The situations in which people turn to God for
help are so numerous that the Orthodox Church has introduced a whole range of
prayers for the living, for the departed, for the blessing of things and food.
Those prayers were called church rites for special occasions ó as they are
served by the request of a believer.
A fervent prayer for the living is called "a
molieben" (prayer service). Moliebens can be common or private (ordered).
Ordered moliebens are served by a priest as requested by the parishioners,
while common ones are read every day after the Liturgy.
Moliebens for the dead include requiem and
funereal office. They can be served only over baptized Christians. No requiems
can be served for those who committed suicide, drunkards, non-Orthodox, dead as
a result of an abortion, killed in a fight and those who had openly rejected
God and Church throughout their lives.
Through those special prayer services the church
sanctifies the whole domain of human life including the things used and the
food eaten. Blessing of the food takes place on definite days, for example,
Easter bread and eggs are blessed on the eve of Easter, while apples and other
fruits are blessed on the Holy Transfiguration day.
There is a special prayer for blessing of houses
and cars. One has to arrange personally with a priest about an appropriate time
for those sermons. Military people would benefit from blessing their weaponry.
Every day after the morning services Orthodox
priests perform prayer services for special occasions. One of the most
widespread services is Prayerful singing (molieben).
What is a molieben? It is a short, but diligent
prayer about oneís everyday needs. During the Divine Liturgy we hear a prayer
for daily cares, but often we do not pay due attention to them because we are
concentrated on the deeply mystical content of the Liturgy. The need to pray
for something "small" (the way Ambrosius of the Optina desert taught
us), "with a short, but fervent prayer" ó is fulfilled by us through
If we are sick, we will serve a molieben for the
sick. If we start an important enterprise, we will ask Godís help through a
molieben. If we are about to go on a journey, we will listen to blessing for
the road. If it is the day of the saint after whom we were named, and we want
to pray especially ardently to that saint, we will order a molieben devoted to
him or her. In the beginning of the school year when it is time for our
children to go to school, we would order a molieben for blessing the youth to
study. When we want to praise the Lord for hearing our prayers, we will order a
molieben of thanksgiving.
Besides private moliebens there are common
molieben prayers. The Church has many of those moliebens: for blessing of
waters and New Year, for relief from bad weather and drought,
for those obsessed by evil spirits and alcoholics, solemn moliebens on the
first Sunday of the Great Lent (the triumph of Orthodoxy) and on Christmas (in
memory of the victory of 1812)...
When singing moliebens, we turn to Jesus Christ,
His Holy Mother and the saints. The moliebens of gratitude are addressed to the
Lord. When ordering a molieben at the candle table we submit a petition with
the names of those for whom or from whom the molieben is ordered. Sometimes the
person who ordered a molieben, leaves the church before the molieben is
performed, just leaving the petition there. The Lord accepts any sacrifice, but
it is much better to pray together with the priest than to leave the latter to
entreat God for us.
Occasionally the moliebens are accompanied by
akathists and canons. Often a priest anoints the faithful with blessed oil and
sprinkles blessed water over them.
The Lord grants us help according to our faith
and very soon after the molieben. That is why we should not overuse this sacred
procedure ordering several moliebens on the same subject (with the exception of
moliebens for the sick and on vows).
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