The Apostolic tradition tells about the commemoration of the dead on the third day after death. It says that the Lord rose on the third day; therefore, we also need to pray fervently for the deceased on this day.
When the monk Macarius of Alexandria asked an angel to explain the meaning of the Church commemoration on the third day, the angel answered him: “When on the third day there is a commemoration in the Church, then the soul of the deceased receives relief from the guardian angel in the sorrow that it feels from separation from the body. The soul that loves the body sometimes wanders about the house in which the body is laid, and thus spends two days like a bird seeking its nest. But the virtuous soul goes to the places where it used to create the truth.”
Ninth day. On this day, the Holy Church performs prayers and a Bloodless Sacrifice for the deceased, also according to Apostolic tradition. The monk Macarius of Alexandria, according to the angelic revelation, says that after worshipping God on the third day, he is commanded to show the soul various pleasant abodes of saints and the beauty of Paradise. But if she is guilty of sin, then when she sees the pleasures of the saints, she begins to grieve and reproach herself.
Fortieth day. The days of mourning for the dead in the most ancient times lasted for forty days. According to the establishment of the Church, it is customary to perform commemoration for the dead for forty days (sorokoust), and especially on the fortieth day (sorochina). Just as Christ overcame the devil after forty days of fasting and prayer, so the Holy Church also offers alms and bloodless sacrifices for the deceased, asking the Lord for grace to overcome the enemy and obtain the Kingdom of heaven.
What can we do for the dead within forty days of their death? As soon as a person has died, it is necessary to order a sorokoust, that is, a daily commemoration during the divine Liturgy for forty days.
If the death of a person occurs during Great lent, then on Wednesday and Friday of each week, funeral services are ordered, and on Saturdays and Sundays — mass services for the repose of the soul of the deceased. Sorokoust during lent is not ordered, since the Divine Liturgy is not celebrated every day during This period.
Easter is an all-encompassing joy for believers in the Resurrection of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, during the Easter week (the first week after Easter), panikhids do not happen, they begin to be ordered from Tuesday of St. Thomas ‘ week (the second week after Easter). This day is called Radonitsa because it is then that the dead are proclaimed the joy of the Resurrection of Christ.
On the third, ninth, and fortieth days mass services are ordered in the Church for the repose of the deceased. At home, in memory of him, his relatives and friends gather for a meal to ask the Lord for the forgiveness of sins and the repose of his soul in the Kingdom of heaven in a joint prayer for him.
In the Church, prayers are constantly offered for the dead, and in the kneeling prayer at Vespers on the day of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, there is a special request for those who are kept in hell.
Sainted John the Merciful, Patriarch of Alexandria, had often celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the dead and said: “One prisoner, for whose parents, esteeming him dead, three times in the Divine Liturgy (during the days of Epiphany, Easter, and Pentecost), according to the release from captivity suddenly came home to her parents and said that these days came to him in prison a great man: the fetters fall from the feet of a prisoner, he was made free. On other days, he was again kept in chains.”
Let us, therefore, take care of those who have left us in the other world, so that we may do all that we can for them, bearing in mind that blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy (MT 5: 7).
From the book of Archpriest Valentin Mordasov “God has all the living