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Prayers for Non-Christian Dead

Myrrh23

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Hey!


My father is a liberal Muslim, yet has much respect for Jesus and Christianity. I love my father because he's been there for his family so many times, and has never been abusive. My Catholic mother is the opposite of my father. I've been encouraging him to take a deeper look at Christianity in the hopes that he might jump aboard. However, if he doesn't and dies without converting, could I help send him to Heaven with the Orthodox Prayers for the Dead, or am I misinterpreting stuff? I would hate for my mother to have a foot in the door just because she's a Christian. Thanks!


Myrrh23
 

ozgeorge

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God preserve your father and grant him many years!
Rather than plan for what do do in case of his death, pray for him now. Place him at the feet of Christ in your prayers and say: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on my father whom I love, and save him through the prayers of the Theotokos."
There is no one for whom we cannot pray. There is nowhere where God is not. There is no one and nothing out of reach for God. Not even in hell. At the third "Kneeling Prayer" of Pentecost, the Eastern Orthodox Church prays that the Holy Spirit will visit hell and comfort even the souls there.
And as for "having a foot in the door" because we are Christian, remember Christ's words:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)
 

PeterTheAleut

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First, I want to back what ozgeorge just said.  Why not pray for your father now?

That said, the only prohibition we Orthodox have against praying for the non-Christian dead--this also covers prayers for those Christians who die outside the embrace of the Orthodox Church--is that we are not permitted to lift up liturgical, communal prayers such as the funeral, the Panikhida, and the Augmented Litanies for the non-Orthodox.  Our liturgical prayers for the departed are reserved for those who die as communicants and catechumens of the Orthodox Church.  In your private prayers, however, you are permitted--yea, even encouraged--to pray for ALL the dead among your family, friends, acquaintances, etc., whether they are Orthodox, Christian of a heterodox communion, or not even Christian.
 

greekischristian

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PeterTheAleut said:
That said, the only prohibition we Orthodox have against praying for the non-Christian dead--this also covers prayers for those Christians who die outside the embrace of the Orthodox Church--is that we are not permitted to lift up liturgical, communal prayers such as the funeral, the Panikhida, and the Augmented Litanies for the non-Orthodox.  Our liturgical prayers for the departed are reserved for those who die as communicants and catechumens of the Orthodox Church.  In your private prayers, however, you are permitted--yea, even encouraged--to pray for ALL the dead among your family, friends, acquaintances, etc., whether they are Orthodox, Christian of a heterodox communion, or not even Christian.
It should also be noted that though this is custom, it is not universal practice; while funerals are reserved for those in communion with the Church I know several priests who will give prayers for those who have died and were not members of the Church.
 

ozgeorge

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greekischristian said:
It should also be noted that though this is custom, it is not universal practice; while funerals are reserved for those in communion with the Church I know several priests who will give prayers for those who have died and were not members of the Church.
Most priests I know have a "don't ask, don't tell" approach to names submitted for commemoration in the Prosthesis.
 

PeterTheAleut

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greekischristian said:
It should also be noted that though this is custom, it is not universal practice; while funerals are reserved for those in communion with the Church I know several priests who will give prayers for those who have died and were not members of the Church.
I believe that many see the fullness of what I posited as Tradition rather than custom, but I also know of priests who will offer up Panikhidas for the non-Orthodox.
 

greekischristian

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PeterTheAleut said:
I believe that many see the fullness of what I posited as Tradition rather than custom, but I also know of priests who will offer up Panikhidas for the non-Orthodox.
We are both free to hold any opinion about this matter we wish, as far as I know no Great Synod has ever ruled dogmatically on this matter. But for the sake of openness, I just thought I'd point out the practice within the Church that I have observed.
 

chris

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In my own situation, I ask that  the names submitted to me for the prothesis be Orthodox. However, II am reasonably certain that not every name submitted for various Parakleses are in fact all Orthodox.

And, I know that I have prayed for non-Orthodox in my private prayer rule. Finally, I have yet to visit a hospital and not be aske
to pray for people that I'm certain are not Orthodox---some nearby hospitals keep my card on file for these families to visit and be prayed for.

I think Ozgeorge's advice is excellent: pray now! Don't wait!
 

Thomas

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Pray Now! You may ask especially for the prayers of St Achmed a Turkish scribe of the Ottoman Empire who declared Great is the God of the Christians and was promptly martyred for it.  Never baptized he is none the less a Saint and is an intercesor for those who have Moslem family members whom they wish the Holy Spirit to bring into the Church.

If your father Reposes before conversion, several bishops have suggested that we pray the Akathist for those who have Reposed in our family and private prayers for our loved ones who had not yet entered the Orthodox Church at death. Our Lord will do the rest at the great judgement.

Thomas
 

Reader KevinAndrew

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Myrrh23 said:
Hey!


My father is a liberal Muslim, yet has much respect for Jesus and Christianity. I love my father because he's been there for his family so many times, and has never been abusive. My Catholic mother is the opposite of my father. I've been encouraging him to take a deeper look at Christianity in the hopes that he might jump aboard. However, if he doesn't and dies without converting, could I help send him to Heaven with the Orthodox Prayers for the Dead, or am I misinterpreting stuff? I would hate for my mother to have a foot in the door just because she's a Christian. Thanks!


Myrrh23
I have the same situation, as my father is a secular, non-practicing Muslim. He's extremely supportive and respectful of Orthodox Christianity. The Orthodox Church is probably the best place you can be when facing a situation like this. We have a wealth of prayers, akathists, etc that we use and ought to use frequently in our prayers for others...non-Orthodox friends and family inclusive. It is our duty to pray for these people.

While I pray and hope that a conversion takes place, I look at it as my doing my part in trying to live a Christian life and be an example, as well as praying fervently. God will do as He wills and knows best the case.

If our non-Christian loved ones pass away and never convert, I don't fret because these persons are God's business. If we really mean what we say when we put our hope and trust in the Lord, we have nothing to worry about for them.

The Orthodox Church does not have these persons commemorated in liturgical services, as it would make no sense. No more sense than if an imam said jenazeh prayers for you as an Orthodox Christian.

All the best to you and your family.

Reader Kevin
 

sdcheung

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Prayer For Heterodox Souls
Here is the special prayer to Saint Varus/Uar, Patron Saint of Reposed Souls outside of The Orthodox Church

O Holy, wondrous Martyr Varus, who, burning with zeal for the Heavenly King, didst confess Him before thy torturers and didst greatly suffer for Him! Now the Church doth venerate thee, as one glorified with the glory of heaven by Christ the Lord, Who granted thee the abundant grace to approach Him boldly. And now, standing before Him together with the Angels, rejoicing on high, beholding the Most Holy Trinity clearly, and enjoying the Uncreated Light, remember the suffering of our relatives who have died outside the Orthodox Faith, and accept our pleas, and as thou didst intercede for the unbelieving ancestors of Cleopatra and didst free them from eternal suffering, remember those who have died unbaptized and have been buried in an ungodly and UnOrthodox manner, and pray earnestly that they may be delivered from eternal darkness, that we may all, with one mouth and one heart, praise the Most Merciful Creator unto the ages of ages.

Amen.

Saint Varus/Uar is celebrated on 19th October/1st November.

Prayer of the Venerable Peo of Optina
Re. Heterodox Souls

O Lord, Seek out the Lost Soul(s) N (&N’s)., And if it be Possible, Have Mercy upon Him/Her (Them), Unsearcheable (Unfathomable) are thy Judgements, O master, Hold not this my supplication/prayer/petition to be a sin, But let thy will be done, unto the ages of ages, Amen.
OR…

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Have mercy, O Lord, if it, be possible, on the souls of (Thy servants) N (Ns), departed to “eternal life” in separation from Thy Holy Orthodox Church! Unsearchable, are Thy judgments. Account not this my prayer/supplication/petition as a sin. But may Thy, holy will be done!, Unto the ages of ages, Amen.

OR…

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
O Lord, watch over the perished souls of my (grandparents, parents, relatives, cousins, nieces, nephews etc.), and if it be possible have mercy upon Him/Her (Them), thy judgements are unsearchable/unfathomable, do not consider this my prayer to be a sin, but, may thy Holy Will be done, unto the ages of ages, Amen
OR…

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
O Lord, Seek out the Lost Soul(s) N (&N’s)., who hath reposed outside of (in separation from) your Holy Orthodox Church, And if it be Possible, Have Mercy upon Him/Her (Them), Unsearcheable (Unfathomable) are thy Judgements, O master, Hold not this my supplication/prayer/petition to be a sin, But let thy will be done, (but, may thy Holy Will be done,) unto the ages of ages, Amen.

Kontakion of the Departed

With the Saints Give rest, O Christ, to the Souls of (thy Servants) N(N’s) Where there is neither Sickness, nor Sorrow, nor Sighing, But life everlasting.


Prayer to Archangel Uriel for Repentence of Unbelieving Relatives (Heterodox Christians or Athiests who are still alive)

Archangel of God, Uriel! Beseech our Lord Jesus Christ that He may soften the hearts of my relatives who are sick with unbelief, enlightening their souls with the light of saving knowledge of the Orthodox Christian Church! Through thy all-powerful prayers, may they come to repentance, to belief in the Son of God, Who redeemed all mankind by His Blood. Amen.

 

JLatimer

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Thomas said:
You may ask especially for the prayers of St Achmed a Turkish scribe of the Ottoman Empire who declared Great is the God of the Christians and was promptly martyred for it.  Never baptized he is none the less a Saint and is an intercesor for those who have Moslem family members whom they wish the Holy Spirit to bring into the Church.
Do you have any more information on this saint? I have never heard of him, but I am intrigued and would love to learn more about his life, if such information is available!
 

Irish Hermit

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Christ is Risen!

One often hears converts to Orthodoxy express their sorrow that there is,
understandably, no Orthodox service that the priest can serve on behalf of
their beloved relatives and friends who have departed this life outside the
Church. They feel the inadequancy of their own prayers, and look without much
hope for guidance and help. Owing to the widespread apostacy in Russia under
the Communists, this feeling is now very common there amongst those who have
remained faithful. In response to this, an age-old tradition, fallen into disuse, has
been revived. There is someone in Heaven whose prayers are very strong,
wanting and willing to help in such cases - the 4th century martyr St Varus.
A booklet has been printed in Russia containing his life and a special service
to him, with a prayer for his help. Icons are
being made and are very much in demand.

How did this tradition begin? St Varus was an officer in the Roman army in
Egypt, a secret Christian, who frequently visited a group of imprisoned
Christians, supplying their every need. He greatly admired their courage,
feeling he would never himself have the strength to bear torture. However,
through the prayers of these Christians, he finally gained courage and offered
himself as a sacrifice along with them.

He was cut to pieces with knives and thrown onto a dung heap, from where a
Christian woman, Cleopatra, took his body secretly. Her husband was also an
officer in the Roman army and had recently been killed. She was granted
permission to take his body back to her home in Palestine. Instead, wishing
to honour the martyr, she took the body of the holy martyr Varus, buried his relics in
her family vault, and built a church there dedicated to him. Gradually he
became known throughout the region as a great healer and wonderworker.

Cleopatra herself prayed there frequently with great devotion, especially for
her only son, John, who had just gone into the army. To her great grief, the
young man died shortly afterwards (some versions record that her son died as a
child on the very day that the martyrdom of Varus was blessed) and she went to
the tomb, bitterly complaining that the saint had not answered her prayers.
That night the saint appeared to her in a dream, together with her son, both
of them radiant with glory. "You asked me to beg God to grant John whatever
was most pleasing to Him and beneficial for you both. He has taken him into
His heavenly army, where he serves with great joy. How can you complain?
Would you rather keep him for the army of
an earthly king? Your prayers to me are always remembered. Moreover I have
prayed for all your relatives, buried with me in the vault, that although they
died outside the Church, all their sins would be forgiven, and God has heard
my prayers."

Cleopatra's joy was unbounded, and she passed on the good news to everyone.
From that revelation in her vision, the custom grew up of begging St Varus'
prayers for deceased relatives and friends, whatever their faith. Isn't that
good news for all of us converts?
-----------------------------------------------------------

Here is the special prayer to Saint Varus:

O Holy, wondrous Martyr Varus, who, burning with zeal for the Heavenly King,
didst confess Him before thy torturers and didst greatly suffer for Him! Now
the Church doth venerate thee, as one glorified with the glory of heaven by
Christ the Lord, Who granted thee the abundant grace to approach Him boldly.
And now, standing before Him together with the Angels, rejoicing on high,
beholding the Most Holy Trinity clearly, and enjoying the Uncreated Light,
remember the suffering of our relatives who have died outside the Faith, and
accept our pleas, and as thou didst intercede for the unbelieving ancestors of
Cleopatra and didst free them from eternal suffering, remember those who have
died unbaptized and have been buried in an ungodly manner, and pray earnestly
that they may be delivered from eternal darkness, that we may all, with one
mouth and one heart, praise the Most Merciful Creator unto the ages of ages.

Amen.

Saint Varus is celebrated on 19th October/1st November.

 

Irish Hermit

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Here is a life of Saint Varus on the website of ROCA's Holy Cross Hermitage. The
article was publised originally by "Orthodox Life", 1994, and comes from the
Slavonic Menologion of Saint Dmitri of Rostov

http://www.holycross-hermitage.com/pages/Orthodox_Life/martyr_varus.htm

Icons of Saint Varus can be obtained. This one comes from a firm in the States
and in Russia called Istok

 

PeterTheAleut

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Irish Hermit said:
Here is a life of Saint Varus on the website of ROCA's Holy Cross Hermitage. The
article was publised originally by "Orthodox Life", 1994, and comes from the
Slavonic Menologion of Saint Dmitri of Rostov

http://www.holycross-hermitage.com/pages/Orthodox_Life/martyr_varus.htm

Icons of Saint Varus can be obtained. This one comes from a firm in the States
and in Russia called Istok

However, the material you posted just prior to this post (Reply #12 above) can be traced to a different source outside yourself.  Can you tell me where you got it?
 
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