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Prayers for Non-Christian Dead - DanielM - 16-12-2011

Hi everyone.

I was wondering what the Church's view is on Praying for non-Christian (And non-Orthodox) dead.

From what I have read so far, non-Christian deceased should not be mentioned in Liturgical prayers for the departed and of course do not recieved the Sacrament of a funeral service. Is this also the general teaching as to Non-Orthodox.

Some priests on Orthodox forums have said that they ask that the names brought forth in the Liturgy are only Orthodox (though sometimes they are not) so it can be a "don't ask, don't tell" situation when it comes to non-Christian or non-Orthodox departed.

I am presuming that prayer for non-Christian departed is simply for the realm of personal prayer but am not sure if this is only through custom or actual Church teaching.

Does anyone know of the actual Church teaching on this? with the origins/Church father referencing of this if that is OK.

From Daniel

- Antony-Paul - 16-12-2011


I haven't found the answer in terms of the dead, but we certainly pray for the living non-Orthodox. A classic example is the prayer for the Sovereign during the Divine Liturgy, which in view of its place therein must surely be approved by the Church even thought she be not Orthodox.

My personal thoughts about the dead centre around the rightness to pray for them at all. Since we are in no position to judge what is in their minds and must leave it to God, it seems to me that we are justified in asking God to extend His love and mercy to all the departed irrespective of their religious allegiance. If this is left to personal prayer, and not included in the Liturgy, it would appear that the Church at least grants tacit acceptance of any prayers we may offer for such dead persons.

- Dougherty - 17-12-2011

interesting if possible i would like to piggy back of this for the right of Unction. I mean this as in liturgical prayer for healing. I know unction in the west is also used before death but im talking specifically for healing of whatever.

- DanielM - 17-12-2011

I have a feeling that Unction has been mentioned by someone to me before and non-Orthodox can recieve a blessing but not the Sacrament.

If someone with a better understanding can answer this it would be great though.

- Dougherty - 18-12-2011

sacrament meaning Eucharist? or meaning something else i thought unction was a sacrament...

- DanielM - 18-12-2011

I mean the Sacrament of Holy Unction.

I am pretty sure that non-Orthodox cannot recieve it, I know they can recieve a blessing if they are ill but not the Sacrament og Holy Unction since they are not taking part in the Sacramental life of the Church.

- Dougherty - 18-12-2011

so I'm curious then as to how the apostles healed the many they did that weren't disciples... It has been something that I have wondered since I heard of the unction. I understand that sacraments are not for the unorthodox, but I am surprised that there is not something in place with as much emphasis on healing in scripture.

- DanielM - 18-12-2011

I think that we will have to wait for one of the Fathers to answer this for you.

I am sure that there is a precident in the Early Church for this so hopefully they could enlighten us on this.

prayers for non-christian dead - kirk yacoub - 19-12-2011

I know that, in the Syriac Orthodox Church, we do pray for the non-Christian dead. I pray for the repose of my soul of my departed father, who was a non-believer, and the Church has told me that this is correct, and that my prayers are joined with the prayers offered up for our faithful departed.

It makes sense, really, since we're told to prayer for our enemies, let alone our departed, loving family!

Kirk Yacoub