Prayer for dead mother

Quotable Quotes:

To lose someone you love is to alter your life forever…The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes… This hole in your heart is the shape of the one you lost – no one else can fit it.

– Unknown

For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.

– William Penn

Sorrow makes us all children again – destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in our hearts.

– Mahatma Gandhi

It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.

– John Steinbeck

I guess by now I should know enough about loss to realize that you never really stop missing someone-you just learn to live around the huge gaping hole of their absence.

– Alyson Noel, Evermore

In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory.

– J.R.R. Tolkien

Wherever there is a belief in the continued existence of human personality through and after death, religion naturally concerns itself with the relations between the living and the dead. And where the idea of a future judgment or a Resurrection of the Dead or of Purgatory exists, prayers are often offered on behalf of the dead to God.


Along reading Buddhist sutras such as Sutra of The Great Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, Amitabha Sutra or Diamond Sutra, Ritsu offer refuge, Pure Land Buddhists nianfo or chant Pure Land Rebirth Dhāraṇī and Tibetan Buddhists chant Om mani padme hum repeatedly. Prayers such as Namo Ratnasikhin Tathagata are for animals.


New Testament

A passage in the New Testament which may refer to a prayer for the dead is found in 2 Timothy 1:16-18, which reads as follows:

“May the Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain, but when he was in Rome, he sought me diligently, and found me (the Lord grant to him to find the Lord’s mercy on that day); and in how many things he served at Ephesus, you know very well.”

As with the verses from 2 Maccabees, these verses refer to prayers that will help the deceased “on that day” (perhaps Judgement Day, see also end times). 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 4:19, Paul sends greetings to “Prisca and Aquila, and the house of Onesiphorus”, distinguishing the situation of Onesiphorus from that of the still living Prisca and Aquila.


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”. In the Catholic Church the assistance that the dead receive by prayer on their behalf is linked with the process of purification known as purgatory. While prayer for the dead continues in both these traditions and in those of Oriental Orthodoxy and of the Assyrian Church of the East, many Protestant groups reject the practice.

The tomb of the Christian Abercius of Hieropolis in Phrygia (latter part of the 2nd century) bears the inscription: “Let every friend who observes this pray for me”, i.e. Abercius, who throughout speaks in the first person.

The inscriptions in the Roman catacombs bear similar witness to the practice, by the occurrence of such phrases as:

  • Mayst thou live among the saints (3rd century);
  • May God refresh the soul of . . . ;
  • Peace be with them.

Among Church writers Tertullian († 230) is the first to mention prayers for the dead: “The widow who does not pray for her dead husband has as good as divorced him”. 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 398.

An important element in the Christian liturgies both East and West consisted of the diptychs, or lists of names of living and dead commemorated at the Eucharist. 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.

In the middle of the 3rd century, St. 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: “He ought not to be named in the priests prayer who has done his best to detain the clergy from the altar.”

Although it is not possible, as a rule, to name dates for the exact words used in the ancient liturgies, yet the universal occurrence of these diptychs and of definite prayers for the dead in all parts of the Christian Church, East and West, in the 4th and 5th centuries shows how primitive such prayers were. The language used in the prayers for the departed is asking for rest and freedom from pain and sorrow. A passage from the Liturgy of St James reads:

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.

Public prayers were only offered for those who were believed to have died as faithful members of the Church. But Saint Perpetua, who was martyred in 202, 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. St. Augustine thought it needful to point out that the narrative was not canonical Scripture, and contended that the child had perhaps been baptized.

Eastern Christianity


Eastern and Oriental Orthodox believe in the possibility of situation change for the souls of the dead through the prayers of the living, and reject the term “purgatory”. 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.

Saint Basil the Great († 379), a saint of undivided Christianity, writes in his Third Kneeling Prayer at Pentecost: “O Christ our God…(who) on this all-perfect and saving Feast, art graciously pleased to accept propitiatory prayers for those who are imprisoned in hades, promising unto us who are held in bondage great hope of release from the vilenes that doth hinder us and did hinder them … send down Thy consolation… and establish their souls in the mansions of the Just; and graciously vouchsafe unto them peace and pardon; for not the dead shall praise thee, O Lord, neither shall they who are in Hell make bold to offer unto thee confession. But we who are living will bless thee, and will pray, and offer unto thee propitiatory prayers and sacrifices for their souls.”

Saint Gregory Dialogus († 604) in his famous Dialogues (written in 593) teaches that, “The Holy Sacrifice (Eucharist) of Christ, our saving Victim, brings great benefits to souls even after death, provided their sins (are such as) can be pardoned in the life to come.” However, St. 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. “The safer course, naturally, is to do for ourselves during life what we hope others will do for us after death.” Father Seraphim Rose († 1982) says, “the Church’s prayer cannot save anyone who does not wish salvation, or who never offered any struggle (podvig) for it himself during his lifetime.”

Eastern Orthodox Praxis

The various prayers for the departed have as their purpose to pray for the repose of the departed, to comfort the living, and to remind those who remain of their own mortality. For this reason, memorial services have an air of penitence about them.

The Church’s prayers for the dead begin at the moment of death, when the priest leads the Prayers at the Departure of the Soul , consisting of a special Canon and prayers for the release of the soul. 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
  • Fortieth 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 26). In the Bulgarian Orthodox Church there is a commemoration of the dead on the Saturday before the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, November 8, instead of the Demetrius Soul Saturday.

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 action, Saint Mark of Ephesus says, “We can do nothing better or greater for the dead than to pray for them, offering commemoration for them at the Liturgy. Of this they are always in need… The body feels nothing then: it does not see its close ones who have assembled, does not smell the fragrance of the flowers, does not hear the funeral orations. But the soul senses the prayers offered for it and is grateful to those who make them and is spiritually close to them.”

Normally, candidates for sainthood, prior to their Glorification (Canonization) as a saint, will be commemorated by serving Panikhidas. Then, on the eve of their Glorification will be served an especially solemn Requiem, known as the “Last Panikhida.”

Roman Catholic Church

In the West there is ample evidence of the custom of praying for the dead in the inscriptions of the catacombs, with their constant prayers for the peace and refreshment of the souls of the departed and in the early liturgies, which commonly contain commemorations of the dead; and Tertullian, Cyprian and other early Western Fathers witness to the regular practice of praying for the dead among the early Christians.

However, in the case of martyred Christians, it was felt that it was inappropriate to pray “for” the martyrs, since they were believed to be in no need of such prayers, having instantly passed to the Beatific Vision of Heaven. 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”. With the development of the doctrine of purgatory, the dead prayed for were spoken of as being in purgatory and, in view of the certainty that by the process of purification and with the help of the prayers of the faithful they were destined for heaven, they were referred to as the “holy souls”.

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.

On the other hand, “provided their own minister is not available, baptised persons belonging to a non-catholic Church or ecclesial community may, in accordance with the prudent judgement of the local Ordinary, be allowed Church funeral rites, unless it is established that they did not wish this.”

During the slaughter of the First World War, Pope Benedict XV on 10 August 1915, allowed all priests everywhere to say three Masses on All Souls’ Day. The two extra Masses were in no way to benefit the priest himself: one was to be offered for all the faithful departed, the other for the Pope’s intentions, which at that time were presumed to be for all the victims of that war. The permission remains.

Each Eucharistic Prayer, including the ancient Roman Canon, of the Order of Mass has a prayer for the departed.

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…with those who have already died to pray for them and to commend them…to the mercy of God.” Likewise, in the United States, the Evangelical Lutheran Church and Roman Catholic Church formulated a statement The Hope of Eternal Life, which affirmed that “there is communion among the living and the dead across the divide of death. … 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.”


The Church of England’s 1549 Book of the Common Prayer still had prayer for the dead, as (in the Communion Service): “We commend into thy mercy all other thy servants, which are departed hence from us with the sign of faith and now do rest in the sleep of peace: grant unto them, we beseech thee, thy mercy and everlasting peace.” But since 1552 the Book of Common Prayer has no express prayers for the dead, and the practice is denounced in the Homily “On Prayer” (part 3).Nonjurors included prayers for the dead, a practice that spread within the Church of England in the mid-nineteenth century, and was authorized in 1900 for forces serving in South Africa and since then in other forms of service. 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 Episcopal Church’s 1979 Book of Common Prayer includes prayers for the dead. 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., and grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

According to the Catechism in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, “We pray for (the dead), because we still hold them in our love, and because we trust that in God’s presence those who have chosen to serve him will grow in his love, until they see him as he is.” Although this statement indicates that prayer is typically made for those who are known to have been members of the Church (“those who have chosen to serve him”), prayer is also offered for those whose faith was uncertain or unknown—authorized options in the Prayer Book burial rite allow for prayers that thus entrust the deceased to the mercy of God while retaining integrity about what was known of the deceased’s religious life. For example, following the intercessions, there are two options for a concluding prayer: the first begins, “Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to you our brother (sister) N., who was reborn by water and the Spirit in Holy Baptism . . .”; the second, however, would be appropriate for one whose faith and standing before God is not known:

Father of all, we pray to you for N., and for all those whom we love but see no longer. 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. Amen.


Lutheran Church

To console women whose children were not born and baptized, Martin Luther wrote in 1542: “In summary, see to it that above all else you are a true Christian and that you teach a heartfelt yearning and praying to God in true faith, be it in this or in any other trouble. 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. ‘Call upon me,’ he says in Psalm 50. ‘In the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.’ For this reason, we ought not to condemn such infants. Believers and Christians have devoted their longing and yearning and praying for them.” In the same year 1542 he stated in his Preface to the Burial Hymns: “Accordingly, we have removed from our churches and completely abolished the popish abominations, such as vigils, masses for the dead, processions, purgatory, and all other hocus-pocus on behalf of the dead”.

The Lutheran Reformers de-emphasized prayer for the dead, because they believed that the practice had led to many abuses and even to false doctrine, in particular the doctrine of purgatory and of the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice for the departed. But they recognized that the early Church had practiced prayer for the dead, and accepted it in principle. Thus in the 1580 Book of Concord, the Lutheran Church taught:

“… we know that the ancients speak of prayer for the dead, which we do not prohibit; but we disapprove of the application ex opere operato of the Lord’s Supper on behalf of the dead.”

The largest Lutheran denomination in the United States, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, “remembers the faithful departed in the Prayers of the People every Sunday, including those who have recently died and those commemorated on the church calendar of saints”. In Funeral rites of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, “deceased are prayed for” using “commendations: ‘keep our sister/brother … in the company of all your saints. And at the last … raise her/him up to share with all the faithful the endless joy and peace won through the glorious resurrection of Christ our Lord.'” The response for these prayers for the dead in this Lutheran liturgy is the prayer of Eternal Rest: “rest eternal grant him/her, O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon him/her”.

On the other hand, the edition of Luther’s Small Catechism widely used among communicants of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod recommends:

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.

— Question 201 of Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation (Concordia Publishing House, 1991 edition) The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

This question and answer do not appear in Luther’s original text, but reflect the views of the twentieth-century Lutherans who added this explanation to the catechism. Similarly, the conservative Lutheran denomination WELS teaches:

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 9:27, see also Luke 16:19-31). It would do no good to pray for someone who has died.

Methodist Church

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, stated that: “I believe it to be a duty to observe, to pray for the Faithful Departed”. He “taught the propriety of Praying for the Dead, practised it himself, provided Forms that others might.” Two such prayers in the Forms are “O grant that we, with those who are already dead in Thy faith and fear, may together partake of a joyful resurrection” and also, “By Thy infinite mercies, vouchsafe to bring us, with those that are dead in Thee, to rejoice together before Thee”. As such, many Methodists pray “for those who sleep.” Shane Raynor, a Methodist writer, explains the practice saying that it is “appropriate to pray for others in the community, even across time and space”, referencing the doctrine of Communion of Saints being a “community made up of all past, present, and future Christians”. In a joint statement with the Catholic Church in England and Wales, the Methodist Church of Great Britain affirmed that “Methodists who pray for the dead thereby commend them to the continuing mercy of God.”

Moravian Church

In its Easter liturgy, the Moravian Church prays for those “departed in the faith of Christ” and “give thanks for their holy departure”.

Other churches

Prayer for the dead is not practiced by members of Baptist and nondenominational Christian churches. For example, members of the Baptist churches hold that “dead men receive no benefit from the prayers, sacrifices, &c. of the living.”

LDS Church

The LDS Church has a number of sacred ordinances and rituals that are performed for the dead. The chief among these are baptism for the dead and the sealing of the dead to families. These practices are based upon multiple New Testament scriptures, some of which are 1 Corinthians 15:29-32, Matthew 16:19


In Hinduism there are funeral speeches with prayers for the dead. Many of these funeral speeches are read out from the Mahabharata, usually in Sanskrit. 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.

Many of these speeches are a collection of scriptural texts about life and death.


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:

like Eid prayer, the Janazah prayer incorporates an additional (four) Takbirs, the Arabic name for the phrase Allahu Akbar, but there is no Ruku’ (bowing) and Sujud (prostrating).

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.


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: “Have mercy upon him; pardon all his transgressions … Shelter his soul in the shadow of Thy wings. Make known to him the path of life.”

El Maleh Rachamim is the actual Jewish prayer for the dead, although less well known than the Mourner’s Kaddish. 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. One version reads:

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. And let us say: Amen.

A record of Jewish prayer and offering of sacrifice for the dead at the time of the Maccabees is seen being referred to in 2 Maccabees, a book written in Greek, which, though not accepted as part of the Jewish Bible, is regarded as canonical by Eastern Christianity and the Roman Catholic Church:

But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. So it was clear to all that this was why these men had been slain. They all therefore praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge who brings to light the things that are hidden. Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

Jacques Le Goff, French historian and agnostic, concluded, “at the time of Judas Maccabeus-around 170 B.C., a surprisingly innovative period- prayer for the dead was not practiced, but that a century later it was practiced by certain Jews.”

This extract does not explain on what grounds Le Goff argued that prayer for the dead was not in use in the first half of the 2nd century BC. The account of the action of Judas Maccabaeus was written midway through the second half of the same century, in about 124 B.C., and in the view of Philip Schaff its mention of prayer for the dead “seems to imply habit”.


Taoists chant Qinghuahao (青華誥) or Jiukujing (救苦經).

Other religions

Zoroastrians chant prayers in funeral ceremonies.

In Bahá’í Faith a prayer is required only when the deceased is over the age of fifteen.

There are prayers in other religions.

See also

  • All Souls’ Day
  • Baptism for the dead
  • Book of the Dead
  • Intercession of saints
  • Requiem
  • Saturday of Souls
  • Veneration of the dead
  • Veneration of the saints


  1. ^ 與生死有關–超度佛事的功德(下)
  2. ^ 佛教喪葬禮儀內容及程序
  3. ^ 符咒详解
  4. ^ 生命的終極關懷(第二章~後事處理)
  5. ^ 慈濟大學-實驗動物中心-第三章第四節動物之安樂死與屍體之處置
  6. ^ 寵物死了怎麼辦? @ 小行者的部落格:: 痞客邦PIXNET ::
  7. ^ 金丹大法
  8. ^ 多尊佛名號功德/ 海濤法師開示節錄
  9. ^ 護生手冊
  10. ^ The Longer Catechism of the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church, 376
  11. ^ Le Goff, Jacques. The birth of purgatory. University of Chicago Press. 1984.
  12. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1032
  13. ^ “Of course we do not understand exactly how such prayer benefits the departed. Yet equally, when we intercede for people still alive, we cannot explain how this intercessions assists them. We know from our personal experience that prayer for others is effective, and so we continue to practice it.” (Kallistos Ware, The Inner Kingdom (St Vladimir’s Seminary Press 2000, p. 36), ISBN 978-0-88141-209-3.
  14. ^ Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church (Penguin Books, 1964, ISBN 0-14-020592-6), p. 259
  15. ^ Isabel F. Hapgood, Service Book of the Holy Orthodox-Catholic Apostolic Church (Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, Englewood, New Jersey, 1975, 5th edition), p. 255.
  16. ^ Dialogues IV, 57.
  17. ^ Id. IV, 60.
  18. ^ Fr. Seraphim Rose, The Soul After Death (Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, California, ISBN 0-938635-14-X), p. 191.
  19. ^ For instance, the Panikhida does not have the chanting of “God is the Lord…” as the Moleben does; but instead, the “Alleluia” is chanted, reminiscent of the “Alleluia” that is chanted at Lenten services.
  20. ^ In calculating the number of days, the actual day of death is counted as the first day. According to St. Macarius the Great, the reason for these days is as follows: from the third day to the ninth day after death, the departed is soul is shown the mansions of Paradise (the funeral is normally performed on the third day); from the ninth to the fortieth days, the soul is shown the torments of hell; and on the fortieth day, the soul stands before the throne of God to undergo the Particular Judgement and is assigned the place where it will await the Second Coming. For this reason, the fortieth day is considered to be the most important. In some traditions, there is also a commemoration at six months.
  21. ^ Quoted in Seraphim Rose, The Soul After Death, p. 192, op. cit.
  22. ^ a b Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article “dead, prayer for the”
  23. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 633
  24. ^ canons 1184-1185
  25. ^ canon 1183 §3
  26. ^ a b Gould, James B. (4 August 2016). Understanding Prayer for the Dead: Its Foundation in History and Logic. Wipf and Stock Publishers. pp. 57–58. ISBN 9781620329887. 
  27. ^ “Neither let us dreame any more, that the soules of the dead are any thing at all holpen by our prayers: But as the Scripture teacheth us, let us thinke that the soule of man passing out of the body, goeth straight wayes either to heaven, or else to hell, whereof the one needeth no prayer, and the other is without redemption” (An Homilie or Sermon concerning Prayer, part 3)
  28. ^ The Book of Common Prayer. 1979. p. 470. 
  29. ^ The Book of Common Prayer. 1979. p. 862. 
  30. ^ The Book of Common Prayer. 1979. p. 498. 
  31. ^ Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings (Fortress Press 2012) ISBN 978-0-80069883-6; cf. Elisa Erikson Barrett, What Was Lost: A Christian Journey through Miscarriage (Westminster John Knox Press 2010, p. 70) ISBN 978-1-61164074-8
  32. ^ Luther’s Works 53:325
  33. ^ Garces-Foley, Kathleen, Death and Religion in a Changing World, p129
  34. ^ “Defense of the Augsburg Confession - Book of Concord”. Retrieved 2015-09-22. 
  35. ^ a b c Gould, James B. (4 August 2016). Understanding Prayer for the Dead: Its Foundation in History and Logic. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 50. ISBN 9781532606014. 
  36. ^ “Prayer for the Dead”. WELS Topical Q&A. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Retrieved 4 Feb 2015. 
  37. ^ Walker, Walter James (1885). Chapters on the Early Registers of Halifax Parish Church. Whitley & Booth. p. 20. The opinion of the Rev. John Wesley may be worth citing. “I believe it to be a duty to observe, to pray for the Faithful Departed.” 
  38. ^ a b Holden, Harrington William (1872). John Wesley in Company with High Churchmen. London: J. Hodges. p. 84. Wesley taught the propriety of Praying for the Dead, practised it himself, provided Forms that others might. These forms, for daily use, he put fort, not tentatively or apologetically, but as considering such prayer a settled matter of Christian practice, with all who believe that the Faithful, living and dead, are one Body in Christ in equal need and like expectation of those blessings which they will together enjoy, when both see Him in His Kingdom. Two or three examples, out of many, may be given:–“O grant that we, with those who are already dead in Thy faith and fear, may together partake of a joyful resurrection.” 
  39. ^ Holden, Harrington William (1872). John Wesley in Company with High Churchmen. London: J. Hodges. p. 84. The Prayers passed though many editions, and were in common use among thousands of Methodists of every degree, who, without scruple or doubtfulness prayed for those who sleep in Jesus every day that they prayed to the common Father of all. 
  40. ^ Raynor, Shane (14 October 2015). “Should Christians pray for the dead?”. Ministry Matters. The United Methodist Publishing House. 
  41. ^ Gould, James B. (4 August 2016). Understanding Prayer for the Dead: Its Foundation in History and Logic. Wipf and Stock Publishers. pp. 57–58. ISBN 9781620329887. The Roman Catholic and English Methodist churches both pray for the dead. Their consensus statement confirms that “over the centuries in the Catholic tradition praying for the dead has developed into a variety of practices, especially through the Mass. … The Methodist church … has prayers for the dead … Methodists who pray for the dead thereby commend them to the continuing mercy of God.” 
  42. ^ Garbett, John (1827). The Nullity of the Roman Faith. John Murray. p. 299. 
  43. ^ Crosby, Thomas (1738). The History of the English Baptists. Church History Research & Archives. p. 38. That dead men receive no benefit from the prayers, ſacrifices, &c. of the living. 
  44. ^ Funerals
  45. ^ RITUALS
  46. ^ Kamat’s Potpourri: FAQ on Hindu Funerals
  47. ^ 2 Maccabees 12:40-46
  48. ^ Le Goff, Jacques (1984). surprisingly innovative period&f=false The Birth of Purgatory . Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. p. 45. 
  49. ^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
  50. ^ Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume II: Ante-Nicene Christianity. A.D. 100-325, ”§156. Between Death and Resurrection.”
  51. ^ 救苦朝科
  52. ^ 論道教太乙救苦天尊的信仰
  53. ^ 救苦往生神咒
  54. ^ The Funeral Ceremonies of the Parsees
  55. ^ Prayer for the Dead
  56. ^ Compilation: Baha’i Burial
  57. ^ The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Pages 101-102 - Baha’i Reference Library
  58. ^ 彝文《指路经》
  59. ^ 送魂引路经_一路向北_百度空间
  60. ^ 傣族火葬原始神秘的葬礼
  61. ^ 专家文章– 杨民康
  62. ^ 《指路经》节选

External links

  • Prayers for the Dead article in Catholic Encyclopedia
  • Papal Document Promulgating the Simplification of Indulgences from the Vatican website, with resulting Manual of Indulgence
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “article name needed”. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

This page was last edited on 28 February 2018, at 22:00.

The Church prays for the dead, and this prayer says much about the reality of the Church itself. It says that the Church continues to live in the hope of eternal life. Prayer for the dead is almost a battle with the reality of death and destruction that weighs down upon the earthly existence of man. This is and remains a particular revelation of the Resurrection. In this prayer Christ himself bears witness to the life and immortality to which God calls every human being.

Gathering in the Presence of the Body

When the family first gathers around the body, before or after it is prepared for burial, all or some of the following prayers may be used. It is most fitting that family members take part in preparing the body for burial.

All make the Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

Then one member of the family reads:

My brothers and sisters, Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

The body may then be sprinkled with holy water.

The Lord God lives in his holy temple
yet abides in our midst.
Since in Baptism N. became God’s temple,
and the spirit of God lived in him (her),
with reverence we bless his (her) mortal body.

Then one member of the family may say:

With God there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
Let us pray as Jesus taught us:  Our Father.

Then this prayer is said:  Into your hands, O Lord,
we humbly entrust our brother (sister) N.
In this life you embraced him (her)
with your tender love;
deliver him (her) now from every evil
and bid him (her) enter eternal rest.
The old order has passed away:
welcome him (her), then, into paradise,
where there will be no sorrow,
no weeping or pain,
but the fullness of peace and joy
with your Son and the Holy Spirit
for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

All may sign the forehead of the deceased with the Sign of the Cross. One member of the family says:

Blessed are those who have died in the Lord;
let them rest from their labors,
for their good deeds go with them.

V. Eternal rest grant unto him (her), O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon him (her).

V. May he (she) rest in peace.
R. Amen.

V. May his (her) soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

All make the Sign of the Cross as one member of the family says:

May the love of God and the peace
of the Lord Jesus Christ
bless and console us
and gently wipe every tear from our eyes:
in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

Lord Jesus, our Redeemer,
you willingly gave yourself up to death,
so that all people might be saved
and pass from death into a new life.
Listen to our prayers;
look with love on your people
who mourn and pray for their brother (sister).

Lord Jesus, holy and compassionate,
forgive N. his (her) sins.
By dying you opened the gates of life
for those who believe in you:
do not let our brother (sister) be parted from you,
but by your glorious power
give him (her) light, joy, and peace in heaven,
where you live for ever and ever.  
R. Amen.

Prayers at the Graveside

Aside from the time of mourning, the month of November, including especially All Saints’ day and All Souls’ day, is a traditional time for visiting graves, as is the anniversary of death. Some or all of the following prayers may be used at the graveside of a family member or friend.

All make the Sign of the Cross. The leader begins:

Praise be to God our Father, who raised Jesus
Christ from the dead. Blessed be God for ever.

All respond:

Blessed be God for ever.

The following Scripture text may be read:  2 Cor 5: 1

We know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven.

After a time of silence, all join in prayers of intercession, or in one of the litanies or other prayers. All then join hands for the Lord’s Prayer:  Our Father.

Then the leader prays:

Lord God,
whose days are without end
and whose mercies are beyond counting,
keep us mindful that life is short and the hour of death is unknown.
Let your Spirit guide our days on earth
in the ways of holiness and justice,
that we may serve you in union with the whole Church,
sure in faith, strong in hope, perfected in love.
And when our earthly journey is ended,
lead us rejoicing into your kingdom,
where you live for ever and ever. 
R. Amen.


Lord Jesus Christ,
by your own three days in the tomb,
you hallowed the graves of all who believe in you
and so made the grave a sign of hope
that promises resurrection,
even as it claims our mortal bodies.
Grant that our brother (sister) N.
may sleep here in peace
until you awaken him (her) to glory,
for you are the resurrection and the life.
Then he (she) will see you face to face
and in your light will see light
and know the splendor of God,
for you live and reign for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.

V. May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.

V. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

All make the Sign of the Cross as the leader concludes:

May the peace of God,
which is beyond all understanding,
keep our hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God
and of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Amen.

Additional Prayers for the Dead

V. Do not remember my sins, O Lord,
R. When you come to judge the world by fire.

V. Direct my way in your sight, O Lord, my God,
R. When you come to judge the world by fire.

V. Give him (her) eternal rest, O Lord, and may your light shine on him (her) for ever,
R. When you come to judge the world by fire,

V. Lord, have mercy,
R. Christ, have mercy, Lord, have mercy.

All : Our Father . . . trespass against us.

V. And lead us not into temptation,
R. But deliver us from evil.

V. From the gates of hell,
R. Deliver his (her) soul, O Lord.

V. May he (she) rest in peace.
R. Amen.

V. Lord, hear my prayer,
R. And let my cry come to you.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And also with you.

Let us pray. 
Lord, welcome into your presence your son (daughter) N., whom you have called from this life. Release him (her) from all his (her) sins; bless him (her) with eternal light and peace; raise him (her) up to live for ever with all your saints in the glory of the Resurrection.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

For a parent:

Let us pray.
Almighty God, you command us to honor father and mother. In your mercy forgive the sins of my (our) parents and let me (us) one day see him (her) again in the radiance of eternal joy.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

For a brother or sister:

Let us pray.
God, our Maker and Redeemer, in your mercy hear my (our) prayer. Grant forgiveness and peace to my (our) brother (sister) N. and N., who longed for your mercy.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

V. Give him (her) eternal rest, O Lord.
R. And may your light shine on him (her) for ever.

V. May he (she) rest in peace.
R. Amen.

V. May his (her) soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

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