Good question. I always assumed that all ancient churches had prayers for the dead. It would be nice if Rafa could tell us if his Church has them.
Even the most serious sin may be forgiven after death and there is salvation from Hell. The scriptural foundation for this is 2 Maccabees 12: 39-45 where prayer and almsgiving by the living obtained the remission of hell-meriting (mortal) sin for the dead.
Then we may look at the words of one of Russia's contemporary respected theologians Metropolitan Hilarion... I would infer from his words that all of the OO Churches pray for those in hell, with the exception of the Coptic Church which has, only recently, decided against such prayers.
Praying for those in hell...
I was reading an article recently by Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev called "Orthodox Worship as a School of Theology", and I came across the following:-
Bishop Hilarion: "Several years ago I came across a short article in a journal of the Coptic Church where it stated that this Church had decided to remove prayers for those held in hell from its service books, since these prayers “contradict Orthodox teaching”. Puzzled by this article, I decided to ask a representative of the Coptic Church about the reasons for this move. Recently I had the possibility to do so, and a Coptic Metropolitan replied that the decision was made by his Synod because, according their official doctrine, no prayers can help those in hell.
"I told the metropolitan that in the liturgical practice of the Russian Orthodox Church and other local Orthodox Churches there are prayers for those held in hell, and that we believe in their saving power. This surprised the Metropolitan, and he promised to study this question in more detail."
This Orthodox teaching is contrary to the Roman Catholic.
Here is the original article ...
2 Maccabees was never
canonized by the Eastern Church or the Jews. The ACOE also has the most reliable Old Testament in existence, the Peshitta Tanakh used by Babylonian Jewry which the ACOE ancestors finished standardizing around the first century when Christians if I am correct. It knows perfectly well what goes into the canon and what does not because it compiled
the books. The deuterocanonical books were written by Hellinistic Jews considered heretical. Saint Athanasius warned
that they should not be put in the canon under any means
and only be given to Catachumens for reading because these books were stuffed with heresy. Jerome gave the same warning and he translated the vulgate of Roman Catholics.These books were canonized only as a reaction to protestants . However, in the East they were never canonized and the Orthodox opinion of the Apostles expressed by the Western St.Athanasius (and every single Eastern Holy Expositor of the scriptures) was the one which prevailed.
As for the business of "praying people out of Hell" by celebrating liturgies, well that's a sugar coated purgatory. In the Anaphora of Mar Addai and Mar Mari which is the oldest liturgy in the world and written by a disciple of Christ (Mar Addai and his succesor Mar Mari) there is no mention whatsoever
of people being removed from Sheol, being saved post-mortem. It would be abominable to say that the Apostles discipled people in the East and West differently. Therefore someone changed the Liturgy relatively recently. I know this never happened in the East and Scholars already said it is the oldest liturgy so the conclusion Father Ambrose is that somebody introduced this thing of praying people out of Sheol and post-mortem salvation, etc. in the West.
Salpy, there is nothing "adoptionistic" about Saint Theodore. He was taught by Diodorus of Tarsus who was of the school of the Cappadocian Fathers. In fact Saint Theodore and Saint John Chrysostom were most excellent friends and study buddies. Is Saint John Chrysostom a heretic? But anyways, this is of no concern for the ACOE since Mar Theodore was a Westerner
. He was given an honorary title of "Interpreter" for defending the correct Apostolic Christology of two natures in Christ (perfect man and perfect God) but he was one of your own not part of the ACOE ecclesiastical structure in any way
. I recognize he did mistakes though (he taught universalism for example and questioned the Book of Job's part in the canon, which are errors) but his Christology was correct and vindicated in the West itself. The Church in the West believes in 2 natures completely seperated and with no mixture just like he taught.
Lastly,it should said that much of the theology people he are taking as "ecumenical" and the truth which fell from the sky was never agreed to, or never under consultation with the Eastern Church, the actual Church whose Jesus's relatives served as Patriarchs, which spoke his language, did the scribal work for the New Testament preserving it, gave the world the Old testament in it's most secure form, in short the Church where Salvation first appeared to (and that's a fact since the ACOE was the only Church Christ personally spoke to...via Abgar Malka who converted Edessa). Please keep that in mind, it is not my fault that the existence of the ACOE rattles the "original Church model" many here suscribe to.