Malankara World

Faith of the Church

Ecclesiastical Day - When Does the Day Start for Prayers?

by V T John Nalunnakal

"Evening passed and morning came - that was the first day." (Gen.1:5)

The caption is from Good News Bible (Today's English Version) As per the Holy Bible (NKJV) the same verse is, "So the evening and morning was the first day."

I am afraid, our people think that the day's beginning is at midnight (00.00.00 hrs or 12 midnight) and its ending is just before midnight for purposes of eccleciastical requirements such as canonical prayers, church festivals and lents. Some think that the day begins in the morning

A priest of one of our northern dioceses was prepared to conduct a marriage on the Sunday preceding the Monday which was the first day of Niveveh lent vehemently arguing that the lent was to commence only in the morning of Monday. I have never heard of any marriage taking place on the Pethurtho Sunday. Here again it is argued that the great lent starts only in the morning of Monday and the canonical prayers of the great lent is to be said from Monday morning only.

It is well settled that a day as per the custom of the Jews commence in the evening. What we refer to as Sunday evening is actually Monday evening according to the custom of the Jews. We, Christians have followed this custom and in our case also a day commences in the evening.

Canonical prayers for the great lent have to be said from the evening of Pethurtho Sunday as at the said time Monday begins. It is clearly mentioned in the S'heemo Namaskara pusthakam popularly known as Pampakuta Namaskara Pusthakam that the prayer for the ninth hour for which there is no prostrations as the time belongs to Sunday is to be said at first when we say the prayer in the evening of Sunday which is actually the time when Monday begins. Just before sunset on a Monday we have to say the prayers for Tuesday.

In all our prayer books morning of any week-day comes after its evening of that week day. It is not the other way where a day commences in the morning and ends just before the dawn.It may kindly be noted, in the evening of Palm Sunday we have to start passion week prayers. So also in the evening of any Holy Saturday we have to start kyamto prardhana with out prostrations. On the evening of the Christmas eve we have to say the prayers for the evening of the Christmas day.

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