Memorial service for the dead: text, sequence of the service, how to read at home and in the cemetery

Death for every Christian is not just the end of earthly existence. It is rather the beginning of a new life, but in the afterlife. A memorial service for the deceased plays an important role in commemorating the deceased person.

But a living person should know for himself a short course about such a church concept as a memorial service.

Orthodox canons answer the question of what a memorial service is and what its significance is, when it is held and in relation to whom.

What is a memorial service in Orthodoxy?

What is a memorial service in a church? If we translate it into simple language, a memorial service is an all-night vigil. The memorial service takes its history from ancient times, when the first Christians prayed due to persecution exclusively at night, and in the morning they could be buried alive in the catacombs that served as temples.

But today this is not the case; faith does not lend itself to persecution. But a memorial service, what is it then? This is a funeral service for the deceased and can be either full or shortened, held both at home and in church - it can be conducted by both priests and laity. All this is discussed in each specific case on a purely individual basis, taking into account the Orthodox canons.

Why is a memorial service needed?

Memorial service for the dead, what is it? This is a funeral service that helps the deceased move from one world of the living to the afterlife. If you go to a temple, or a monastery, or pray at home, this is how a request is made for the deceased, an intercession before the Lord.

A proper funeral dinner and alms, along with the prayers offered by the laity and the priest when the service is served - all this makes death not the end, but a painless transition to another world. The very reading of the prayer and the good deeds of relatives on earth in the name of the deceased make it possible to remove more sins from his soul.

The meaning of a memorial service for the souls of the dead

A memorial service - what is it in simple words and what significance does it have for the deceased? During the period of earthly life, every believer has an earthly body and prays for himself, and can consciously change for the better. But when he dies, his relatives and close people do it for him.

Memorial service, what is it? These are the prayers of the living for the forgiveness of the sins of the deceased; it is they that help him receive grace in the next world. This is a life preserver that not only eases the suffering of the deceased. The service itself helps to cleanse him of sins. This is the song that the Valaam monastery choir sings, praising the Lord and asking him for mercy on the deceased.

What is the difference between civil and church memorial services?

A civil memorial service is rather a secular ceremony at which all his relatives and friends say goodbye to the deceased; it will not have any religious overtones, although priests may be present at it. Each lay person this evening can say a few warm words about the deceased, and after completion, the ceremony moves to the cemetery, where the funeral takes place.

What does Orthodox requiem mean? This is a prayer service for the repose of the deceased, which is conducted by an Orthodox priest in the temple or house of the deceased, even at the place of his death. Orthodoxy prescribes the very order of the procession - all this is described in the Trebnik. Afterwards there are funeral meals, with pancakes and kutya, plus you can commemorate with the food that the deceased loved during his lifetime.

To whom and when can you order a memorial service?

A memorial service for the repose - when is it ordered? You can order it in any temple and monastery, at any time, day and year, the main thing is that the holy place is open. A memorial service is ordered, prayers are read, the main thing is that the deceased himself be a member of the Orthodox Church. He must be baptized and during his life he did not renounce the Lord, and did not go into a sect or other faith.

How to properly submit funeral notes

What do you need to know to order a memorial service in a church for the deceased? It is ordered in any Orthodox church when a layman submits a memorial note. It is submitted with the name of the deceased for whom you are praying - written in full, in the genitive case, without indicating the surname and patronymic, titles, and so on.

You can write the name either on a blank piece of paper or on a special form that is available in the church, which has an 8-pointed cross and the title says “On Repose.” The note is drawn up taking into account the following rules:

  • the full name is the same as the deceased was baptized during his lifetime, without abbreviations;
  • Be sure to indicate in the note the church version of secular, so to speak, worldly names;
  • if they write a note about a child under 7 years old, it is obligatory to record him as an infant, from 7 to 15 - a youth;
  • do not indicate the ranks and regalia given to the deceased during his lifetime; if desired, you can indicate how many days ago the deceased died.

Afterwards, you need to give the note to the church shop - it costs nothing to edit the note, and even if you made a mistake, you just need to rewrite it again. The church canon does not provide for indicating the cause of death, but if a person happened to die not a violent death, but for example, at his own hands, suicides are not commemorated in the church.

What to do next? It is advisable to submit a note in the morning - morning and lunch services, the magpie himself, allow the deceased to quickly find peace in the next world.

After filing a note, a common procedure is to make a donation. How much a remembrance can cost - a funeral service, a commemoration, and other ritual services in a church depends on its policy.

Prices may vary, but the money always goes to the needs of the parish.

What to bring to church for a funeral service

In order not to plunge oneself into despondency for the deceased and to properly remember the deceased, the funeral service provides for a certain donation, alms in honor of the deceased. What can you bring to the temple, what products:

  • canned food and bakery, confectionery products;
  • vegetables, fruits and eggs;
  • wine and sugar, cereals, even vegetable oil.

Meat products are prohibited. The main thing is that all products must be fresh and not spoiled, because this is a gift, an offering to God for the deceased and his soul.

How long does the service last?

In practice, there are 2 types of services - long and short memorial services. The first lasts about 6-7 minutes, and can be read by everyone, even believers, and not just the priest, both in church and at home. And such a service begins with the words “with the spirits of the righteous who have died...”, then special prayers are read.

The longer funeral service lasts about 20 minutes, and is called the most complete service for the repose of the deceased. And for the most part, it is carried out in a temple or on the territory of a cemetery.

How is the civil funeral service going?

A civil funeral service is an increasingly common social event held in the event of the death of a world-famous person or celebrity. And in fact, this is an official ceremony that has nothing to do with Orthodox services and canons. And it is there that many say warm words about the deceased, and when the coffin is transported to the cemetery, a funeral, memorial procession follows it.

Is it possible to order a memorial service for an unbaptized person?

If during his lifetime the deceased himself was not baptized and was not accepted into the fold of the Orthodox Church, according to the canons it is forbidden to perform a funeral service for him and order a memorial service for him, and accordingly, it is also forbidden to submit memorial notes. And at the same time, it’s worth immediately making a reservation - even if you deceitfully submit a note in church about commemorating an unbaptized person, then in the next world it will only be worse for him.

Deception itself is always regarded as a sin. At the same time, you take it upon yourself and carry it out in relation to a person dear to you, who is now deceased. Although if the deceased is baptized, and unbaptized friends or relatives submit a note, this is permitted and even encouraged. After all, the unbaptized person, as it were, touches the church and its foundations, gets to know them, and quite possibly, in the future will make the right decision about baptism.

When a deceased relative or friend professed a different faith or was not a Christian, his burial is carried out in accordance with his religion. Although relatives themselves in an Orthodox church can offer prayers to St. War, it is this saint in Orthodoxy who patronizes all people of other faiths and the unbaptized.

Is it possible to serve a memorial service for suicides?

If the deceased died by his own hand—a suicide—then, according to the canons of the church, he cannot be commemorated in Orthodox churches under any circumstances.

The only exception to this rule is that the person himself suffered from certain mental disorders during his lifetime, and could not understand or control his own actions.

And there must be a written medical report from the commission.

It is forbidden to write memorial notes for such deceased people - you can simply remember them at home in prayer, at the dinner table, or at the funeral table.

But it’s worth making a reservation right away - during the celebration of Ecumenical Parental Saturday, all the dead are commemorated. Suicides also end up here.

Although they can often be remembered during the celebration of Radonitsa, but after first requesting the consent and permission of the priest.

Widower's Prayer

Christ Jesus, Lord and Almighty! In contrition and tenderness of my heart, I pray to You: rest, O Lord, the soul of Your departed servant (name), in Your Heavenly Kingdom. Lord Almighty! You blessed the marital union of husband and wife, when you said: it is not good for man to be alone, let us create for him a helper for him.

You have sanctified this union in the image of the spiritual union of Christ with the Church. I believe, Lord, and confess that You have blessed me to unite me in this holy union with one of Your handmaids.

By your good and wise will you deigned to take away from me this servant of yours, whom you have given to me as a helper and companion of my life.

I bow before Your will, and I pray to You with all my heart, accept my prayer for Your servant (name), and forgive her if you sin in word, deed, thought, knowledge and ignorance; Love earthly things more than heavenly things;

Even if you care more about the clothing and decoration of your body than about the enlightenment of the clothing of your soul; or even careless about your children; if you upset anyone by word or deed; If there is a grudge in your heart against your neighbor or condemn someone or anything else you have done from such evil people.

Forgive her all this, for she is good and philanthropic; for there is no man who will live and not sin. Do not enter into judgment with Thy servant, as Thy creation, do not condemn her to eternal torment for her sin, but have mercy and mercy according to Thy great mercy. I pray and ask You, Lord, to grant me strength throughout the days of my life, without ceasing to pray for Your departed servant, and even until the end of my life to ask her from You, the Judge of the whole world, to forgive her sins.

Yes, as if You, God, placed a crown of stone on her head, crowning her here on earth; Thus crown me with Thy eternal glory in Thy Heavenly Kingdom, with all the saints who rejoice there, so that together with them He may forever sing Thy all-holy name with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The rite of litia performed by a layman at home and in the cemetery

Through the prayers of the saints, our fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us. Amen.

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (Thrice)

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us; Lord, cleanse our sins; Master, forgive our iniquities; Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy name's sake.

Lord have mercy. (Thrice)

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven! Hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, as it is in heaven and on earth. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, just as we forgive our debtors; and do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Parents' prayer for deceased children

Lord Jesus Christ, our God, Lord of life and death, Comforter of the afflicted! With a contrite and tender heart I run to You and pray to You: remember. Lord, in Your Kingdom your deceased servant (your servant), my child (name), and create for him (her) eternal memory.

You, Lord of life and death, have given me this child. It was your good and wise will to take it away from me. Blessed be Thy name, O Lord.

I pray to You, Judge of heaven and earth, with Your endless love for us sinners, forgive my deceased child all his sins, voluntary and involuntary, in word, in deed, in knowledge and ignorance.

Forgive, O Merciful One, our parental sins as well, so that they may not remain on our children: we know that we have sinned many times before You, many of whom we have not observed, and have not done, as You commanded us.

If our deceased child, ours or his own, for the sake of guilt, lived in this life, working for the world and his flesh, and not more than You, the Lord and his God: if you loved the delights of this world, and not more than Your Word and Your commandments, if you surrendered with worldly sweets,

and not more than in contrition for one’s sins, and in intemperance, vigil, fasting and prayer have been abandoned to oblivion - I earnestly pray to Thee, forgive, most good Father, all such sins of my child, forgive and weaken, even if you have done other evil in this life. Christ Jesus!

You raised up the daughter of Jairus through the faith and prayer of her father. You healed the daughter of the Canaanite wife through faith and the request of her mother: hear my prayer, and do not despise my prayer for my child.

Forgive, Lord, forgive all his sins and, having forgiven and cleansed his soul, remove eternal torment and place him with all Your saints, who have pleased You from all eternity, where there is no sickness, no sorrow, no sighing, but endless life:

for there is no man who will live and not sin, but You are the only One besides all sin: so that when you judge the world, my child will hear Your most beloved voice: come, blessed of My Father, and inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For You are the Father of mercies and generosity. You are our life and resurrection, and we send glory to You with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Memorial service for the deceased - where and how to order correctly

In the current version, they prayerfully ask God for their loved one’s forgiveness of sins and the repose of their soul in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Mass may take place in the House of God, in a cemetery, in a crematorium, or at the home of a family member. Often the action is ordered in a shop or from servants. Direct reading takes place after the Liturgy.

You can place an order in 2 ways: live and online, for example on our portal Saints - all of the above methods are pleasing to God. The main thing is to know the list of rules and prohibitions for the Mass.

The Church is extremely strict in complying with current requirements. The choice of how to place an order is up to the relatives! Choose the most optimal and convenient option for yourself.

As stated earlier, base variants are allowed.

You can leave a note on any day and in any temple. In order for the sacrament of memory to take place, you need to submit a sheet with the names of those for whom the prayer is being carried out.

Names must strictly be written in full in the parent case and in legible handwriting! If you have any difficulties, contact a candle shop or a special website, where they will definitely help.

Nowadays people place orders online more often, which is welcome.

A special sheet with names must be taken to the candle counter. As a rule, alms in the form of food are carried along with the note.

Bring almost everything from food except meat products: meat and sausages are strictly prohibited! The food is for the people being prayed for. Products with a long shelf life are especially welcome.

At the end of the ritual, the food is blessed and distributed to those present. Apart from a note and a donation, nothing else is required. But this is a rather individual process, which is worth remembering.

  • This tradition comes from Jesus Christ, because it was on the 3rd day after his painful death that he resurrected. In the first 2 days after death, a person is protected by an Angel. At this time, the soul visits its important places in life, filled with experiences, both positive and negative. On the 3rd day, the soul says goodbye to the body and goes to the Lord for the first time. Having performed the sacrament, you can hope that the spirit will quickly and successfully pass the tests and, as a result, receive a positive sentence in the next world. All this is very important for the powers above, for the deceased himself, and for his loved ones.
  • It is believed that from the 3rd to the 9th day the soul is in paradise and gets acquainted with its beauties. Upon completion of this journey, a transfer to the underworld occurs. It is then that the spirit encounters a difficult life where past sinners are tormented. Passing through all the circles of hell, he realizes with sins that his life on Earth was sinful. If during this the relatives read prayers, then the sinner has the opportunity to be saved and even beg the Almighty for forgiveness. That is why the sacrament on the 9th day is considered one of the most important and significant for the deceased.
  • The entire future fate is decided: the Lord decides where to place the deceased. To soften his decision, relatives hold a wake and read prayers that say that sins must be forgiven and the soul sent to heaven. It is generally accepted that after 40 days the spirit leaves the earth forever. Such petitions help the deceased to go to heaven and not end up in the difficult torments of hell.

The event is also held on the anniversary of the death. You need to bring a standard “set” to the ceremony: food products with a long shelf life. Usually, a wake is held at home, where relatives and friends who knew the deceased well gather. This can also be done in a cafe, restaurant or at home.

According to the duration, funeral services are divided into 2 types: simplified (short) and full. Lithiya is a simplified version that lasts about 5 minutes. The full version lasts approximately 20 minutes. Most often it is held in a cemetery or Orthodox place. The choice of duration depends on relatives and current conditions.

Usually a memorial service in memory of the deceased is held in the house of God. It is there that the believer is most imbued with the necessary atmosphere and is in the right environment. Commemoration is a forty-day period dedicated exclusively to the dead. During it, prayers are said, donations are made, and funeral services are performed.

But this does not mean that the ritual should take place every day. As stated earlier, funeral masses are usually celebrated on the 3rd, 9th and 40th days, as well as on anniversaries.

Each such service is accompanied by prayer and funeral services. The priest and the entire crowd present ask the Lord for forgiveness for sins and peace in the next world. Candles are lit and extinguished when finished. This symbolizes that pretty soon the lives of those living today will end.

In most cases, the sacrament ends with the extinguishing of candles and a meal, which consists of food brought to the funeral table.

Commemoration at graves is a mandatory and truly necessary event. At the cemetery, the family quietly reads the Liturgy in memory of the dead. Sometimes a priest is invited to read. Before the ceremony, you need to clean the grave from dust and debris in order to light the candles beautifully and accurately. It is very important to put the area in order, this way you show your respect for both God and the deceased.

The cemetery is visited on the anniversary of death. But before that, it’s a good idea to also visit the temple, giving a note with the name of the fallen or lighting a candle. Also, the best days for visiting graves are: Parents' Saturdays, Radonitsa and namesake days of the deceased. On Sundays and holidays it is recommended to attend services.

It is strictly forbidden to drink or eat anything at the funeral! It is especially prohibited to pour alcoholic beverages into burial mounds. By doing this, you only insult and humiliate the dead.

Litiya is a fervent prayer to God

The word "lithia" is translated from Greek as "prayer." In ancient times, this was a prayer performed in times of disaster. Later, the lithium began to acquire a solemn character and was celebrated on church holidays. Today lithium is part of worship services. A litany for the dead is also performed for the laity at home and in a cemetery without a priest. The legacy of the festive “prayers” is the lithium before the liturgy. Repentant motives are present in the litias at Vespers and Matins.

Litiyas are performed in the vestibule of the temple or outside it. This is intended to remind us of our unworthiness to pray in the House of God.

Theologian Mikhail Skaballanovich notes that in this way

“The Church proceeds from its blessed environment into the outside world... with the goal of a prayer mission in this world” (Explanatory Typikon, part 2).

Often the lithium is combined with a prayer service or religious procession.

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