The word “week” our ancestors called Sunday – a day when they do nothing, dedicating it to God. But the seven-day cycle in Church Slavonic is called a week. If we take this into account, then the incomprehensible and frightening phrase of the church calendar will become clear: “Today is the week of the Last Judgment”: “Today is a Sunday when, during worship in churches, the Judgment is remembered Final .” Immediately after Judgment Week, Maslenitsa will begin (February 20-26), followed by Great Lent (February 27-April 15). The week of the Last Judgment is the last day when believers, according to the liturgical letter, are allowed to eat meat, therefore another name for this Sunday is the week of meat (the word “let go” comes from the verb let go, that is, we “let go” of meat on this day, we will not eat it from tomorrow). The Church gradually prepares us for Great Lent: at first we refuse meat, but we can eat milk, cottage cheese, eggs, butter and cheese (this is cheese week, or Maslenitsa, it is also Maslenitsa), and then we enter Great Lent , when these products are also prohibited. So, Sunday on the eve of Maslenitsa is the last day when we can eat everything, including meat: the first stage of fasting, Maslenitsa, will begin only tomorrow.
Yesterday, on the Saturday of the Ecumenical Feast of the Meat of the Fathers, the churches commemorated “all those who have died in piety and in the right faith, from Adam to this day (that is, to this day) “, and today, preparing believers for the long road of Great Lent, the Church reminds us of the Last Judgment. This sequence is not accidental: the soul of each person undergoes both a private judgment that awaits him after death, and a general judgment, also called the Terrible. According to the teachings of the Church, the Last Judgment is the judgment of Jesus Christ on all people who existed on earth, living and dead, which will take place at his Second Coming. And on February 19, during the liturgy, an excerpt from the Gospel of Matthew is read in churches, which tells about the upcoming Last Judgment. We will read it too. This is how Jesus describes the last and greatest event that will take place there in time, but already on the border of time and eternity, an event that awaits each one of the peoples.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne, and all nations will be gathered before him; and he will separate the ones from the others, as a The shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep on his right and the goats on the left, then the King will say to those on his right: Come, blessed of my Father , inherit the kingdom prepared for you. from the foundation of the world: because I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. when we saw you as a stranger and welcomed you or naked and clothed you when we saw you sick or in prison and came to you? of these my smallest brothers, you did it to me, then he will also say to those on the left on the other side: Depart from me, cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels: because I was hungry, and I did not you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and they did not receive me; I was naked, and they did not clothe me; sick and in prison, and did not visit me. Then they, too, will say to him in response: Lord! When did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in jail, and we did not serve you? Then he will answer them: “I tell you the truth, because you did not do it to one of these little ones, you did not do it to me.” And these shall go away into eternal punishment, and the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:31-46).
Pay attention, when he talks about the coming Last Judgment, speaking about the actions on the basis of which some will be saved, and others “go into eternal torment”, the Savior does not mention either how we fast, or our theological education, or even how we pray. The criteria is very different: what kind of people were we? Have we helped others? Were you nice to them? It turns out that a person can inherit the Kingdom of God in the most common and accessible way for all of us – by mercy. Feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, sheltering the homeless, showing compassion to the outcast, easing the plight of the sick, visiting the prisoner. On the other hand – and this is very important! – without doing this, a person condemns himself to “eternal fire, prepared for the devil.”
Furthermore, the sin of not doing is condemned in all the evangelical parables about Judgment. And when we reject the opportunity that the Lord sends us to help those in need, we reject not only these people, we reject Christ himself, his love, his cross and his resurrection.
It turns out that the sins of not doing are no less destructive than the terrible unrepentant sins of disbelief, murder, theft, witchcraft, and fornication. And Judgment Week also reminds us of this.
“The day and hour are unknown when the Son of God will end the life of the world by coming to judge,” Saint Ignatius (Bryanchaninov) reasoned. “The day and hour are unknown when, by command of the Son of God, the earthly life of each one of us will end, and we will be called to separate from the body, to give an account in earthly life, to that particular judgment, before the general judgment, that awaits the person after his death. prepare yourselves, supplying yourselves with all the virtues, especially mercy, which encompasses and crowns all the virtues, since love -the motivating cause of mercy- is the totality of Christian perfection. Mercy makes people who are full of it, like God! the merciful, for they will have mercy. To those who have not shown mercy, there will be a judgment without mercy.”
These are the important things that are said in the churches on this day with such a harsh name – Doomsday Week.