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New Testament[ edit ] A passage in the New Testament which may refer to a prayer for the dead is found in 2 Timothy 1: It is not stated that Onesiphorus, for whom Saint Paul prayed, was dead, though some scholars infer this, based on the way Paul only refers to him in the past tense, and prays for present blessings on his household, but for him only "on that day". And towards the end of the same letter, in 2 Timothy 4: Tradition[ edit ] Prayer for the dead is well documented within early Christianity , both among prominent Church Fathers and the Christian community in general. In Eastern Orthodoxy Christians pray for "such souls as have departed with faith, but without having had time to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance". The tomb of the Christian Abercius of Hieropolis in Phrygia latter part of the 2nd century bears the inscription: Abercius, who throughout speaks in the first person. Mayst thou live among the saints 3rd century ;  May God refresh the soul of. This passage occurs in one of his later writings, dating from the beginning of the 3rd century. Subsequent writers similarly make mention of the practice as prevalent, not as unlawful or even disputed until Arius challenged it towards the end of the 4th century. The most famous instance is Saint Augustine 's prayer for his mother, Monica , at the end of the 9th book of his Confessions , written around To be inserted in these lists was a confirmation of one's orthodoxy, and out of the practice grew the official canonization of saints; on the other hand, removal of a name was a condemnation. Cyprian enjoining that there should be no oblation or public prayer made for a deceased layman who had broken the Church's rule by appointing a cleric trustee under his will: The language used in the prayers for the departed is asking for rest and freedom from pain and sorrow. Remember, O Lord, the God of Spirits and of all Flesh, those whom we have remembered and those whom we have not remembered, men of the true faith, from righteous Abel unto to-day; do thou thyself give them rest there in the land of the living, in thy kingdom, in the delight of Paradise , in the bosom of Abraham , Isaac and Jacob , our holy fathers , from whence pain and sorrow and sighing have fled away, where the light of thy countenance visiteth them and always shineth upon them. But Saint Perpetua , who was martyred in , believed herself to have been encouraged in a vision to pray for her brother, who had died in his eighth year, almost certainly unbaptized; and a later vision assured her that her prayer was answered and he had been translated from punishment. Augustine thought it needful to point out that the narrative was not canonical Scripture, and contended that the child had perhaps been baptized. Prayer for the dead is encouraged in the belief that it is helpful for them, though how the prayers of the faithful help the departed is not elucidated. Eastern Orthodox simply believe that tradition teaches that prayers should be made for the dead. But we who are living will bless thee, and will pray, and offer unto thee propitiatory prayers and sacrifices for their souls. Gregory goes on to say, the Church's practice of prayer for the dead must not be an excuse for not living a godly life on earth. For this reason, memorial services have an air of penitence about them. Then the body is washed, clothed and laid in the coffin, after which the priest begins the First Panikhida prayer service for the departed. After the First Panikhida, the family and friends begin reading the Psalter aloud beside the casket. This reading continues and concludes until the next morning, in which usually the funeral is held, up until the time of the orthros. Orthodox Christians offer particularly fervent prayers for the departed on the first 40 days after death. Traditionally, in addition to the service on the day of death, the memorial service is performed at the request of the relatives of an individual departed person on the following occasions: Third day after death  Ninth day First anniversary of death Third anniversary some will request a memorial every year on the anniversary of death In addition to Panikhidas for individuals, there are also several days during the year that are set aside as special general commemorations of the dead, when all departed Orthodox Christians will be prayed for together this is especially to benefit those who have no one on earth to pray for them. The majority of these general commemorations fall on the various " Soul Saturdays " throughout the year mostly during Great Lent. On these days, in addition to the normal Panikhida, there are special additions to Vespers and Matins , and there will be propers for the departed added to the Divine Liturgy. These days of general memorial are: Meatfare Saturday two Saturdays before Great Lent begins —in some traditions families and friends will offer Panikhidas for their loved ones during the week, culminating in the general commemoration on Saturday The second Saturday of Great Lent The third Saturday of Great Lent The fourth Saturday of Great Lent Radonitsa the second Tuesday after Easter The Saturday before Pentecost —in some traditions families and friends will offer Panikhidas for their loved ones during the week, culminating in the general commemoration on Saturday Demetrius Saturday the Saturday before the feast of Saint Demetrius , October The most important form of prayer for the dead occurs in the Divine Liturgy. Particles are cut from the prosphoron during the Proskomedie at the beginning of the Liturgy. These particles are placed beneath the Lamb Host on the diskos , where they remain throughout the Liturgy. After the Communion of the faithful, the deacon brushes these particles into the chalice , saying, "Wash away, O Lord, the sins of all those here commemorated, by Thy Precious Blood, through the prayers of all thy saints. Of this they are always in need The body feels nothing then: But the soul senses the prayers offered for it and is grateful to those who make them and is spiritually close to them. Then, on the eve of their Glorification will be served an especially solemn Requiem , known as the "Last Panikhida. Theoretically, too, prayer for those in hell understood as the abode of the eternally lost would be useless, but since there is no certainty that any particular person is in hell understood in that sense, prayers were and are offered for all the dead, except for those believed to be in heaven. These are prayed to, not for. Thus, prayers were and are offered for all those in Hades , the abode of the dead who are not known to be in heaven, sometimes rendered as "hell". Limits were placed on public offering of Mass for the unbaptised, non-Catholics, and notorious sinners, but prayers and even Mass in private could be said for them. The present Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church states that, unless the person concerned gave some signs of repentance before death, no form of funeral Mass may be offered for notorious apostates, heretics and schismatics ; those who for anti-Christian motives chose that their bodies be cremated; and other manifest sinners to whom a Church funeral could not be granted without public scandal to the faithful. The two extra Masses were in no way to benefit the priest himself: In Communio Sanctorum, the Lutheran and Roman Catholic Churches in Germany agreed that prayer for the dead "corresponds to the communion in which we are bound together in Christ Prayerful commendation of the dead to God is salutary within a funeral liturgy. Insofar as the resurrection of the dead and the general final judgment are future events, it is appropriate to pray for God's mercy for each person, entrusting that one to God's mercy. Many jurisdictions and parishes of the Anglo-Catholic tradition continue to practice prayer for the dead, including offering the Sunday liturgy for the peace of named departed Christians and keeping All Souls' Day. The prayers during the Sunday Eucharistic Liturgy include intercessions for the repose of the faithful departed. Furthermore, most of the prayers in the burial rite are for the deceased, including the opening collect: O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: Accept our prayers on behalf of thy servant N. For example, following the intercessions, there are two options for a concluding prayer: Father of all, we pray to you for N. Grant to them eternal rest. Let light perpetual shine upon them. May his soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Then do not be dismayed about your child or yourself. Know that your prayer is pleasing to God and that God will do everything much better than you can comprehend or desire. Believers and Christians have devoted their longing and yearning and praying for them. But they recognized that the early Church had practiced prayer for the dead, and accepted it in principle. Thus in the Book of Concord, the Lutheran Church taught: And at the last For whom should we pray? We should pray for ourselves and for all other people, even for our enemies, but not for the souls of the dead. Lutherans do not pray for the souls of the departed. When a person dies his soul goes to either heaven or hell. There is no second chance after death. The Bible tells us, "Man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment" Hebrew 9: It would do no good to pray for someone who has died. The chief among these are baptism for the dead and the sealing of the dead to families. Family members will pray around the body as soon as possible after Death. People try to avoid touching the corpse as it is considered polluting. Here is an example of a funeral speech that may be read out during a Hindu funeral. The wise have said that Atman is immortal: And that the phenomenon of death is merely the separation of the astral body from the physical body. The five elements of which the body is composed return to their source. Our scriptures teach us that as pilgrims unite and separate at a public inn, so also fathers, mothers, sons, brothers, wives, relations unite and separate in this world. He who thus understands the nature of the body and all human relationships based upon it will derive strength to bear the loss of our dear ones. In Divine plan, one day each union must end with separation. Islamic funeral In Islam , Muslims of their community gather to their collective prayers for the forgiveness of the dead, a prayer is recited and this prayer is known as the Salat al-Janazah Janazah prayer. The Janazah prayer is as follows: Supplication for the deceased and mankind is recited. In extraordinary circumstances, the prayer can be postponed and prayed at a later time as was done in the Battle of Uhud. Dogma states it is obligatory for every Muslim adult male to perform the funeral prayer upon the death of any Muslim, but the dogma embraces the practical in that it qualifies, when Janazah is performed by the few it alleviates that obligation for all. In addition, "Peace be upon him" sometimes abbreviated in writing as PBUH is a constantly repeated prayer for dead people such as Mohammed. Yizkor Prayers for the dead form part of the Jewish services. The prayers offered on behalf of the deceased consist of: Recitation of Psalms ; Reciting a thrice daily communal prayer in Aramaic which is known as Kaddish. Kaddish actually means "Sanctification" or "Prayer of Making Holy" which is a prayer "In Praise of God"; or other special remembrances known as Yizkor ; and also a Hazkara which is said either on the annual commemoration known as the Yahrzeit as well on Jewish holidays. The form in use in England contains the following passage: Shelter his soul in the shadow of Thy wings. Make known to him the path of life. While the Kaddish does not mention death but rather affirms the steadfast faith of the mourners in God's goodness, El Maleh Rachamim is a prayer for the rest of the departed. There are various translations for the original Hebrew which vary significantly. God, filled with mercy, dwelling in the heavens' heights, bring proper rest beneath the wings of your Shechinah, amid the ranks of the holy and the pure, illuminating like the brilliance of the skies the souls of our beloved and our blameless who went to their eternal place of rest. May You who are the source of mercy shelter them beneath Your wings eternally, and bind their souls among the living, that they may rest in peace.
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