Memory Eternal (chant)

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Grave of an Orthodox Christian in Lazarev Cemetery, Alexander Nevsky Lavra.

Memory Eternal (Greek: Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη, Eonia i Mnimi; Church Slavonic: Вечная память, Vechnaya Pamyat' ) is an exclamation used at the end of an Eastern Orthodox funeral or memorial service. The same exclamation is used by those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite. It is the liturgical counterpart to the Western Rite prayer "Eternal Rest". The "eternal memory" mentioned in the prayer refers to remembrance by God, rather than by the living, and is another way of praying that the soul has entered heaven and enjoys eternal life.

This chant is parallel to "Many years" which is chanted for living members of the Church (and occasionally for national or local authorities, even though they may not be Orthodox). "Memory eternal" is not chanted for those who have been officially glorified (canonized) as saints. As part of the glorification process for new saints, on the eve of the day before their glorification, "Memory eternal" will be chanted for them at the end of a solemn service known as the "Last Requiem." The chanting of "Memory eternal" is introduced by a deacon, as follows:

Deacon: In a blessed falling asleep, grant, O Lord, eternal rest unto Thy departed servant (Name) and make his/her memory to be eternal!
Choir: Memory eternal! Memory eternal! Memory eternal!

Other occasions[edit]

"Memory Eternal" is also chanted at the end of services on Saturdays of the Dead, though not for an individual, but for all of the faithful departed.

In the Russian Orthodox Church, "Memory eternal" is chanted on the Sunday of Orthodoxy for all of the departed rulers of Russia.

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