When I logged onto Facebook a week or so ago, a memory from seven years ago shown at the top of my newsfeed. One having to do with my favorite Old Testament book–The Wisdom of Sirach.
The Wisdom of Sirach is part of the Orthodox Christian Old Testament Bible. It is as true and valid as the other Old Testament books other Christians of other traditions have. So, perhaps knowing that The Wisdom of Sirach is canonical for us Orthodox Christians, you may be able to better understand why we commemorate and remember the Saints of our Church.
It has been done since the early years of Abraham and Moses, etc. The tradition has carried on to this day in our Orthodox Churches.
Incidentally, I’m leading a women’s Bible and Orthodox book study during this Nativity Fast, in which we will begin to read and study this treasured book together.
The verses on remembering the saints before us from The Wisdom of Sirach are here:
44 Let us now praise honored men and our fathers.
2 The Lord established His great glory and majesty from the beginning through them.
3 There were those ruled in their kingdoms and were men renowned for their power, giving counsel through their understanding and proclaiming prophecies.
4 There were leaders of the people by their counsels and understanding of learning for the people. Wise in their words of instruction.
5 There were composers of music, and they set forth verse in writing.
6 Wealthy men with great resources, living in peace in their dwelling-places.
7 All these were honored in their generations and in their days were a source of boasting.
8 There were those who left behind a name that men might declare their praises.
9 There were also those whom no one remembers, who perished as if they never existed; and they died as if they had not been born. And so have their children after them.
10 Nevertheless, these were men of mercy, whose righteousness lives with God.
11 The good they did remains with their seed, and their inheritance with their children’s children.
12 Their seed stands with the covenants, and their children as well for their sake.
13 Their seed shall remain forever, and their glory will not be blotted out.
14 Their bodies were buried in peace, and their name lives to all generations.
15 Peoples will tell of their wisdom, and the assembly will proclaim their praise.