On How to Entreat the Saints in Prayer

Ss. Barsanuphius and John ca. 6th cent.

Q: How should one entreat the Fathers for the forgiveness of one’s sins. Should one say: “Forgive me”; or: “Entreat forgiveness for me”? And when I entreat the Lord Himself, what should I say?

A: When we entreat the Holy Fathers who have departed to the Lord, we should say: “Forgive me.” But to those who are still with us, one should say: “Pray for us that we may receive forgiveness.” And when you entreat the Lord Himself, speak thus: “Have mercy on me, O Master, for the sake of Thy holy martyrs and for the sake of the Holy Fathers, and by their prayers forgive me my trangressions.” For the Prophet also said: For the sake of Abraham Thy servant (Dan. 3:35), and the Lord Himself said: I will defend this city for My sake, and for the sake of David My servant (IV Kings 19:34). (Answers to the Questions of Disciples, 713)