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Church, Liturgy

Standing in Prayer on the 8th Day – St. Basil the Great

We all stand for prayer on Sunday, but not everyone knows why. We stand for prayer on the day of the Resurrection to remind ourselves of the graces we have been given: not only because we have been raised with Christ and are obliged to seek the things that are above, but also because Sunday seems to be an image of the age to come. Notice that although Sunday is the beginning of days, Moses does not call it the first day, but one day: ‘And there was evening and there was morning, one day’ (Genesis 1:5), since this day would recur many times. Therefore ‘one’ and ‘eight’ are the same, and the ‘one’ day really refers both to itself and to the ‘eighth’ day. Even the Psalmist follows this usage in certain titles of the psalms (e.g. Psalm 7 and 13). This day foreshadows the state which is to follow the present age: a day without sunset, nightfall, or successor, an age which does not grow old or come to end. It is therefore necessary for the Church to teach her newborn children to stand for prayer on this day, so that they will always be reminded of eternal life, and not neglect preparations for their journey (On the Holy Spirit, chapter 27).

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David Chronic

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