The Weekly Cycle of Commemorations


For Jews and Christians, the observance of a repeating cycle of seven days, with one day set aside and dedicated to God, is extremely ancient, going back to Genesis: “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation” (Genesis 2:3). Peculiar to the Judaeo-Christian law is the connection of a rest for man with prayer to God. The seventh day, or Sabbath, was set aside for prayer and rest from labor,

In the Christian Church, Sunday is the most important day of the week; it commemorates things that happened in the past, and also teaches us to look forward to the final stage of redemption which is yet to come. The first day of the week became the day on which Christians met, early in the morning, to read the Scriptures and offer the Eucharist.

As the liturgical services developed, special prayers and hymns were composed for each day in the eight-week cycle which reflected the special commemorations for each day of the week:

Day: On this day we commemorate: Historical or biblical event:
Sunday the Resurrection of Christ the first day of the week, and also the “eight day” or “day of the Lord”
Monday the holy angels continuing praise of God in heaven
Tuesday the Forerunner and Baptist John the transition from the Old to the New Testament
Wednesday the Holy Cross and the Mother of God the day of Christ’s betrayal
Thursday the holy apostles; Saint Nicholas the spread of Christ’s message throughout the world
Friday the Holy Cross the day of Christ’s crucifixion
Saturday the martyrs; all the saints; the faithful departed the seventh day of the week, or Sabbath; Christ’s rest in the tomb


Adapted from: Weekly Cycle by the Metropolitan Cantor Institute