Praying for your loved ones via commemoration lists

A commemoration list is a parishioner’s request to the clergy to mention certain names during the service. In fact, it’s the collective prayer of the entire church for a person. Believers know about the power of such prayers since ancient times, that’s why commemorations turned into Orthodox tradition. There’s a possibility to write such a list in every church.

The Bible teaches us to pray not only for ourselves but for others as well: pray for one another, that you may be healed (James 5:16). Yes, we can say our prayers at home but what can be more uplifting than worshiping God in His house among fellow believers?

Sadly, our busy lives prevent us from going to church regularly. Illnesses, difficult situations, and other obstacles stand in our way to the house of God. Being separated from communication with Our Lord, brothers in faith, and a church, a believer can stay closer to the Almighty through the prayers of others.

Mentioning a believer’s name in a commemoration list is a good and God-pleasing deed. It doesn’t even require much. The Andcross Pilgrim Ecclesiastic and Educational Center gives everyone a chance to write a commemoration list online.

Online Commemoration vs writing the list in a church

There’s no difference between creating the list online and going to the church to write it by hand. As long as you have pure intentions and do this with the love for your family and friends, God will hear your plea for help. The form (paper or website) is of secondary importance. During the service, the priest will pronounce all names – submitted both online and in the church.

You can choose a church or monastery to where you want to send your commemoration lists on our website. Please, note that you will be redirected to the web portal of the chosen organization. We provide only the links to churches and monasteries and do not perform church services ourselves.

All donations for commemoration lists go to the organization. It doesn’t differ much from going to the church and paying there. And for modern Christians, it may be an easier option. After all, there are situations when you need to make a list but cannot do it even in the nearest church.

What types of commemoration lists exist?

For Commemoration of the Living. Here, we mention everyone to whom we wish health, salvation, goodness, and prosperity. Traditionally, these lists are called “For health” but their meaning is broader. It’s not only a physical condition of a person but also his spiritual well-being.

For Commemoration of the Departed. According to Christian traditions, the living asks for God’s mercy on behalf of the departed. Such prayers give hope for the salvation of the souls of the deceased.

Commemorations at the Memorial Service. The souls of the departed need the support of the living because they can no longer pray. During this short memorial service, we commemorate them and ask God for the forgiveness of their sins. These memorial prayers are to be said on the 3rd, 9th, and 40th days after the death of a loved one.

A Sorokoust (Forty Divine Liturgies). This is a practice for commemorating the living or the dead for 40 days in a row. Traditionally, such services are performed in monasteries.

Rules of writing lists for church services

It may seem that making a list for the church service is easy – you just need to add the names. However, to help the clergy, one should bear in mind several things:

  1. First names only. Don’t write titles, surnames, positions, and relationship statuses.
  2. Use the full name of a person (Johnathan – not Johnny, Robert – not Bob, etc).
  3. Don’t add additional characteristics, like “lost soul”, “suffering”, or “needy”. It’s God who knows our true spiritual states and judges us, not mortals.
  4. The words “prisoner”, “soldier”, “traveler”, and others are allowed.

When typing the names, think of these people and wish them good. That is already a kind of prayer that the Almighty can hear. One of the advantages of online commemoration lists is that you don’t need to worry about your handwriting. However, we recommend checking the spelling of the names before submitting the request.

FAQ: everything you need to know about commemoration lists

If you have any doubts about how to write a list or who to include there, check our FAQ section. We give answers to the most frequent questions about commemoration.

Can I list non-Orthodox or non-baptized people?

Although the Almighty loves every living creature in the world, communication with Him is a two-way process. Since non-Orthodox and non-baptized people are not members of the church, the clergy doesn’t pray for them by name during the service. You can pray for these people at home.

Can I add my own name to the list?

No rules are saying this is forbidden. Writing your name is not a selfish act as well. So you can safely include your own name when creating a commemoration list online.

Do I need to attend the service if I send the list online?

If you have a possibility to attend a church service, don’t miss it. Your words and thoughts will multiply the power of collective prayer and result in a better outcome. However, writing a commemoration list with prayer is also good.

Why create two lists: for the living and the departed?

During Proskomedia (the Liturgy of Preparation), the priest prepares bread and wine for the Holy Communion. He takes the particles from the big prosphoron in several steps and places them on the diskos (the special plate) with prayer. The living and the departed are commemorated in different stages and different prayers are pronounced. So, in order not to confuse them, there’s a habit of creating two lists.

How do I choose the church for sending my list?

There are no rules. Follow your heart and intuition. God equally hears our prayers pronounced in big cathedrals and wooden churches in tiny villages. However, if you want to do a good thing, pay attention to small struggling churches. They need financial support more because local parishioners cannot donate much.

Where do the profits go?

Typically, a church or a monastery asks for a small donation in exchange for reading commemoration lists during the service. This is not a payment like you pay for a regular service (like repairing a car). As Jesus Christ said to his disciples: freely you have received, freely give (Matthew, 10:8). These donations should come from your heart and they will be used for maintaining the life of a church or a monastery.

Please, note that the Andcross Center and the website administration DO NOT collect money. All profits go directly to the chosen church since you pay on their website.

Pilgrim Ecclesiastic Educational Centre Andcross

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