by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
Love is all-powerful. It can, among other things, ease the judgment of the souls of deceased sinners. The Orthodox Church confirms this resolutely and continues to offer prayers and performs corporal works of mercy for the deceased. Abundantly rich in every spiritual experience, the Church knows that prayers and works of mercy for the deceased helps those in the other world. Before her death, St. Athanasia the Abbess (April 12) made the sisterhood promise that for forty days after her death they would prepare a table for the poor and needy. The sisterhood carried out her command for only ten days and then ceased. The saint then appeared in the company of two angels and said to the sisters: “Why have you transgressed my commandment? Know, that through works of mercy and the prayers of the priest for the souls of the deceased in the course of forty days, invokes God’s mercy. If the souls of the departed are sinful they, through this, receive forgiveness of sins from God and if they are not sinful then the corporal works of mercy performed for them serve to the salvation of the benefactor himself.” Naturally, works of mercy and prayer are thought of here in connection with great love toward the departed souls. Such works of mercy and prayer, in truth, do help.