Memorial Services

Years ago, a young priest told me this amazing story: “My mother did not want her son to become a priest; and three years after I was ordained, she died. I did not pay particular attention at her death as a priest; I only did what was necessary and nothing else.
One evening, at dusk, I was walking by the cemetery and I thought: ‘Why don’t I stop and light her oil lamp?’ I lit her oil lamp and sat down on a rock. I didn’t have my stole with me, so I didn’t read a trisagion for her.
In a little while, I felt faint, and I looked up. It seemed like the graves were open, and the bodies of the dead were getting up and screaming! ‘HELP! HELP! Priests of the most high God, help us! Orthodox Christians, help us! Do liturgies, prayers, memorial services, trisagia…HELP us, Christian people!!!’
In a little while, in a fright, I saw my mother: ‘HELP, my son’, she told me. ‘Now that you’re a priest, help all of us!’
She fell on me, screaming hopelessly, asking me to help her soul.
That’s when I got up in terror…it was dark by this time…I ran off and tore my vestments. In fear, I did not sleep the entire night.
The next day, in the morning I told my wife: ‘For three years I’m going to have liturgy every day, even during lent, for my mother and for all who have fallen asleep, everyone whose name is written at that cemetery, and for all the names of the dead that will be given to me from this time forth.
I had 1100 straight liturgies without missing a single day! Also, I had 1100 memorial services with kolyva, trisagia, every day!
Many times, at night I would see the souls of the people telling me, ‘thank you’, some because they got water to drink, others because they ate, and yet some other souls that were cold but got warm! They’d say to me, ‘Thank you, now I’m warm, father, I was cold, thank you!’ Other souls thanked me because they got to see a little light and other souls had a loaf of bread in their hands…”

From the book Experiences During the Divine Liturgy by Archpriest Stephanos K. Anagnostopoulos

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