March 13, 2021

Which Is Better for the Dead, Prayer or Almsgiving?

In a recorded discussion, Saint Iakovos Tsalikes said the following:

Someone once told me:

"Father, our relatives drowned while out on a boat."

"Won't you do a memorial for your husband, your relatives?"

"Nah, memorials aren't necessary," she said. "I gave 5,000 drachmas to the Orphanage in Halkida. It's the same thing. My Father, what do you have to say about this?"

I said: "Listen, my child, and I will tell you, since you asked. Prayer is one thing, my child, and almsgiving is another. Forgive me, but the prayers we do with a memorial are another thing. This is how things have been passed on to us, and this is how it is, even from Apostolic times, as well as from the days of Moses, the prophet of the Old Testament.

We here get up during the night to memorialize these names. We have thousands of names, between 20,000 to 30,000 names. They are benefactors of the Monastery, who go back 38 years when I came to the Monastery.

One person gave me a glass cup, another gave me a tea cup, another this nylon, another a lamp, another a small icon, another a frame, another that drawer, another a watch, and I have their names from 1952 when I was ordained a priest of the Highest and I memorialize them. Most of them have passed away.

The forty-day liturgies, my children, help very much. The portion shared by the priest with which these names are read has great value. An Angel of the Lord takes them every morning, for when the proskomide begins Angels of the Lord descend.

At the time of the proskomide Saint John Chrysostom would see a covering over the church, with young men dressed in white, Angels of the Lord, flying. And with every Christian there stood an Angel of the Lord, a guardian of people, of their lives.

And in the Sanctuary it is filled with Angels, and they would take this offering and bring it to the Throne of God.

We must all be saints, but come on, we are also human. We need the Church because the priest is higher even than the King."

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.