Prayers for Departed

Don Quixote

Orthodox Inquirer
I posted before about the question of the possibility of salvation without Baptism. I know the Orthodox Church has rituals and prayers for the departed. Can one ask the Orthodox Church to say a prayer for departed souls who may not be Orthodox or even Christian, for that matter, or is that forbidden? I would like to say some prayers for family members and would like the Orthodox Church to do so.

I am not technically Orthodox yet, but I believe it is the true church and it has made the most sense to me. I just haven't joined one officially yet.

Don Quixote

Orthodox Inquirer
The reason I brought this up was that I remember listening to Father Spyridon on the topic. The way I understood him, a prayer for the dead can actually have an impact on the salvation of the soul of one recently departed. I don't understand it to be honest, but I feel I have to say these prayers––or if possible, I hope to ask an Orthodox priest if he can do so despite not being a member of the church yet––for deceased family members. There is some kind of state of the soul when it departs the body. The idea of toll-houses and such comes up here. As does distinction between "particular" judgment and "final" judgment. I think that's when the prayers from the living come into play. But I would defer to someone with more knowledge on the topic.

Sol Invictus

Orthodox Catechumen
Interesting fact: Mormons can retroactively baptize the dead. Many living Mormons go through their family tree to see who has not been baptized in Mormonism, and then will do it for them.
Yup, my mother converted to Mormonism some years ago, and has undergone her "temple work" for baptizing past relatives. I've kindly asked her not to bother doing it for me should I somehow pass away before her.


Your mom might not do it per your request, but some Mormon somewhere will baptize you (one of them will be baptized in your stead) regardless. Mormons pore over birth and death records to find people to baptize, part of Mormon fidelity is going through the temple (they recommend once a month) and doing this baptism as part of it, so the faithful are always looking for new people to baptize. and other sites like that have connections to Mormons and their geneology mapping.


Prayers for departed relatives (especially if they're non-Orthodox) is completely Orthodox, as we are to be priests to the world after all. There's a whole Canon to St Varus directed specifically for this, as it's said in his life that he prayed for St Cleopatra's relatives of which she buried him with. I like St Varus, but he's often overlooked as he's commemorated the same day as St John of Kronstadt.

Remembrance is intrinsic to life, it helps ground us, where we came from, what our past is, what we have turned from, our relatives that have affected us is all part of it. Whether they've provided us with examples of what to do, or what not to do, if we've learned from them in any way, they're a positive example for us. We pray for them, for that what may had initially come forth as an evil, was turned into a good example for us, the most extreme example of this being Christ, as he takes all the evil intended for him by the Jews, and flips it.

If you ever attend an Orthodox service for the reposed, pay close attention, it's all in there.