The Church’s Prayer for the Dead

The Holy Orthodox Church, like a concerned mother, daily, at every divine service, offers up prayers for all her children who have departed for the land of eternity. Thus, at the midnight service troparia and prayers for the departed are read, and they are commemorated at its concluding ektenia. This is so also at compline. At matins and vespers the departed are remembered by name at the Augmented Ektenia, “Have mercy on us, O God …” They are commemorated three times during the Liturgy: at the Proskomedia, at the ektenia following the Gospel, and after the consecration of the Precious Gifts when “Meet it is in truth . . .” is sung. Furthermore, one day of the week is set aside for prayers for the dead -Saturday, on which it is customary to have a service for the dead, unless it coincides with a feast, if such is to be served on that day.

Trinity Saturday

This falls on the eve of Pentecost, hence the appellation “Trinity Saturday.” On the day of Pentecost (or Trinity Day), the Holy Spirit descended upon the earth to teach, sanctify and lead all people to eternal salvation. Therefore, the holy Church calls upon us to make a commemoration on this Saturday, that the saving grace of the Holy Spirit wash away the sins from the souls of all our forefathers, fathers and brethren, that have reposed throughout the ages and, asking that they all be united in the Kingdom of Christ and praying for the redemption of the living and for the return of their souls from captivity, she begs the Lord to “give rest to the souls … that have fallen asleep, in … a place of refreshment; … . for the dead shall not praise Thee, O Lord, neither shall they that are in hell make bold to offer unto Thee confession. But we that are living will bless Thee, and will pray, and offer unto Thee propitiatory prayers and sacrifices for their souls.”

Orthodox Christian Information Center

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