In the Orthodox Church the various prayers for the departed have as their purpose to pray for the repose of the departed, to comfort the living, and to remind those who remain behind of their own mortality, and the brevity of this earthly life. For this reason, memorial services have an air of penitence about them[note 2] and tend to be served more frequently during the four fasting seasons (Great Lent, Nativity Fast, Apostles' Fast and Dormition Fast).
According to the Apostolic Constitutions, memorial services may be held on the 3rd, 9th, and 40th day, and on the completion of a year from the day of death.[note 3] These prescribed times are still observed in most Orthodox places.
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