Prayer and Almsgiving for the Deceased
St. Nikolai Velilmirovic
Through their prayers and almsgiving for the deceased, Christians show forth the relationship between this world and the world to come. The Church in this world and the Church in the other world are one and the same— one body, one being— as the root of a tree beneath the earth comprises one organism with the trunk and the branches of the tree above the earth. It is clear from this how we, who comprise the Church on earth, can receive help from the saints and the righteous ones in the Heavenly Church, just as the deceased sinners in the other world can receive help from us on earth. St. Athanasius says, “As it happens with wine inside a barrel— that when the vineyard blooms in the field, the wine somehow senses it, and blossoms in fragrance itself— so it is with the souls of sinners. They receive some relief from the Bloodless Sacrifice offered for them in charity,” performed for their repose. St. Ephraim the Syrian cites that same example with wine and the vineyard and concludes: “And so, when there exists such mutual sensitivity even among plants, are not prayer and sacrifice felt even more so by the departed ones?”
Velimirovic, Saint Nikolai. The Prologue of Ohrid (Kindle Locations 13562-13570). Sebastian Press Publishing House. Kindle Edition.