This website does readability filtering of other pages. All styles, scripts, forms and ads are stripped. If you want your website excluded or have other feedback, use this form.

Sunday | day of week | Britannica

Encyclopædia Britannica Subscribe Now Biographies On This Day Quizzes COVID-19 COVID-19
Sunday day of week Print Thank you for your feedback

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work! SHARE Facebook Twitter

Sunday

day of week Written By: Last Updated: Apr 30, 2020 See Article History Alternative Title: Lord’s Day

Sunday, the first day of the week. It is regarded by most Christians as the Lord’s Day, or the weekly memorial of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection from the dead. The practice of Christians gathering together for worship on Sunday dates back to apostolic times, but details of the actual development of the custom are not clear. Verse 10 of the first chapter of the Revelation to John (mid-1st century ad) mentions the “Lord’s Day”; this was subsequently interpreted by most commentators as a reference to Sunday. St. Justin Martyr (c. 100–c. 165), philosopher and defender of the Christian faith, in his writings described the Christians gathered together for worship on the Lord’s Day: the Gospels or the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) was read, the presiding minister preached a sermon, and the group prayed together and celebrated the Lord’s Supper.

The Roman emperor Constantine I (died 337), a convert to Christianity, introduced the first civil legislation concerning Sunday in 321, when he decreed that all work should cease on that day, except that farmers could work if necessary. That law, aimed at providing time for worship, was followed later in the same century and in subsequent centuries by further restrictions on Sunday activities. See also Sabbatarianism; week.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Matt Stefon, Assistant Editor.

Learn More in these related Britannica articles:

History at your fingertips Sign up here to see what happened On This Day, every day in your inbox! Thank you for subscribing! Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Sunday Additional Information

More About

Article History

Article Contributors

Check out Britannica's new site for parents!