Memory Eternal

The beginning to the life of Blessed Andrei of Simbursk contains these words: “Time does not spare human remembrance.”[1] For most of us, few will remark our passing. After those who love us die, no one will remember who we were, how we lived our lives, or even our names. Human remembrance is fleeting.

The psalmist writes: “For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life. But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand.” (Ps 31:13-15a) The knowledge that our times are in the hand of God informs our understanding of life after death. The psalmist did not say time, as in a unit of time that comes to an end; he said times, which has an eschatological dimension.

Near the end of the funeral liturgy, the priest prays:

“May Christ our true God, Who rose from the dead, through the intercessions of His most pure Mother, of our holy and God-bearing fathers, and of all the saints, commit the soul of His servant [name], that hath departed from us, to the tabernacles of the righteous, give him (her) rest in the bosom of Abraham, and number him (her) with the righteous, and have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and the Lover of mankind.”

The deacon then prays:

“In a blessed falling asleep, grant, O Lord, eternal rest unto Thy departed servant [name], and make his (her) memory to be eternal.”

The response of the Church is to sing three times: “Memory Eternal.” This is the blessed hope of every believer, to be remembered by God and to live with Him and the saints in His kingdom, which had no end. This is why we Orthodox exclaim “Memory Eternal” when informed of someone’s death. We know this life is fleeting, and human remembrance is fleeting, but that our times are in His hands.

We should note that while our lives are hid with Christ our God, we acknowledge the horror that is death. Humans were not made for a disincarnate existence. Therefore we mourn their death and our loss, even as we await the glorious resurrection of the body. This is why we Orthodox honor our dead, going so far as to give them a last kiss, for we know that their mortal bodies will be resurrected, they will put on incorruption, and that in their flesh they will see God.


Archpriest Elexei Skala. (2018). Blessed Andrei of Simbirsk, Fool-for-Christ and Wonderworker. The Orthodox Word, 54(4), 157-185.

[1] (Archpriest Elexei Skala, 2018, p. 158)

Prayers of St Silouan the Athonite

Saint Silouan the Athonite (circa 1930)
Saint Silouan the Athonite (c. 1930)

These prayers are excerpts from one of St Silouan’s writings, known as “Yearning for God.”[1]

Prayer of St Silouan the Athonite for Humility

O Lord, grant me Your spirit of humility
That I lose not Your grace again,
And weep for it as Adam wept for paradise and for God.

O Lord, grant me to love You alone. You created me,
You enlightened me through holy baptism,
You forgive my sins and allow me to partake of Your most pure body and Blood.
Enable me at all times to dwell in You.
O Lord, grant unto us the repentance of Adam, and Your holy humility.

O merciful Lord, Enlighten Your people that they may know You;
That they may know how You love us.

Prayer of St Silouan the Athonite for the Holy Spirit

O merciful Lord, bestow Your grace on all the peoples of the earth, that they may know You;
For without Your Holy Spirit man cannot know You and conceive of Your love.

O Lord, send down on us Your Holy Spirit,
For knowledge of You and all that relates unto You comes solely through the Holy Spirit,
Whom in the beginning You gave unto Adam,
And after him to the holy prophets,
And then to Christian people.

O Lord, let all Your peoples discern Your love,
And the sweetness of the Holy Spirit,
That men may forget the sorrows of this world,
And forsake all that is evil,
And cling unto You in love, and live in peace,
Doing Your will to Your glory.

O Lord, vouchsafe unto us the gift of the Holy Spirit,
That we may perceive Your glory,
And live on earth in peace and love.
And let there be neither malice, nor wars or enemies,
But may love alone reign,
And there will be no need of armies, or prisons,
And life will be easy for everyone on earth.

I pray You, O merciful Lord,
For all the peoples of the earth,
That they may come to know You
By the Holy Spirit.

Prayer of St Silouan the Athonite for our enemies.

O merciful Lord, by Your Holy Spirit teach us
To love our enemies, and pray for them with tears.

O Lord, send down Your Holy Spirit on earth
That all nations may know You, and learn Your love.

O Lord, as You Yourself prayed for Your enemies,
So teach us, too, by Your Holy Spirit, to love our enemies.

O Lord, all peoples are the work of Your hands.
Turn them from enmity and malice to repentance,
That all may know Your love.

Or Lord, You commanded us to love our enemies,
But it is hard for us sinners, if Your grace be not with us.

O Lord, pour down Your grace upon the earth.
Let all the nations of the earth come to know Your love;
To know that You love us with a mother’s love,
And more than a mother’s love,
For even a mother may be forgetful of her children,
But You never forget,
Because Your love for Your creation is boundless,
And love cannot forget.

O merciful Lord, by the riches of Your mercy, save all peoples.

Thanksgiving Prayer of St Silouan the Athonite

What shall I render unto You, O Lord?

You, O merciful One, raised my soul from sin,
And gave me to know Your mercy towards me,
And my heart fell captive to You,
And reaches unceasingly toward You, my Light.

What shall I render unto You, O Lord?

You raised my soul to love You and to love my neighbor,
And You gave me tears to pray for the whole world.

Prayer of St Silouan the Athonite for Cleansing and Mercy

Come and take up Your abode, and cleanse me of my sins.
From the heights of Your glory You see how my soul yearns after You.
Forsake not Your servant.
Hear me as I cry unto You like the Prophet David:
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness.”


Archimandrite Sophrony. (1991). St Silouan the Athonite. (R. Edmonds, Trans.) Crestwood: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press.

  1. (Archimandrite Sophrony, 1991, p. 269ff)


Poverty, Individual Charity, and Societal Action

Vladimir Solovyev
Vladimir Solovyev

Men have imagined that the acknowledgement of the divinity of Christ relieves them of the obligation of taking His words seriously. They have twisted certain texts of the Gospel so as to get out of them the meaning they want, while they have conspired to pass over in silence other texts which do not lend themselves to such treatment. The precept “render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” is constantly quoted to sanction an order of things which gives Cæsar all and God nothing. The saying “My Kingdom is not of this world” is always being used to justify and confirm the paganism of our social and political life, as though Christian society were destined to belong to this world and not to the Kingdom of Christ. On the other hand, the saying “All power is given Me in Heaven and Earth” is never quoted. Men are ready to accept Christ as sacrificing Priest and atoning Victim; but they do not want Christ the King. His royal dignity has been ousted by every kind of pagan despotism, and Christian peoples have taken up the cry of the Jewish rabble: “We have no king but Cæsar!” Thus history has witnessed, and we are still witnessing, the curious phenomenon of a society which professes Christianity as its religion but remains pagan not merely in its life but in the very basis of that life.

Economic slavery, even more than slavery properly so called, has found its champions in the Christian world. Society and the State, they maintain, are in no way bound to take general and regular measures against pauperism; voluntary almsgiving is enough; did not Christ say that there would always be the poor on Earth? Yes, there will always be the poor; there will always be the sick, but does that prove the uselessness of health services? Poverty in itself is no more an evil than sickness; the evil consists in remaining indifferent to the sufferings of one’s neighbor.

This desire to limit the social action of Christianity to individual charity, this attempt to deprive the Christian moral code of its binding character and its positive legal sanction is a modern version of that ancient Gnostic antithesis (the system of Marcion, in particular) so often anathematized by the Church. That all human relationships should be governed by charity and brotherly love is undoubtedly the express will of God and the end of His creation; but in historic reality, as in the Lord’s Prayer, the fulfilment of the divine will on Earth is only realized after the hallowing of God’s Name and the coming of His Kingdom. The Name of God is Truth; His Kingdom is Justice. If follows that the knowledge of the truth and the practice of justice are necessary conditions for the triumph of evangelical charity in human society. (Solovyev, 1948, pp. 8-9)

Vladimir Solovyev


Solovyev, V. (1948). Russia and the Universal Church. (H. Rees, Trans.) London: The Centenary Press.