October 19, 2017

Saint Varus and Praying for Those Who Died Unbaptized

Saint Varus, commemorated on October 19th, is especially honored by Russian Orthodox Christians as the patron of those who have died outside the Orthodox Christian faith, and of young children who are ill or have died either by illness or during birth or even in the womb.

In 2008, the Archangel Cathedral in the Kremlin after restoration, opened the chapel dedicated to Saint Varus. This chapel was built in the 17th century because at that time, the Time of Troubles, many children died without being baptized. Patriarch Hermogenes at the time blessed the commemoration of Saint Varus to ease the fate of the children who were dying without baptism. It is from this time that the Canon to Saint Varus originates.

Since it is not permissible to pray for the unbaptized who have departed this world during the Divine Liturgy or Funeral Services, many Orthodox have resorted to praying to Saint Varus on behalf of their loved ones who died without baptism (this does not apply to those Christians who have committed suicide, rather see the Prayer of Elder Leonid of Optina). For example, in the Church of Saint Nicholas Kuznetsy, every Saturday prayers are made to Saint Varus on behalf of those who died without baptism.

Read also: Praying for the Reposed Non-Christians and Non-Orthodox

Prayer to the Holy Martyr Varus for 
Those Who Have Died Outside the Faith

O Holy, wondrous Martyr Varus, who, burning with zeal for the Heavenly King, didst confess Him before thy torturers and didst greatly suffer for Him!

Now the Church doth venerate thee, as one glorified with the glory of heaven by Christ the Lord, Who granted thee the abundant grace to approach Him boldly. And now, standing before Him together with the Angels, rejoicing on high, beholding the Most Holy Trinity clearly, and enjoying the Uncreated Light, remember the suffering of our relatives who have died outside the Faith, and accept our pleas, and as thou didst intercede for the unbelieving ancestors of Cleopatra and didst free them from eternal suffering, remember those who have died unbaptized and have been buried in an ungodly manner, and pray earnestly that they may be delivered from eternal darkness, that we may all, with one mouth and one heart, praise the Most Merciful Creator unto the ages of ages. Amen.