Praying for Reposed Non-Orthodox; so-called "Near-Death Experiences;" Seraphim Rose

In the Liturgy and traditional daily prayers, Orthodox pray explicitly for various non-Orthodox persons, from their government officials to “all apostates from the Orthodox Faith, and those blinded by pernicious heresies” (“Illumine with the light of grace all apostates from the Orthodox Faith, and those blinded by pernicious heresies, and draw them to Thyself, and unite them to Thy Holy Apostolic Catholic Church.” From the petitions at the end of personal Morning Prayers.). They also pray for persons in many other states and conditions of life and difficulty, without making distinctions regarding these persons’ faith.

However, as stated at the article I linked to the other day, normal Orthodox church services for the deceased are not offered for the non-Orthodox. That author neglected to say explicitly why: the words of the prayers in these services presume that the decedent was Orthodox, refer to things that might not have been part of the life of a non-Orthodox, that were (or are presumed to have been) so for an Orthodox. For example (from here):

To the faithful member of thy household who hath fallen asleep before us, vouchsafe, O Lord, a heavenly abiding-place, a meed of thy gifts, granting unto him (her) redemption from his (her) sins.

But Orthodox are officially encouraged to pray for all on their own, both because it may yet benefit the non-Orthodox deceased, and because it represents the love of a heart filled with the All-Holy Spirit of God, as discussed here. (In that website’s own way, the linked article begins in a harsh tone, but leads to good.)

That same article concludes with a brief discussion by Fr. Seraphim (Rose) (1934-1982) about so-called near-death experiences, pointing to traditional Orthodox ‘faithful skepticism’ regarding extraordinary ‘spiritual’ experiences, and the need always for humility. Remember, “even the devil can appear as an angel of light”!

(This is my first Seraphim Rose link. He was a gay [ie, homosexual] California ‘new-ager’ who converted to Orthodoxy in 1962, and became a priest-monk of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia [ROCOR]. His writings appeal to many Orthodox and some non-Orthodox and would-be Orthodox, around the world, and some already venerate him as a saint. But some of his teachings have been called heretical by some other Orthodox writers, including Archbishop LAZAR [Puhalo] of New Ostrog, whom I have referenced here recently. AFAIK I’ve only read one or two uncontroversial online articles of Rose’s, and none of his books, but also articles of a couple of his adversaries about him. If as a journalist I were asked to do a piece on him, I would not feel competent to say much more than I have.)


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