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Prayers offered for the unborn victims of abortion at the Moscow Representation of the Orthodox Church in America ( 14.01.2009 )

On the Sunday after Christmas, January 11, 2009 the day that the Holy Church commemorates the Righteous Joseph the Betrothed and also the 14,000 Holy Innocents – infants slain by King Herod in Bethlehem following Christ’s birth, Archimandrite Zacchaeus, parish Dean, together with parish clergy and visiting Hierodeacon Makary from Moscow's Sretensky Monastery concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at St. Catherine the Great Martyr Church. These infants commemorated today were the very first martyrs for Christ, while the Christ child himself remained unharmed as His parents were told in a dream to depart for Jerusalem by another way, according to the Gospel account.


The feast of the slaying of the Holy Innocents reminds us of those countless innocent children killed as a result of the sin of abortion. For that reason, on the day that the Church commemorates the Holy Innocents, special prayers were read for those who died as a result of the sin of abortion. During the Divine Liturgy, immediately following the Augmented Litany, the following prayer, approved for use in parishes of the Orthodox Church in Americawas read:

“Let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son, Who are in the bosom of the Father, True God, source of life and immortality, Light of Light, Who came into the world to enlighten it: You were pleased to be conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary for the salvation of our souls by the power of Your All-Holy Spirit. O Master, Who came that we might have life more abundantly, we ask You to enlighten the minds and hearts of those blinded to the truth that life begins at conception and that the unborn in the womb are already adorned with Your image and likeness; enable us to guard, cherish, and protect the lives of all those who are unable to care for themselves. For You are the Giver of Life, bringing each person from non-being into being, sealing each person with divine and infinite love. Be merciful, O Lord, to those who, through ignorance or willfulness, affront Your divine goodness and providence through the evil act of abortion. May they, and all of us, come to the life of Your Truth and glorify You, the Giver of Life, together with Your Father, and Your All-Holy and Life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen. ”

During the litany for the departed, a special petition was added for those innocents who lost their lives as a result of the sin of abortion. Following the Divine Liturgy, Archimandrite Zacchaeus addressed the faithful with words about the sinfulness of abortion and asked Priest Daniel Lugovoi to read the official statement of the Orthodox Church in America on the sin of abortion, which states:

“Abortion is an act of murder for which those involved, voluntarily and involuntarily, will answer to God.

Those finding themselves confronted with tragic circumstances where the lives of mothers and their unborn children are threatened, and where painful decisions of life and death have to be made -- such as those involving rape, incest, and sickness -- are to be counselled to take responsible action before God, who is both merciful and just, to whom they will give account for their actions.

Women and men, including family members and friends of pregnant women considering abortions, are to be encouraged to resist this evil act, and be assisted in bearing and raising their children in healthy physical and spiritual conditions.

Women who have had recourse to abortion, men who have fathered aborted children, and others involved in cases of abortion, are to be provided with pastoral care which includes recognition of the gravity of the act and assurance of the mercy of God upon those who repent of their sins.

Orthodox Christians are to contribute to legislative processes according to their knowledge, competence, ability and influence so that laws may be enacted and enforced which protect and defend the lives of unborn children while being sensitive to the complexities and tragedies of life in contemporary society.”

Afterwards, a litya for the departed was served for the victims of the sin of abortion.

Source: St. Cartherine Church