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The Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church

The official website of the Moscow Metropolitanate.

Address: Russia, Moscow, Rogozhsky Poselok street, 1A, 5.
Phone: +7 (495) 361-51-91

How to pray for health and for the deceased

According to the teachings of the church fathers, when praying at home, one can pray for the health and salvation of any person, even an unbaptized person. In church, general prayers are also performed… “for all men, for kings and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and undisturbed life in all godliness and purity” (1 Tim 2, 1-2), – but the names of unorthodox, unbaptized are not said.

How to pray for health and for the deceased

The highest form of remembrance is proskomedia, when the priest takes out a piece of the prosphora (altar bread) before the liturgy with a special prayer for each person noted to be prayed for. Notes “for proskomedia” can only be given by piously living Orthodox Christians who have been baptized and who regularly attend confession. You cannot write a note “for proskomedia” for smokers, those who shave their beards, those who do not do lent, fornicators, those who use foul and obscene language, sorcerers, idolaters (for example, those that have chosen the profession of an actor, dancer and so on) and other grievous sinners, and those who do not seek to repent. According to the discourse of the spiritual father, if they go to confession, they can be remembered at the litany.

How to pray for health and for the deceased
Photo by Serafima Smirnova

You can pray remembrance for a person who is deceased, only in the event that the person was an Old Believer, went to confession and a priest conducted a burial service for the person in church. You can pray for them during proskomedia, remember them at the litany for the departed, order memorial services and put up candles for them. For those who died without receiving divine baptism, you can pray to the holy martyr Uar and the monk Paisius the Great, who have the grace to deliver from eternal torments those who were not baptized in life.

Not recorded in remembrance prayers are the names of Orthodox Christians who died without repentance, died from suicide or children who died unbaptized.

Concerning such children, people often ask: Is it possible to pray for the remembrance of their souls and do they have a hope of salvation? For they were born to Christian parents and departed without baptism not of their own free will. The Holy Gospel itself answers this question: If one is not born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God (John 3, 5). That is, no one who is unbaptized – neither an adult nor a child – can inherit eternal bliss. Thus, unbaptized infants cannot be commemorated in the general prayers for the departed, especially since they were not given a Christian name.

Parents, who are to blame for having deprived their children of the Kingdom of Heaven, will suffer severe punishment for this grave sin. Especially cruelly tortured will be mothers who purposely deprived their children of both earthly and eternal life, by rejecting them out of the womb by abortion.