Prayers for Fr. Deacon John
June 10, 2017
Short Overview on the Funeral Rites for Father Deacon John this Past Friday and Saturday
August 7, 2017

Funeral services at Holy Transfiguration Western Rite Orthodox Church for Fr. Deacon John Nelson will be held this Friday, the 4th of August on the new calendar, and the following Saturday, the 5th of August on the new calendar. On Friday, the Subvenite and Vespers of the Dead will be served at 7pm; after this, Fr. John’s body will lie in the church for continual prayers by clergy and monks, as well as for anyone else who wishes to come and pay their respects and pray, the entire night. The Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 10 AM Saturday morning. After the Requiem Mass, the service of the Commendation will be celebrated, after which the body will be carried to the cemetery beside the Holy Transfiguration Western Rite Orthodox Church, and the service of Inhumation of the Body will be celebrated.

As Orthodox Christian we believe it is important to pray for the deliverance of the souls of the Church’s members after their reposed, both that the exactors of this world’s dire ruler will find no part in them (as the Eastern Canon to the Guardian Angel says), and that the souls may be translated from the regions of punishment and darkness to a place of light, repose, and refreshment, as the clergy sing in the Orthodox Western Rite Litany for the Departing Soul:

“V. That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to deliver the soul of Thy servant from the princes of darkness and the regions of punishment:
R. We beseech Thee, hear us. 
V. That Thou wouldst vouschsafe to deliver it from the torments of hell:
R. We beseech Thee, hear us.
V. That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give all his sins over to perpetual oblivion:
R. We beseech Thee, hear us.
V. That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to forgive him all offense of lustful foolhardiness:
R. We beseech Thee, hear us.
V. That Thou wouldst remember not his sins of his youth and ignorance:
R.We beseech Thee, hear us. 
V. That Thou wouldst vouchsafe graciously to pardon what vices soever he hath gathered to him by the deceit of the devil on account of iniquity or weakness:
R. We beseech Thee, hear us.
V. That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to establish him in a place of peace and light:
R. We beseech Thee, hear us.
V. That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant him rejoicing and exultation in Thy Kingdom with Thy Saints and elect:
R. We beseech Thee, hear us.

 

At this time we should remember the grave, serious, and charitable duty of prayer for the dead. For no man is so holy on this earth, who has died, who does not need prayers of deliverance. As the Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem in 1672 states:

We believe that the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each has done; — for when they are separated from their bodies, they depart immediately either to joy, or to sorrow and lamentation; though confessedly neither their enjoyment nor condemnation are complete. For after the common resurrection, when the soul shall be united with the body, with which it had behaved itself well or ill, each shall receive the completion of either enjoyment or of condemnation.

And the souls of those involved in mortal sins, who have not departed in despair but while still living in the body, though without bringing forth any fruits of repentance, have repented — by pouring forth tears, by kneeling while watching in prayers, by afflicting themselves, by relieving the poor, and finally by showing forth by their works their love towards God and their neighbor, and which the Catholic Church has from the beginning rightly called satisfaction — [their souls] depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not.