Category Archives: news

Russian Orthodox Church approves rite of burial for unbaptized infants

July 14, Pravmir. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has approved the rite of the burial of unbaptized infants during their meeting on July 14, 2018.

It was reported by Priest Alexander Volkov, Press Secretary of His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

According to Fr. Alexander, this rite will become mandatory for all parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church.

“As you know, earlier the Church did not have the opportunity to celebrate a burial service for unbaptized infants. Sometimes infants are stillborn or die shortly after due to various circumstances that cannot be overcome by human power. Naturally, grieving parents come to a church and ask priests to officiate at least some rite for their departed children and seek their own consolation,” the RIA news service quotes the priest.

Read the rest here.

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Some Updates

 As I mentioned previously, the Assembly of Bishops was to consider our proposal of a miscarriage/stillbirth booklet for clergy when they met in mid-September. As it turns out, time was too short for it to make it to the agenda. This is disappointing, of course, but our subcommittee is considering publishing it independently. When I have any news on this, I will post it.

 Surprisingly, the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops approved a service for miscarried or stillborn babies when they met this past week for their fall meeting. I hadn’t been aware that this was on the agenda and I’m not entirely sure of the source of the service (although it is possible that the overlapping members of the Assembly’s Pastoral Practice Committee and the Holy Synod presented the service that we had worked on). In any event, the good news is there IS an approved service! It was just posted today and you can find it here. I am most grateful to the Holy Synod for approving this and making it available.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance month (along with a host of other things). In addition, today is the feast of St. Demetrius the Myrrh-Gusher and the first birthday of our youngest baby, Demetrius. He died at 5 weeks, 5 days and was born a few weeks later on October 26th. Father buried him at the foot of his older brother Gabriel’s grave. May his memory be eternal! In his honor I mailed today a package of small hats to Common Care, an organization which distributes care packages and tiny hats to bereaved parents.

Encouraging news from Russia

In Russia, Fr. Daniel Goryachev is insisting that mothers and other family members be given a chance to see their stillborn babies and bury them. At the current time they are not shown to the families and are disposed of as medical waste, regardless of gestational age.

“Even if abortions are finally outlawed, the public conscience should be prepared for it. Otherwise such laws will be ineffective. People should have a particular culture of perception of life, which is formed through religion,” related Fr. Daniel his speech during the round table, dedicated to protection of life on early stages of pregnancy, held at the Civic Chamber. “Serving in an Arkhangelsk maternity home, I come across the following situation: When a woman gives birth to a stillborn baby, she is not given her baby and cannot see it. I have proposed to amend the legislation so that bodies of stillborn babies might be given to their mothers at their request, regardless of the stage of pregnancy”.

 May Fr. Daniel’s work be blessed!!

In the news…

(Source, and additional photos)

   A subcommittee of the Committee for Pastoral Practice of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops was convened from March 12-14 in Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania for the purpose of addressing the current lack of a common service for miscarried or stillborn infants and associated pastoral guidance. In attendance were: (L-R) Mat. Elizabeth Lein (OCA), Mat. Anna Crawford (OCA), Fr. Peter J. Gillquist (AOCA), Bishop Mark (OCA), Archbishop Benjamin (OCA), Fr. Ian Pac-Urar (AOCA), Kh. Linda Ellison (AOCA) and Dr. Phillip Mamalakis (GOA). [Mat. Jenny Shroedel (OCA) was present by skype.]

   It was a very positive and productive conference. The completed work will be a booklet for Orthodox pastors to address the following topics: basic medical information including a glossary of terms, suggestions for pastoral care of grieving families, guidance on burials, etc. The second half of the booklet will consist of prayers appropriate to a variety of circumstances and a service of burial and memorial service. This will be presented to the parent committee in May, and then, if approved, to the Assembly of Bishops in the fall. In the meantime a separate booklet for women and their families will be in progress.

   Please keep the committee members in your prayers as they address this important work.

Upcoming meeting…

Next week I will fly to Pennsylvania and stay at Antiochian Village for a few days. I was invited to work with some other Orthodox Christians to help draft a memorial service for miscarried and stillborn babies and put together resources for priests and parishes to use to assist grieving families. Other than having put together this site, and having lost four babies, I don’t know exactly what I’m bringing to the table, but I am happy to contribute however I can. This group will be meeting under the auspices of the Committee for Pastoral Practice of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the US. Please pray that we will have a productive meeting and that we will all have safe travels.

Services approved for preborn infants by the Holy Synod of the OCA

 Good news from the Holy Synod!!

[October 18, 2013  Syosset, NY] The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America concluded its fall session on Thursday, October 17, 2013. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, chaired the session, which opened two days earlier.

According to Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, in addition to hearing the reports of the Chancellor, Secretary and Treasurer, the members of the Holy Synod took the following actions and decisions.

* * *

The texts and order of two memorial services for pre-born infants—one that may be celebrated shortly after death, the other a funeral service—were approved for liturgical use upon the recommendation of His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin.