a priest's musings on the journey

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Litany: An All Souls Litany for Those Martyred by Hate

Today the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church commemorates the Feast of All Souls. The observance began in the 11th century when St. Odilio, abbot of Cluny directed all of the Cluniac monasteries to sing the Office for the dead and to offer special prayers for those who had departed on the day after the Solemnity of All Saints. The custom quickly spread and became a universal observance on 2 November in the Roman Church.

It is customary to go to the cemetery or to Church and offer prayers for one's loved ones who have departed. In our prayers we commend them to the hands of a merciful and loving God and we pray that they grow in grace and receive greater Light. We also pray that if they are undergoing purgation, that they may quickly pass through the refining fires (please do not take that literally) and attain greater holiness as they are drawn ever closer and closer to full unity with God. The Church teaches that many graces are given to the dead for who prayers are offered on this day, and throughout November.

We pray for the dead just as we pray for the living because in Christ we are all united in a bond of love and affection. "Christ is risen from the tomb, trampling down death by death." Death no longer separates us from the ones who have passed into the next life. We are bound together in a community of Life and Love in Jesus Christ, and "nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus..." They are just as close to us as our loved ones who remain living on this side of Glory (perhaps they are even closer to us!) So we pray for them, as they continue to pray for us, because we love one another, and in Christ we are united and held together.

The Orthodox Church also teaches that after death, there remains hope for souls to turn to God if there is "a spark of grace" within it. So, we pray that God will have mercy on all the dead, so that spark of grace may grow and turn God's face from wrath to compassionate mercy on the final Day of Judgement.
I also wonder some souls carry with them wounds and pains from their journey on earth into the spiritual realm. I think of St John's vision of heaven, where he saw the souls of the martyrs under the heavenly altar crying out for justice, "How long, O Lord!?" It has become my custom to pray for continued healing and perfection for the souls of the dead who await the final resurrection and glorification of there beings in final and eternal union with God.

On this All Souls Day, I offer special prayers for the dead who were victims of violence, hate, and oppression; both those whoe were killed by violent hatred, and those whose souls were wounded by a life lived in oppression and fear. There are of course too many to name, and too many who suffer annonymously, known to God alone. May God in the infinite mercy of the Divine Love give face and voice and Name to all who the Named ones below symbolize. May all the departed in the mercy of God be filled with graces and blessings, Light, Love, healing and mercy. Amen.

Prayers for All Souls

Psalm 114
I have loved, because our Lord: will hear the voice of my prayer. Because he hath inclined his ear to me: and in my days I will call upon him. The sorrows of death have compassed me: and the pains of hell have found me. I have found tribulation, and sorrow: and I called on the name of our Lord. O Lord, deliver my soul, merciful Lord, and just: and our God hath mercy. Our Lord keepeth little ones: I was humbled, and he hath delivered me. Turn O my soul into thy rest: because our Lord hath done good to thee. Because he hath delivered my soul from death: my eyes from tears, my feet from sliding. I will please our Lord in the country of the living.

Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them

Psalm 137
I will confess to thee O Lord in my whole heart: because thou hast heard the words of my mouth. In the sight of Angels I will sing to thee: I will adore toward thy holy temple, and will confess to thy name. Upon thy mercy and thy truth: because thou hast magnified thy holy name above all things. In what day soever I shall call on thee, hear me: thou shalt multiply strength in my soul. Let all the Kings of the earth O Lord confess to thee: because they have heard all the words of thy mouth. And let them sing in the ways of our Lord: because great is the glory of our Lord. Because our Lord is high, and he beholdeth low things: and high things he knoweth far off. If I shall walk in the midst of tribulation, thou wilt quicken me: and upon the wrath of mine enemies thou hast extended thy hand, and thy right hand hath saved me. Our Lord will repay for me, O Lord thy mercy is forever: despise not the works of thy hands.

Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them

The works of thy hands dispise not O Lord.
I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me.
Blessed are the dead which die in our Lord

My soul: doth magnify our Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced: in God my saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me: and holy is his name. And his mercy from generation unto generations: to them that fear him. He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath dispersed the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath deposed the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble. The hungry he hath filled with good things: and the rich he hath sent away empty. He hath received Israel his child: being mindful of his mercy. As he spake to our fathers: to Abraham, and his seed forever.

Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.

All, that my Father giveth me, shall come unto me, and he that cometh unto me, I will not cast forth

Psalm 145
My soul praise thou our Lord, I will praise our Lord in my life: I will sing to my God as long as I shall be. Put not confidence in Princes: in the children of men, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit shall go forth, and shall return into his earth: in that day all their cogitations shall perish. Blessed is he whose God of Jacob is his helper his hope in our Lord his God: which made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things that are in them. Which keepeth truth forever, doth judgement for them that suffer wrong, giveth food to the hungry. Our Lord looseth the fettered: our Lord lighteneth the blind. Our Lord lifteth up the bruised: our Lord loveth the just. Our Lord keepeth strangers, the fatherless and widow he will receive: and the ways of sinners he shall destroy. Our Lord shall reign forever, thy God O Sion: in generation and generation

Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.

From the gate of hell.
Deliver their souls O Lord.
Let them rest in peace
O Lord hear my prayer.
And let my cry come unto thee.


O God the giver of pardon, and the lover of human salvation, we beseech thy clemency: Incline thine ear to our prayer with which we plead you to save the souls of your beloved children whom you have called to pass out of this world into eternal peace and light, in the fellowship of Christ and the saints. We especially pray for your mercy upon the souls of our loved ones (named here), that they may be granted remission of all their sins and offenses. Blessed Mary ever virgin, we implore your intercessions, with all the saints, for the souls of the departed, so that they all may come to the fellowship of eternal blessedness.

Grant peace and rest to all who have have been taken from this life by violence. Have mercy on the souls of Matthew Shephard, Brandon Teena, Danny Overstreet, JR Warren, PFC Barry Winchell, Billy Jack Gaither, Bill Clayton, Tyra Hunter, and all others who have been killed because of their sexual orientation. Have mercy on the souls of Ayad Tariq, Irianto Kongkoli, Sister Leonella, and all who have been killed because of their faith. Have mercy on the men and women of the armed forces who have lost thier lives in service of their country. Have mercy on the souls of the innocent who have been casualties of war. May their cries to you for Justice bring peace to their souls and to our world.

Have mercy on the souls of those who stand before You and the holy angels ashamed and naked due to their lack of charity, their lack of good deeds, or because of the multitude of their sins. We offer all the good deeds we perform on this day on their behalf; clothe them with these deeds of compassion, that they may obtain graces through them; wash them in your Most Precious Blood, Lord Christ, and prepare them for the heavenly banquet.

Have mercy on the souls who neglected to form relationships with You and the inhabitants of Heaven through prayer and service, and who now feel like strangers, and afraid to look upon Your face, stand alone in the shadows. Send your holy angels to comfort them. May our prayers for them illuminate for them thier place in the Communion of saints. Shine the splendor of your grace upon them, and lead them to greater glory.

Christ our eternal King and God, You have destroyed death and the devil by Your Cross and have restored man to life by Your Resurrection; give rest, Lord, to the soul of Your servant (name) who has fallen asleep, in Your Kingdom, where there is no pain, sorrow or suffering. In Your goodness and love for all men, pardon all the sins he (she) has committed in thought word or deed, for there is no man or woman who lives and sins not, You only are without sin. For You are the Resurrection, the Life, and Repose of Your servant (name), departed this life, O Christ our God; and to You do we send up glory with Your Eternal Father and Your All-holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit; both now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 4:38 PM


This Litany for Those Martyred by Hate is beautiful in its composition and overwhelming in its content. Little did we anticipate the final commemorations! May we ask: Did you author this? Have you used this in your parish? We'd like to pass this Litany on to others, even post it on our website. Please advise. If you hold the copyright, may we have your permission to share this? Most gay Orthodox do not reach out to other gay Orthodox. Being forced into compulsory hesychasm, the Orthodox work out their salvation in private, alone, in quiet. Resources like this are what they need to make use of in their hidden prayer lives and remain connected to the body of the Church. How many are martyrs with no vocal chords! Screaming aloud with no sound because their own wouldn't hear them anyway. Thank you, again, Padre Rob
Blogger Syntheosis™, at 9:59 AM  
Thank you syntheosis, i constructed that litany from a variety of sources, but the final few paragraphs are mine.. You may share as you wish.

Thanks. I look forward to getting some time to look carefully at your webpage.

Blessings and peace rob+
Blogger PadreRob+, at 5:29 PM  
Thank you for responding. The Litany will be passed on o others. With today's news confirming the Pentagon sought a "gay bomb," litanies and prayers like yours are the corresponding "homophobe bomb."
Blogger Syntheosis™, at 11:07 AM  

Add a comment