Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Akathist for the Repose of the Departed

Kontakion 1

O Thou Who by Thine inscrutable providence didst prepare the world for eternal beatitude, Who appointest to all the time and manner of their end: Forgive, O Lord, the sins of those who have died in past ages, and receive them into habitations of light and rejoicing, and open Thy fatherly embrace to them in mercy, and hearken unto us who celebrate their memory and sing:

O Lord of unutterable love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep!

Ekos 1

O Thou Who savest fallen Adam and the whole human race from eternal perdition, O Good One, Thou didst send Thy Son into the world, by Whose Cross and Resurrection life eternal hath dawned upon us. Trusting in Thien infinite compassion, we look for the incorruptible kingdom of Thy glory, we implore Thee to grant it to our departed ones, and we pray Thee: O Lord, gladden souls wearied by the storms of life, that they may forget earthly sorrows and sighings; do Thou harken unto them in Thy bosom, as a mother heareth her children, and say to them: Your sins are forgiven you. O Lord, receive them into Thy blessed, calm haven, open to them the palaces of angels and saints, that they may rejoice in Thy divine glory.

O Lord of unutterable love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep!

Kontakion 2

Enlightened by the illumination of the All-highest, Saint Macarius heard a voice from a pagan skull: When you pray for those suffering in hades, then there is comfort for the heathen. O wondrous power of Christian prayer, by which even the nether regions are illumined! Both believers and unbelievers receive consolation when we cry for the whole world: Alleluia!

Ekos 2

The words of Isaac the Syrian are recalled: The heart of the merciful offereth prayers with tears every hour for people and animals and all creation, that they may be preserved and purified. Wherefore, we also boldly ask of the Lord hep for all the dead from the ages, crying: O Lord, send down to us the gift of flaming prayer for the dead; O Lord, remember all who have charged us, the unworthy, to pray for them, and disregard the sins they have forgotten; O Lord, have mercy on all who have been buried without prayer; O Lord, receive into Thy tabernacles all who in sorrow or joy have suddenly finished their course.

O Lord of unutterable love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep!

Kontakion 3

We are to blame for the calamities in the world, for the sufferings of dumb creatures and for the diseases and torments of blameless children, for through the fall of man the beatitude and beauty of all creation have been marred. O Christ our God, greatest of innocent sufferers, Thou alone hast power to forgive all. Forgive, then, all and everything, return to the world its former prosperity, that both the living and the dead may find peace, crying: Alleluia!

Ekos 3

O Gentle Light, Redeemer of the world, Thou Who dost embrace the whole world with Thy love: behold, Thy cry from the Cross for Thine enemies is heard: Father, forgive them! And in the name of Thine all-forgiveness we dare to pray to our heavenly Father for the eternal repose of Thine enemies and ours: O Lord, forgive those who have shed innocent blood, those who have sown our path of life with sorrows, those who have built their success on the tears of their near and dear ones: O Lord, condemn not those who persecute us with slander and malice, repay with mercy those whom we have wronged or offended through ignorance, and let our prayer for them be holy through the sacrament of reconciliation.

O Lord of unutterable love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep!

Kontakion 4

Save, O Lord, those who have died in severe sufferings, those who were murdered, those buried alive, those who were drowned or burned, those who were torn by wild beasts, those who died of famine, cold or storms, or by falling from heights, and grant them Thine eternal joy for the sorrow of their end, that they may bless the time of their suffering as a day of redemption, singing: Alleluia!

Ekos 4

All who have been taken by the grave in the brightness of youth, who have been pierced on earth with the thorny crown of suffering, all who never saw earthly happiness, do Thou recompense, O Lord, through the compassion of Thine infinite love; O Lord, reward those who died under the heavey burden of labor; O Lord, receive into the mansions of Paradise youths and maidens who have departed, and vouchsafe them rejoicing at the supper of Thy Son; O Lord, soften the grief of parents over the loss of children; O Lord, give rest to all who have no family, those who are alone, who have no one to pray from them, that their sins may vanish in the rays of Thine all-forgiveness.

O Lord of unutterable love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep!

Kontakion 5

As a last means to bring us to understanding and repentance, Thou, O Lord, hast given us death. In its threatening light earthly vanity is exposed, carnal passions and sufferings become subdued, unruly reason is humbled, eternal righteousness is revealed; wherefore, inveterate sinners and atheists on their deathbed confess Thine eternal being and cry to Thy loving-kindness: Alleluia!

Ekos 5

O Father of all consolation, Thou brightenest with the sun, delightest with fruits, and gladdenest with the beauty of the world both Thy friends and enemies. We believe that even beyond the grave Thy loving-kindness, which is merciful even to all rejected sinners, doth not fail. We grieve for hardened and lawless blasphemers of holiness; O Lord, may Thy saving and gracious will be over them. Have compassion upon those wounded by pernicious unbelief, and who have not known Thee here on earth, that they may know and love Thee in heaven; O Lord, forgive those who have died without repentance, save those who have committed suicide in darkness of mind, that the flame of their impiety may be extinguished in the sea of Thy Grace.

O Lord of unutterable love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep!

Kontakion 6

Terrible is the darkness of a soul separated from God, the torments of conscience, the gnashing of teeth, the unquenchable fire and the undying worm. I tremble at such a fate and, as for myself, I pray: O ye that suffer in hades (purgatory), may our song descend upon you as a refreshing dew: Alleluia!

Ekos 6

Thy light, O Christ our God, hath shone upon those that sit in darkness and the shadow of death, and those in hades, who are not mindful of Thee; having descended into the nethermost parts of the earth, do Thou bring out into joy those who have been separated from Thee by sin, but who have not renounced Thee; O Lord, Thy children suffer, forgive them; for they have sinned against Heaven and before Thee, immeasurably serious are their sins, but also infinite is Thy mercy. Visit the bitter destitution of souls far removed from Thee; O Lord, have mercy on those who hated the truth out of ignorance, let Thy love be to them not a burning fire, but the cool delight of Paradise.

O Lord of unutterable love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep!

Kontakion 7

Desiring to give a helping hand to the repose, O Lord, do Thou open Thyself to the living, appearing to them in mysterious visions, and inspiring them to prayer, that they who remember the departed may do good works and labors of faith for them, crying aloud: Alleluia!

Ekos 7

The universal Church of Christ offereth prayers every day for the reposed; every hour the sins of the world are washed away by the Most-pure Blood of the Divine Lamb; from death to life, and from earth to Heaven the souls of the departed ascend through the power of prayers for them before God's altars. O Lord, may the intercession of the Church for these dead be a ladder to Heaven; O Lord, have mercy on them through the prayers of the Most Holy Mother of God and all the saints. Pardon them for the sake of the faithful who cry unto Thee day and night; O Lord, for the sake of innocent children have mercy on their parents, and by the mothers' tears redeem the sins of their children. O Lord, for the sake of the prayers of innocent sufferers, by the blood of martyrs, spare and have mercy on sinners. O Lord, receive our prayers and alms as a memorial of their virtues.

O Lord of unutterable love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep!

Kontakion 8

The whole world is a common sacred cemetery, in every place is the dust of our fathers and brethren. O Christ our God Who alone lovest us unchangeably, forgive all that have died from the beginning until now, that they may sing with boundless love: Alleluia!

Ekos 8

Behold the day cometh as a fiery furnace, the great and terrible day of the Last Judgement, when the secrets of men will be laid bare, the books of conscience will be opened. Be ye reconciled to God! crieth the Apostle Paul: Be ye reconciled before that terrible day. Help us, O Lord, to fill up with the tears of the living that which was lacking in the dead. O Lord, let the sound of the angel's trumpet be to them the good tidings of salvation, and vouchsafe unto them joyful forgiveness at the hour of Thy judgement. O Lord, crown with glory those who suffered for Thee and cover the sins of the weak with Thy goodness. O Lord, Who knowest all by name, remember those who have been saved in the monastic order; remember blessed pastors with their spiritual children.

O Lord of unutterable love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep!

Kontakion 9

Bless swiftly passing time: every hour, every moment bringeth eternity nearer to us. A new sorrow, a new gray hair are heralds of the world to come, they are witnesses of earthly corruption, they proclaim that all passeth away, that the eternal kingdom draweth nigh, where there are neither tears, nor sighing, but the joyful song: Alleluia!

Ekos 9

As a tree loseth its leaves little by little, so also our days with each year, decline into weakness. The festival of youth fadeth. The lamp of rejoicing is extinguished, the isolation of old age approacheth, friends and family die. Where are the young merrymakers, joyful and happy? Silent are their tombs, but their souls are in Thy hand; their glances are felt from the world beyond the grave. O Lord, Thou art the Brightest Sun: do Thou illumine and warm the abodes of those who have fallen asleep. O Lord, let the time of our bitter farewell pass for ever, vouchsafe us a joyful reunion in Heaven. O Lord, cause that all may be one with Thee. O Lord, restore to the departed the purity of childhood and the genial spirit of youth, and let eternal life be to them a Paschal Festival.

O Lord of unutterable love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep!

Kontakion 10

Shedding silent tears at the graves of our kindred, we pray with hope, and with expectation we cry aloud: Tell us, O Lord, that Thou hast forgiven their sins! Give our spirit a secret revelation concering this, that we may sing: Alleluia!

Ekos 10

Looking back, our eyes behold afar the whole path of life: from the first day until now, already have died a multitude of people who did good things for me. Rendering unto them a debt of love, I cry: O Lord, vouchsafe heavenly glory to my parents and those nearest and dearest to me, who watched over my childhood cradle, who nurtured and brought me up; O Lord, glorify in the presence of the holy angels those who proclaimed the word of salvation to me, who taught me right and truth by the holy example of their lives; O Lord, delight with hidden manna those who ministered to me in difficult days. Reward and save all my helpers and benefactors.

O Lord of unutterable love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep!

Kontakion 11

O death, where is thy sting, where is thy former darkness and terror? Henceforth thou art welcome, for thou dost unite us inseparably with God. Great peace, thou art the mystical sabbath. The Apostle crieth: I have a desire to die and to be with Christ. Wherefore, gazing upon death as on a gateway to life eternal, we cry: Alleluia!

Ekos 11

The dead shall rise and those in the graves shall stand up, and those who are alive on earth shall be joyful, for they shall arise with spiritual bodies, radiantly glorified, incorrupt. Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord: I will bring upon you a spirit of life, I will cover you with skin; rise out of the ancient past, ye who are redeemed by the Blood of the Son of God, restored to life by His death. Over you is the light of the Resurrection. O Lord, open now to them the depths of Thy perfections. Thou hast shone upon them the light of the sun and moon, that they may see also the glory of the radiant choirs of angels. Thou hast delighted them with the majesty of the rising and setting of the light of Heaven; may they also see the unwaning light of Thy Divinity.

O Lord of unutterable love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep!

Kontakion 12

Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God; however long we live in the flesh we are separated from Christ, but if we die we live for eternity. Our corruptible body must put on incorruption, so that in the light of the unwaning day we may sing: Alleluia!

Ekos 12

We await the meeting with the Lord, we await the bright dawn of the Resurrection, we expect the raising of our near and dear ones from the tombs and the restoration of the dead to the most reverent beauty of life. We triumph in the coming transfiguration of all creation and cry to our Creator: O Lord, Who didst create the world for the triumph of joy and goodness, Who hast raised us up to holiness out of the depths of sin, grant the dead to reign in the midst of the new creation, that they may shine in Heaven on the day of their glory. O Lord, let the Divine Lamb be to them the unwaning light. O Lord, grant us also to celebrate with them a Pasch incorruptible; unite the dead and the living in unending joy.

O Lord of unutterable love, remember Thy servants who have fallen asleep!

Kontakion 13

O most-compassionate and unoriginate Father, Who desirest that all be saved, Who didst send down Thy Son to the perishing and didst pour out Thy life-creating Spirit! Have mercy, forgive, and save our kindred and near and dear ones, (names), who have fallen asleep, and all from the ages who have finished their course, and through their intercession visit us, that together with them we may shout to Thee, O Saviour God, the triumphal hymn: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

(And again Ekos 1 and Kontakion 1)

Closing Prayer

O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who hast trampled down death, and overthrown the devil, and given life to Thy world! Do Thou Thyself, O Lord, give rest to the souls of Thy departed servants: most holy pontiffs and patriarchs, most reverend metropolitans, archbishops and bishops, priests, and those who have served Thee in the Church and in the monastic order; the founders of this holy temple, our spiritual forefathers, fathers, brethren and sisters, here and everywhere laid to rest; officers and soldiers who have laid down their lives for faith and fatherland, the faithful slain in civil wars, those who were drowned, burned, frozen to death, torn by wild beasts, those who finished the course of their lives without repentance and had no opportunity to be reconciled with the Church and with their enemies; those who took their own lives in madness of mind; for all who enjoined and asked us to pray for them; those who were not vouchsafed Christian burial; and for the servants of God (names), in a place of light, in a place of repose, whence all sickness, sorrow, and sighing are fled away. Pardon every sin committed by them in word, deed, or thought, in that Thou art a good God, the Lover of mankind; for there is no man that liveth and sinneth not; Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Thy word is truth.

For Thou art the resurrection and the life, and the repose of Thy departed servants, (names), O Christ our God, and unto Thee do we send up glory, together with Thine unoriginate Father, and Thy most holy and good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

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