Memory Eternal

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Memory Eternal[a] is an exclamation, an encomium like the polychronion, 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!

It concludes with the line "with the saints, grant her/him rest o Lord, memory eternal!"[1]

Other occasions[edit]

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

"Memory Eternal" is intoned by the deacon and then chanted by all in response three times during the liturgy on the Sunday of Orthodoxy to commemorate church hierarchs, Orthodox monarchs, Orthodox patriarchs and clergy, and all deceased Orthodox Christians [2]

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


  1. ^ Greek: Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη, Aiōnia ē Mnēmē; Arabic: ذِكرُهُ مؤَبَّداً‎, "Thikruhu muabbadan"; Georgian: საუკუნო ხსენება, "Sauk'uno Khseneba"; Church Slavonic: Вѣчьнаꙗ памѧть, Věčĭnaja pamętĭ, Ukrainian: Вічная Пам'ять (vichnaya pamyat'), Russian: Вечная Память (vechnaya pamyat'), Belarusian: Вечная Памяць (viečnaja pamiać), Bulgarian: Вечна памет (vechna pamet), Romanian: Veșnica pomenire


  1. ^ "Memorial Service - Liturgical Texts of the Orthodox Church - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America". Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  2. ^ "Service of the Triumph of Orthodoxy". Retrieved 6 March 2015.

External links[edit]