Question to the priest
I've heard that there is a day when Church prays for people who committed suicide. When is it?
It is not true. Church never prays for the people who committed suicide. Death is the conclusion of the life of the person." Our Lord Jesus Christ said:" In what I find you, in that I will judge you" (Mr. Iustin Philosopher). What is the end of a suicide? It is a desperate, voluntary rejection of Christ. Why Christ? Because, Lord said:" whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me"(Mar. 8:34) And gave us an example," He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil.2:8). Suicide is refusing to carry his cross. That is why sin of suicide also called sin of Judas. Judas betrayed Jesus became desperate "went and hanged himself" (Matt.27:5). Apostol Peter also betrayed Jesus, had denied Him. After that for some time had lost the title to be called Apostol, but didn't fell into desperation and was forgiven by repentance.
Here is St. Philaret answer to this question :"WHY SUICIDE IS A GRAVE SIN? Suicide is the most unlawful out of all homicides. If it is against the nature to kill the one like us, a human, it is even more against the nature to kill thyself. Our life doesn’t belong to us like our own property, but to God, Who gave it to us"( St. Philaret, Mitropolit of Moscow. Lengthy Catechism).
The only reason when the Church allows us to pray for a person who committed suicide is when there is proven insanity of the person who committed this sin.
Question 14. If someone being insane commits suicide or through himself from the height should it be given the offering or not?
Answer. The priest should thoroughly consider it, was he truly insane when he did it? The relatives of the sufferer often want to bring offering and prayer for him, not saying the truth that he committed suicide while not “out of his mind.” It could be he suicided because of human insult or in case another reason of cowardice, - and about him shouldn't be any offering so he committed suicide. That is why the priest should surely investigate thoroughly, so he won't get under judgement.
Suicide is equal to homicide considered by the Holy fathers. That is why a person who tried to commit suicide but survived it was imposed the penance as for a murderer. Under the existing rules the last rites of the one who committed suicide during a fit of insanity, after all can't be performed by the priest without special permission of a Bishop, for whom it is necessary to present evidence of the reason to admit this suicide as committed during insanity (medical report, testimony of the trusted people)"( Canons of Orthodox Church. Part 3. Canon Messages of the Holy Fathers. Canon Answers of the Most Holy Timothy of Alexandria).
Regarding to the modern "humane" worldly ideas Russian Orthodox Church gave next explanation, which can be helpful during the discussion about suicide:" Therefore euthanasia is a form of homicide or suicide depending on the participation of the patient. In the last case the certain canon rules are applied according to which the intended suicide as well as assisting to commit one is considered as a grave sin. The person who is willfully committing suicide "did that from the man’s insult or any other reason of cowardice", is not worthy of Christian funeral and liturgical remembrance (Timothy of Alexandria rule #14). If the suicide was committed unconsciously "out the mind", that in the fit of mental illness the prayer of the Church is allowed upon the research of the case by the Bishop. Nevertheless it is necessary to remember that the guilt of the suicide sometimes share the people who were near him were unable to show active empathy and mercy. Together with Apostol Paul Church is calling: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ”. (Gal.6.2.) (Foundation of social concept of Russian Orthodox Church). From this above mentioned quotation it is obvious the necessity of repentance of the relatives of the person who committed suicide on the reason of the possible lack of empathy, love which were some of the reason of a suicide.
Generally Fathers call suicide consciously unrepentant sin which leads to the loss of soul. From this point of view Adam already committed suicide because he knew: ”But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”.(Gen.2.17.) “But this part of the human race to which God has promised pardon and a share in His eternal kingdom, can they be restored through the merit of their own works? God forbid. For what good work can a lost man perform except so far as he has been delivered from perdition? Can they do anything by the free determination of their own will? Again I say, God forbid. For it was by the evil use of his free-will that man destroyed both it and himself, but after he has killed himself ceases to live, and cannot restore himself to life; so, when man by his own free-will sinned, then sin being victorious over him, the freedom of his will was lost. “For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” This is the judgment of the Apostle Peter (2 Pet.2.19) (Blessed Augustine, bishop of Hippo. ”The Enchiridion on Faith, Hope and Charity).
Priest Andrei Kudryavstev
Father! my name is Polina but baptized under the name Pelageya. Was born on July 5 1969, when the Day of my Angel should be celebrated? Thank you for the answer.
Look up first Pelageyu after your birthday on days.pravoslavie.ru
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