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Question 133

Are we allowed to pray to deceased persons who have not or not yet been canonized as Saints? A priest of the orthodox church once told me to pray to Seraphim Rose for a problem I have. As far as I know we can only pray to Saints. If we could pray to anyone,we might as well pray to our deceased friends and family. What does the church teach?           


Answer to Question 133


When we are in need it is natural to ask our friends and family to pray for us. We hope that through the prayer of many God will speedily hear our request and come to our aid. Praying for one another is an act of love and it is our duty as Christians to pray for each other. The Church is a family of brothers and sister all with the same Father in heaven. When someone passes over to the other side he does not stop being a member of this great family. All our faith and hope is that there is life beyond the grave. 

The Church is not only the visible congregation worshipping here on earth, but also the invisible congregation of the saints and the angels worshipping in heaven. The Church visible on earth lives in complete communion and unity with the whole body of the Church of which Christ is the Head. Our departed family members and friends are also members of this one body and just because they have crossed over to the other side doesn’t mean that they cease to exist or are no longer members of the Church of Christ. If we were to believe such a thing, then all our hopes of the future life and the Resurrection would be lost.

Our Christian parents, grandparents, children, brothers, sisters, and friends live on with Christ after they die, and remembering the great unity that we still have with them as fellow-members of Christ's Body, the Church finds nothing in the Scriptures that would prohibit Christians from expressing love for and maintaining a sense of fellowship with those who have died. What better way do we have to express our love than to pray for them and also to ask them to pray for us.