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Panikhida and praying for (not to) a saint

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#1 Theophorus


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Posted 26 August 2011 - 12:56 PM

Hello everyone,

I am wondering about the practice of serving a Panikhida for a Saint and thereby also praying FOR a Saint.

1. Is it appropriate to serve a Panikhida for a Saint?

2. Is it common to pray for a Saint, especially your own Saint?

Origin of the Question:
I ask because of a confusion I had surrounding the Panikhida commonly served after the Service for the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. I mistakenly thought the Panikhida was for St. John; apparently it is for Orthodox Christian soldiers who have died.

1a. Nevertheless, since St. John the Forerunner is a warrior for Christ par excellence, the question is still whether the Panikhida would include him or not.

love in Christ,

#2 Thomas Brunson

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 01:17 PM

I think it would be better if you would ask your parish priest about this as your question is very involved, you seem somewhat confused about what happened or what should be done and you woud probably get all your questions answered by him.
With Love in Christ, +Thomas

#3 Kusanagi


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Posted 26 August 2011 - 03:54 PM

I had the same problem after reading about the life of St John Maximovitch. I wrote to the cathedral with a donation for a panikhida and the father kindly replied back to me with some oil to say panikhidas are not served for him as he was canonised or something to that affect.

A service to the saint would be a canon or a moleben if I am correct. This is asking them for help not asking them to be saved.
I noticed that when someone is canonised the panikhidas are not served for them anymore. Only a last one is served for them before canonisation service is made which I have noticed in the Russian church but I have not read an extensive canonisation process for other Orthodox churches.

#4 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 07:09 PM

If one is asking for the intercessions of someone who is canonized- ie a saint of the Church- then a Moleben to that saint is served.

A panichida is served for all others among the faithful who have reposed.

In other words a panichida is a service wherein we pray for someone who has reposed- whereas a moleben is a service wherein we ask the intercessions of Christ, of the Holy Spirit, of the Theotokos, or of the saints.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#5 Theophorus


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Posted 26 August 2011 - 09:51 PM

Thank you Kusanagi and Fr. Raphael for your replies,

I simply wanted to know whether it is common to pray FOR a Saint, not to a saint for their intercessions. Apparently it is not.

love in Christ,

#6 Niko T.

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Posted 27 August 2011 - 01:12 AM

It's my understanding that we no longer chant a memorial service for a canonized saint because the Church has publically acknowledged that they are in Paradise, thus they do not need our prayers to God for their repose.

However, in the Greek tradition and on the Holy Mountain, they do make kolyva to honor a saint after Divine Liturgy on the feast. A special prayer is read to honor the saint, the kolyva is blessed, and then distributed to the monks and the faithful.

The kolyva wheat is of course in honor of Christ's words regarding His death and resurrection: "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." (John 12:24) And through Christ's sacrifice and resurrection, His servants also partake in the Resurrection after death.

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