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Answers of priests by topic:

Question

Father, could you please tell me: if I pray in my head without uttering a word, can the Lord and the saints hear my prayer? Or should I pray aloud instead?

Answer
Of course, they can hear you. It isn’t always easy to pray in your head sometimes. When we say prayers out loud, we hear them and can pay more attention to the words that we read. It is easier for us to understand them and keep them in our hearts. The most challenging aspect of prayer is to be attentive and not get distracted. That’s when prayer can nurture your soul, transform and change you. You have to train yourself and to work hard to be attentive. You are where your mind is. That’s why it is great if you pray both privately and aloud. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above (James 1: 17).

Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok

Question

There is a petition for a shameless and painless repose in the Litany but more often than not people die in pain and sorrows. What do we ask for then?

Answer
The “shameless” death means that we have to entrust our immortal souls to God. We must have faith and peace inside. We say that we hope for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come but we are limited by the time and space of this world. What does the life of the world to come to look like? What will happen after death? It is too tricky; we can barely comprehend it. However, when you see a person who is about to depart from this life and, in spite of all pain, his eyes radiate light, hope, absence of panic, and trust in God, it has a huge influence on all people around that dying person. I recall the death of a woman who had worked for the KGB. She did not have any family, except for two kids. Her husband had abandoned them. It was really tragic. I gave her communion just a couple of days before she reposed. She was assured that her children would be taken care of and that God would not leave them alone. She looked frightening, her skin was yellowish; yet her eyes were filled with so much liveliness, so much trust, and so much love! I don’t know why but I wanted to stay by her deathbed for as long as I could. “I’d like to have the spiritual power of this brave woman, too,” I thought to myself. This must be that shameless and peaceful kind of death when a person knows where and to whom he is about to go. May God grant everyone a death like this!

Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok

Question

Is it true that it is not allowed to read akathists during the Great Lent?

Answer
According to the rubrics, the services during the Great Lent are special. However, we do serve several akathists in our Convent during the Great Lent. We read akathists to the Pantanassa icon of the Mother of God because there are so many ill people who need prayer, especially during the Lent. It is not a solemn or festive prayer. It is a call for help. We also read an akathist to the Inexhaustible Chalice icon of the Mother of God. If your heart wants to read an akathist at home, if you find it useful, you can read it but be watchful.

Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok

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