Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Let Your Hearts Be Moved. Pray For The Dead. They Cannot Pray For Themselves.

Chesnokov - Panikhida Op. 39-15.
"Memory Eternal".
Cantus Sacred Music Ensemble.
Artistic director Lyudmila Arshavskaya.
Чесноков - Панихида №2 Ор. 39.
Ансамбль духовной музыки "Кант" п/у Людмилы Аршавской.
Available on YouTube at

"Praying Hands".
Artist: Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528).
Date: 1508.
Current location: Albertina, Vienna, Austria.
(Wikimedia Commons)


Dostoyevsky on Prayer for The Dead.

Young man, be not forgetful of Prayer. Every time you Pray, if your Prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that Prayer is an education.

Remember, too, every day, and whenever you can, repeat to yourself, ‘Lord, have mercy on all who appear before Thee today.’

For every hour, and every moment, thousands of men leave life on this Earth, and their Souls appear before God.

And how many of them depart in solitude, unknown, sad, dejected that no one mourns for them or even knows whether they have lived or not ! And behold, from the other end of the Earth, perhaps, your Prayer for their rest will rise up to God, though you knew them not nor they you.

How touching it must be to a Soul, standing in dread before The Lord, to feel at that instant, that, for him too, there is one to Pray, that there is a fellow creature left on Earth to love him too !

And God will look on you both more graciously, for if you have had so much pity on him, how much will He have pity, Who is infinitely more loving and merciful than you !

And He will forgive him for your sake.” (The Brothers Karamazov, Book 6, Chapter 3 (g) - Conversations of Fr Zossima: Of Prayer, of Love, and of contact with the other Worlds).

The video above is a Choral Setting of the words “Eternal Memory” (Вѣчная Памѧть in Old Church Slavonic, from The Greek Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη) from The Byzantine Rite’s equivalent of The Requiem Service. The author of this setting, Pavel Chesnokov (1877-1944), was a remarkably prolific composer of Sacred Music, with over 400 pieces to his name; very sadly, when the Cathedral of Christ The Saviour, in Moscow, where he had served as Choirmaster, was destroyed in 1933, Chesnokov was so distraught that he stopped composing altogether. (The Church was demolished to make way for a gigantic public building that was never realised, and reconstructed on the same site from 1995 to 2000.)

Requiem in E-flat Minor.
Composer: Osip Kozlovsky.
Osip Kozlovsky (born 1757 Propoysk - died March 11 [OS February 27] 1831)
was a Russian composer of Polish or Belarussian origin.
Work: Requiem in E-flat Minor (1798) the first Russian Requiem.
Soprano I: Galina Simkina.
Soprano II: Lidiya Tchernykh.
Mezzo-Soprano: Valentina Panina.
Tenor: Konstantin Lisovsky.
Bass: Vladimir Motorin.
Chorus: State Moscow Choir.
Orchestra: USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra.
Conductor: Vladimir Yesipov.
Available on YouTube at

Although All Souls’ Day has passed, it has become a common custom to extend the special season of Prayers for The Dead through the whole of November. Rorate Caeli recently published a useful reminder of the original intention of Pope Benedict XV, when, in 1915, he granted all Priests permission to say three Masses on 2 November, a custom originally observed only in Spain and Portugal, namely, so that they might Pray for those who had been killed in War.

We also ought to persevere in this Holy Intention, and remember especially to Pray for the many Christians who were killed in "The War-to-End-All-Wars" [Editor: World War I], and the many Wars that have happened since, for: It is . . . a holy and wholesome thought to Pray for The Dead, that they may be loosed from sins.”

"Dies Irae".
The Sequence
from a Latin Requiem Mass.
This is a rendition of the famous 13th-Century Latin Catholic Hymn,
"Dies Irae" ("Day of Wrath") about The Second Coming of Christ and Judgment Day.
This rendition is off the 1994 CD, "Ego sum Ressurectio".
Available on YouTube at

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