Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Why do we pray for the departed during the Divine Liturgy?

We remember the departed faithful during the Divine Liturgy because we do not believe that they have died, but only departed. Our Lord confirmed to the thief on the right, he would be with Him in paradise on that same day. Therefore, it is our prayer that our loved ones who have preceded us, are also with our Lord in paradise, and with all the saints. The priest first recites the name of the Blessed Virgin Mother, then various saints accordingly, and then lists the names of the departed according to the requests of the people.
Joshua the Son of Sirach recalls the memory of many men of faith and praises their noble efforts in nearly seven chapters. Our loved ones who had persevered in the same spirit of faith and efforts are now resting with them in God's mercy: "But these were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten...Their bodies are buried in peace, but their name liveth forevermore...The people will tell of their wisdom, and the congregation will shew forth their praise" (Sirach 44:10,14,15).
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