What benefits the dead?

16 June 2012

In the life after death, the departed are in a state of anticipation… Even though they are cognisant of much, and communicate, and desire salvation, they are unable to do anything on their own behalf during this time of waiting. This is why we have a duty, through the Church, to offer to help them find comfort, repose and salvation.

For this reason, our merciful God, Who never wants the perdition even of sinners, has provided the Church with means which, if applied, bring relief to the deceased. These measures are:  the Divine Liturgy, memorial services, thrice-holy prayers, supplications and alms. Particular comfort and relief are provided to the deceased when a Liturgy is celebrated for them, since this is the sacrifice most acceptable to God. During this service, God’s own beloved Son is sacrificed for the sake of the world and salvation.

 When people sacrifice themselves for God (and become saints), they alone are saved. In the Liturgy, God Himself is sacrificed for the salvation and sanctification of all human beings and the entire universe. This is why the Liturgy is the most  important offering on behalf of the departed. This is why the Church has ordained that Liturgies be celebrated for the sake of the faithful. Especially on the third, ninth and fortieth day after a person’s repose and, by extension on the three-month, six-month, nine-month and annual anniversaries, and whenever relatives so desire. This is how the forty liturgies were established.

Source:  Εις μνημόσυνον αιώνιον και ανάμνησιν, Αντιπροσωπευτικά κείμενα πατρός Ευέλθοντος (For eternal memory and remembrance, Representative texts of Fr. Evelthon), Thessaloniki, December 2011.