Orthodox tradition of observing Sunday as the Lord’s Day is based on the Early Church’s observance of Sunday as the Day of Resurrection.

The Orthodox Church has always seen Saturdays as having the feast day qualities of the Jewish Sabbath, and never needing a strict observance of fasting rules or obligations. Yet the Sabbath Day has always been seen, liturgically, as a day for the celebration of the  Divine Liturgy, just as is practiced on Sundays, the Lord’s Day. The celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Saturdays remains standard for most Orthodox monasteries.

We Christians are not under the Law, since the Law has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. We are thus not subjected to the Old Law. The old Sabbath was the seal of the Old Creation, whereas Sunday is the seal of the New Creation. For this reason, Christians have never been bound by Sabbatical laws based on the Old Sabbath, the Saturday Sabbath being appropriate to the Old Testament.

For we Orthodox Christians, the center of our experience is the resurrection of Christ, and this has, from the beginning of the New Testament Church, been associated with the first day of the week.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon


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