40 Days Liturgy and the Athonite Hermit

In the Orthodox tradition it is considered a great blessing to have the names of our loved ones prayed for during the holiest moments in the Divine Liturgy. It is also an Orthodox practice to give the names of our loved ones to be prayed for in 40 consecutive Divine Liturgies. At our monastery we celebrate the 40 days Liturgy twice a year, during the Christmas fast and from Easter to Pentecost. I would like to share with you a special story that highlights the importance of praying for the souls of the departed in the Divine Liturgy.

Most moving is the story of the Athonite hermit who commemorated many names in his daily Liturgy. One morning while waiting for his elder to give him a blessing to start the service, tired, he leaned on the chanters stand and fell asleep. Suddenly he saw people walking past and greeting him, “thank you father for the daily food” said one person, “thank you father for the daily light”, said another, “thank you father for the daily comfort” said the other. When the hermit awoke, he realised that he was being greeted and thanked by the souls of the departed that he had been commemorating in the Divine Liturgy. From then on with renewed zeal he continued to commemorate the many names he was given by the faithful.

This year in the Monastery’s 40 day Liturgy, we invite you not only to submit the names of your loved ones to be commemorated in the Liturgies, but, to join us in prayer. How? We invite you to pledge to pray the Jesus Prayer, ‘Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me a sinner’ by repeating it for 5, 10, or 20 minutes or more per day for 40 days. This way we can all pray together for the names submitted and all the people of the world.

Should you wish to submit the names of your loved ones for commemoration in the 40 days Liturgy you may do so here:

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