Russian Synod Blesses Rite of Prayer For Families Of Suicides
The official website of the Russian Orthodox Church is reporting today that the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, meeting in the Lavra of the Kievan Caves, approved a "rite of prayerful consolation for relatives of those who willfully ended their lives."
According to the report:
"The Holy Synod decided:
1. Bearing in mind rule #14 of Patriarch Timothy of Alexandria, to remind archpastors and pastors, that for persons who commit suicide in a state of mental disorder, a funeral service can be held 'in absentia', if the disorder can be confirmed by appropriate medical evidence.
2. To approve "the rite prayer of consolation for relatives of those who wilfully end their lives" and distribute it to dioceses for use in the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church, stating that this rite can be repeated as many times as panikhidas are served - whenever relatives of those who commit suicide will turn to the priest for comfort in the sorrow that has has befallen them.
3. Decided that if relatives of those who end their lives by suicide, turn to a priest requesting commemoration, a priest may commemorate them in his private prayers, according St. Leo of Optina.
(Editor's note: St. Leo's prayer is very direct. It reads:
" Have mercy, O Lord, if it is possible, on the soul of Thy servant (name) departed to eternal life apart from Thy Holy Orthodox Church. Unsearchable are Thy judgments! Account not this my prayer as sin, but may Thy Holy Will be done.")
4. To publish in official Russian Orthodox Church media "the rite of prayer of consolation for relatives of those who willfully end their lives", along with the foreword of the Synodal Liturgical Commission.
The link to the rite of prayerful consolation for the relatives of those who willfully end their lives may be read in Russian (emphasis not in original)."
An outline of the service is appended to the article. It begins with "Blessed is Our God", followed by the Trisagion, "Our Father", Alleluia verses, Troparia, Psalm 50, Antiphons in Tone 3, "We have no other hope.." a short prayer by the priest that begins" O Lord Our God, Who art Merciful and Lovest Mankind..." "More Honorable...," Priest's blessing, and concludes with the "short" dismissal.
The full text of the short rite may be found here in Russian: http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/1586949.html .
- Mark Stokoe