Give rest, O Christ, among the Saints to the souls of your servants, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no grieving, but life everlasting.

Kontakion of Saturday of Souls

Do we cease to pray for our loved ones who passed away? Do we still genuinely care about the state of their souls? Thankfully, as Greek Orthodox Christians, we pray continually for our deceased loved ones, but they are still with us every day as a soul in the spiritual realm. But what does this mean in practice? What do we actually do for the Saturday of Souls/Psihosavato?

Members of the Greek Orthodox community gather to pray for the dead with a service in the church. There is a table set in front of the church called the memorial table where the Koliva are placed. This is a dessert-like wheat dish with raisins, nuts, sugar, cinnamon, and pomegranate that allows the dead to symbolically be forgiven. Mourning for, remembering, and praying for their souls that continue to live on.

Church members who have a loved one they would like to remember can submit their names, and the priest will read them aloud during the service. Once the service has concluded and the blessings are given, the Koliva are served to all in attendance.

Personally, I take some of the ones I make and sprinkle them over the graves of my beloved deceased family members. The beautiful phrase “memory eternal” goes beyond simply having fond memories of those departed; it relates directly to prayers to the Lord for their eternal rest in Him. Saturday of Souls is the official declaration of this practice in that we openly recognize it as part of our reality. They are not just a memory. Their memory is what we actively engage with in our prayers for their standing with God.

Saturday of Souls is another reminder of how big these concepts are and how we are still connected to them through those who have departed this life. Just as we owed them our love and respect while they were in this life, so too do they deserve our prayers for eternal rest in the life to come and for that day of judgment yet to pass.

There are four Saturdays of the Souls during a calendar year. The first two take place before the Lenten season, the third before Easter, and the fourth before Pentecost.

Recipe & Instructions on how to make Koliva


1 cup wheat berries
2.1 ounce walnuts chopped
2.1 ounce blanched almonds
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
9 teaspoons red raisins
5 teaspoons golden raisins
1 pomegranate (seeds)
4 teaspoons sugar
1¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 bag and a half icing sugar to coat on top


Prepare the wheat berries. Soak them in a pot with cold water overnight. The next day, rinse the wheat thoroughly.

Add 5 cups of water and the wheat berries to a small cooking pot and bring to a boil along with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low.

Simmer for about 20 to 40 minutes, partly covered. Cooking time will vary depending on the wheat variety. Taste to see how soft they are.

Drain the wheat in a strainer and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Then, spread it on a clean tea towel to cool and drain thoroughly. The wheat must be completely dry.

Mix wheat with all of the remaining ingredients. Save 6 almonds to create a cross on the top.

Serve with icing sugar dusted on top.