Author Topic: What's a "molieben" service?  (Read 3967 times)

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Offline Eugenio

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What's a "molieben" service?
« on: July 07, 2007, 06:01:54 PM »
Hello again,

I'm a person who has attended a Greek Orthodox Church for a number of years and have recently visited an OCA church.

Folks there were talking about a "molieben" service that they were planning to do. I'm completely unfamiliar with this word, having never heard it in a Greek church. What's a "molieben" service? Is this a Slavic thing? Is there a Greek equivalent?

In the Greek church, we do a 40-day memorial service for those who have recently fallen asleep in the Lord. Is this anything like the "molieben"?

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: What's a "molieben" service?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2007, 06:20:20 PM »
Hi Eugenio,

This from the OCF web site:

Molieben Service

Molieben (from Church Slavonic Mol'ba - prayer, supplication) is a short liturgical service usually centered on a particular need or occasion: the new year, a journey, an illness, an act of thanksgiving, etc. It may be addressed to Christ, the Mother of God, or to saints. Its general structure is that of Matins, and it can be served either by request of the faithful or by decision of the parish Priest.

The Church asks us to "pray without ceasing" - Prayer is the life of the Church and the life of each one of us, members of the Church. And because Christ came to redeem and to sanctify the totality of our life, no part of that life, no human need, no occasion is excluded from the Church's prayer. The Molieben, thus, is the extension of the Church's prayer, of Christ's redeeming grace to all aspects and realities of our life. "...knock and it will be opened to you." --we are called constantly to knock at the doors of God's mercy and our faith assures us that God hears us and is with us.


A molieben (also called a moleben, service of intercession, or service of supplication) is a supplication prayer service in honor of either our Lord Jesus Christ, the Mother of God, or a particular saint or martyr. It is a Slavic service, but closely related to the Paraklesis service (of Greek practice--edit mine). A molieben is usually served by an ordained priest, but a laymen can also do a molieben, although in a modified form.

Another informative link:

As far as the 40 days of prayer following someone's death, we have this also in the Slavic churches, but this is totally unrelated to the molieben service.  This is more a continuation of the funeral service, with each mini-funeral (usually no more than about 10-15 minutes) of the forty days being called a Panikhida (Pah'-ni-HEE'-da).
« Last Edit: July 07, 2007, 06:32:32 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: What's a "molieben" service?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2007, 02:12:02 PM »
Great question, and thanks, Peter, for your exhaustive answer!

As a Slav, I can confirm that the term is, indeed, Slavic. "Molieben" (with soft "l") is the way Russians pronounce it; "moleben' " (with hard "e" after hard "l" and with softened last "n") is more of a Ukrainian pronounciation. Etimologically, it is related to the noun "molytva" (prayer) and to the verb "molytysya" (to pray). It is a church service specifically asked or solicited by a certain member or members of the parish, either to commemorate a certain event and to praise God for it (for example, a moleben' to praise God and thank Him on the occasion of winning the lottery :)) , or a moleben' to pray God to prevent danger (for example, a moleben' for a safe journey.)

Panakhyda (Rus. "panikhida") is, indeed, very different from a moleben'. It is strictly a service for the dead. The main part of it is singing "Memory Eternal" ("Vyechnaja pamiat' " in Russian, "vichnaja pam"jat' " in Ukrainian). It's long and extremely solemn.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2007, 02:14:18 PM by Heorhij »
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