Patristic Tradition

Prayer and Memorial Services for the dead ( 21.02.2009 )

Is it possible, Geronda, the dead to pray?


They regain consciousness and search for help, but they’re not able to help themselves. All those who are in hell for only one offence, would ask if Jesus could give them only five minutes to repent. We, who are alive, we still have time for repentance, but poor those who died, they cannot improve their condition, thus they beg for our help. Therefore, our duty is to help them with our prayer.  

Those ones, who never repented for life and have at least a little cordiality, are aware of their guilt, they repent and endure because of their sins. They cry for help, and the prayers of the believers do help them. Thus, God gives them a chance, even now, as they are in front of Him guilty, to find help before the Second Coming of God happens.

And, as in this earthly life, the one who is a friend of the king may intervene to the king and help on behalf of some culprit, the same as someone who is “dear to God” may with his prayer help the dead ones in front of God, and move the “defendants” from one “prison” to another, better one; from one “pre-trial confinement” to a better one. He can even move them in a “room” or in a “department”.     

As we alleviate the suffer of the prisoners bringing them soft drinks and other things, the same we do to the dead ones, alleviating their pain with our prayer, and giving mercy to their souls. Prayers from those living for the ones who died is the last opportunity that the Lord is giving, to make them receive help, up to the moment of the Last Judgement. After the Last Judgement happens, there won’t be a chance for help any more.  


Geronda, do the ones who died soon have a bigger need of prayer?


When they sentence someone to jail, isn’t it true that the more difficult is at the beginning? We have to pray for the ones who died but didn’t please God while alive, asking God to do something for them. Particularly when we do know that some was a tough man and lived his sinner life, then we have to pray a lot, Divine Liturgies to be served for such a man, forty Liturgies are to be served consecutively, alms to be given to the poor ones for his soul to be saved, for God to have mercy on him.

While opposite, we may help a lot with little praying, the man who had goodness, even if his life wasn’t so good, because he had a good will.       


When someone dies and we’ve been asked to pray for him, is it good, Geronda, every day, until the fortieth day to pray the full prayer-rope?


If you pray the full rope for him, pray in the same time for all dead. Why the complete train to go to his aim for only one passenger, when it may receive many others? To many dead, poor them, it is so necessary, and they cry for help, but there is no one to pray! Some people often make memorial services for someone who was their relative or very close. But, they do not help even to their dead relative in such a way, because their prayer is not pleasant to God. As they have made so many commemorations for their close one, let them make commemorations for all those dead but unknown, instead.   


The Most Beneficial Memorial Service


The most beneficial commemoration for all the dead is therefore our correct life, our ascetic struggle, only then we will eliminate our weaknesses and purify our soul.

Our exemption of the material goods and of the passions of our soul, gives not only a relief of our own soul, but of the souls of our grand-grand parents and the whole our family.      

The dead feel happy when some of their descendants is close to God. If we are in some bad condition of soul, then our dead parents, our grandfather, grand-grandfather, and all of our previous generations are suffering. Opposite, when we are in a good spiritual condition, they feel the joy, because they have participated in our creation, and God is somehow obliged to help them. What will make the dead happy is our honest effort to please God with our righteous life, and meet our dead in Heaven and live our eternal lives together.

Therefore, it is worthy to strike the ancient one and create the new man, it is worthy to stop harming each other, it is so worthy to start helping each other, both those living and dead.