« The service for departed infants, who did not receive the grace of the holy Baptism, has been approved »

On July 14, 2018, the participants of the meeting of the Holy Synod had a judgment on the approval of the service for the deceased infants who did not receive the grace of Holy Baptism (Journal No. 60).

The document was prepared by the Synodal Liturgical Commission.

The Holy Synod decided to approve the service for the departed infants who did not receive the grace of holy baptism and sent the text to the Publishing House of the Moscow Patriarchate for publication in liturgical collections.

The theme "Church prayer care for unbaptized" was included into the agenda of the Inter-Council Presence of the Russian Orthodox Church, approved by the Presidium of the Inter-Council Presence during the January 28, 2015 session. Development of the topic was entrusted to the Theological Commission together with commissions on worship, on matters of church law, on the issues of attitudes toward non-Orthodoxy and other religions.

By 2017, the commission presented the document "The Church's Prayer for the Unbaptized," in which it was noted that the death of babies causes a particular grief to their parents and loved ones. There is a special rite for the burial of infants who have gone to another world being already baptized, however other deceased babies, including those who have died in the womb of their mothers, do not have Church's funeral service and are not commemorated at the Divine Liturgy. However, the fact that unbaptized infants did not commit personal sins and did not have the opportunity to make any moral choice distinguishes them from other departed unbaptized people.

This isdue was also considered by the hierarchy of other Local Orthodox Churches. Thus, on July 3, 2001, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece has approved and sent to the dioceses for the use The rite of the burial of  unbaptized child of Christian parents. In October 2015, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America approved for the use a prayer service after miscarriage or the birth of a dead infant, including a prayer for the parents of the child and their consolation, as well as a prayer for the repose of the soul of the deceased. Finally, on February 6, 2018, the Holy Synod of the Cypriot Orthodox Church approved for liturgical use a service for deceased unbaptized infants.

With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Synodal Liturgical Commission, having considered, in two sessions, the above-mentioned services, has prepared, with partial use of the prayers from those services, a text of the service for the departed infants, who did not receive the grace of holy baptism. /