Thursday, April 9, 2009

St John on the Commemoration of the Non-Orthodox

Here is my translation of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco’s Ukaz [Decree] No. 39, from September 23, 1951:
Clergy are reminded that only persons belonging to the Orthodox Church are to be commemorated at the Divine Liturgy, inasmuch as such commemoration is of those persons who are participants in Divine services, in which only Orthodox Christians can participate. Similarly, those who have consciously committed suicide may not be commemorated, inasmuch as they have left the Church of their own will.

The same can be said of burials, panikhidas, and other services that are assigned to be performed for Orthodox faithful, which is obvious from the very expressions used in them. As an exception for those persons who during their life were well disposed to the Orthodox faith and took part in its life to the best of their ability, a prayer for the reposed may be performed, made up of the chanting of the seventeenth kathisma (Psalm 118) with the addition of a short litany for the reposed, and [the chanting of] “Eternal memory.”

In their private prayers Orthodox Christians may pray to God for all, hoping in God’s mercy.
Photograph: St John serving a panikhida on the very spot (in the middle of a busy street in Marseilles) on which King Alexander I of Yugoslavia was assassinated in 1934.

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