The association between [[death]] and life, between that which is planted in the ground and that which emerges, is deeply embedded in the making and eating of Kollyva. The ritual food passed from [[paganism]] to early Christianity in [[Byzantine Empire|Byzantium]] and later spread to the entire Orthodox world.
===St Theodore Saturday===
The tradition of blessing and eating Kollyva at the end of the first week of [[Great Lent]] is connected with an event in the reign of [[Julian the Apostate]] in 362 AD. The tradition states that the Emperor knew that the Christians would be hungry after the first week of strict [[fasting]], and would go to the marketplaces of Constantinople on Saturday, to buy food. Therefore he ordered that [[Blood in the Bible|blood]] from pagan sacrifices be sprinkled over all the food that was sold there, making it ''"polluted sacrificial food"'' (food "polluted" with the blood of idolatry), in an attempt to force upon the people the [[paganism]] of which he was an ardent supporter.
However St. [[Theodore the
Soldier|Theodore of Tyre]] appeared in a dream to the Patriarch of Constantinople [[Eudoxius of Antioch|Eudoxios]], ordering him to inform all the Christians that no one should buy anything at the market, but rather to boil the wheat (already called ''Kollyva'') that they had at home and eat it sweetened with honey.
As a result, this first Saturday of Great Lent has come to be known as Theodore Saturday. After the service, the Kollyva is distributed to all who are present and, after [[Holy Communion]] and the [[antidoron]], is the first food eaten after the strict fasting of the first week.
The Kollyva then, symbolize the Apostolically rooted hope in the [[resurrection]] of the dead as the only eventuality that gives meaning and attains the longed perfection on the part of the individual who takes his life to be a divinely ordained meaningful living forever.<ref>Rev. Dr. Nicon D. Patrinacos (M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon)). ''A Dictionary of Greek Orthodoxy - Λεξικον Ελληνικης Ορθοδοξιας''. Light & Life Publishing, Minnesota, 1984. pp.225-226.</ref>
The 16th century Archbishop Gabriel of Philadelphia<ref group="note">Consecrated by Patriarch [[Jeremias II (Tranos) of Constantinople|Jeremias II]].</ref> wrote that the Kollyva are symbols of the general resurrection, and the several ingredients added to the wheat signify so many different virtues.<ref>Chambers, Ephraim (1680-ca.1740). ''[http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/HistSciTech/HistSciTech-idx?type=turn&id=HistSciTech.Cyclopaedia01&entity=HistSciTech.Cyclopaedia01.p0420&q1=colyba COLYBA].'' In: Cyclopædia, or, An universal dictionary of arts and sciences. 1728. Pg. 266.)</ref>
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