Friday, December 6, 2013

Do unbaptized infants go to hell?

Another article on the eternal destination of infants who die before birth/before baptism.

Once, a lady came to my office to talk to me about the sadness she was experiencing for many years; she had had five miscarriages and was mourning the loss of her children. Her biggest difficulty with the issue, she explained, was that her children were condemned to hell because they were never baptized.

I asked her how she had come to that conclusion and she answered that she was taught early in her life that all people who die and have never been baptized go to hell, even infants, because of “original sin”.

The two questions I would like to raise here today are (1) “Where has this idea come from?” and (2) “Is this the teaching of the Ancient Christian Church?”

Read the rest.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Services approved for preborn infants by the Holy Synod of the OCA

 Good news from the Holy Synod!!
[October 18, 2013  Syosset, NY] The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America concluded its fall session on Thursday, October 17, 2013. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, chaired the session, which opened two days earlier.
According to Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, in addition to hearing the reports of the Chancellor, Secretary and Treasurer, the members of the Holy Synod took the following actions and decisions.
* * *
The texts and order of two memorial services for pre-born infants—one that may be celebrated shortly after death, the other a funeral service—were approved for liturgical use upon the recommendation of His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 15th: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage or stillbirth. 

In memory of Andrew
(died 11-30-11, born 12-12-11)

In memory of Innocent
(died 3-31-11, born 4-10-11)

And in memory of all the other babies 
who departed this life before drawing breath. 

May their memory be eternal!
Feel free to leave the name(s) of your sweet baby(ies) in the comments.

Friday, September 13, 2013

New Additions

I want to thank Jamie for generously sharing photographs of her beautiful baby, Gabriel (see photographs page) and his birth story. Gabriel died in the womb at about 17 1/2 weeks and was born a few days later (18 weeks) after induction in the hospital.

Also, a belated thank you to Amelia for sharing lovely photographs of her son Isaiah, born at home after induction. He departed this life at 13 weeks. Amelia also suffered a loss early this year, her son Micah, whose photographs are already on the photographs page. We look forward to posting Isaiah's birth story when it is complete.

May the memory of Gabriel and Isaiah be eternal!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


A big thank you to Makayla for sharing the story of her son Joshua, born too soon at 21 weeks and 3 days. Joshua's photos are on the Photographs page and his story (and a few additional photographs) are on the Your Stories page.

May Joshua's memory be eternal!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Another resource

Thank you to Kyra for pointing out the existence of a pregnancy loss resource page on the site of Holy Trinity OCA church in East Meadow, NY. It includes services for memorial and burial of miscarried and stillborn infants. I have added this to the Prayers and Liturgics page.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New story and photo

A big thank you to Amber for sharing the story of her baby's birth with us. Amber discovered at 9.5 weeks that her baby had departed this life at 7 weeks, 4 days. She opted to wait for her body to deliver naturally and did at 11 weeks, 5 days. She also generously shared a photo of her child still in the sac on the Photographs page. Amber's story can be found on the Your stories page and I've also indexed it with the natural miscarriage stories on the Actual Process page.

Thank you, Amber. And may your baby's memory be eternal!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Photographs update

I have just added photographs of a beautiful 19 week baby, Walter, to the photographs page. His mother Lexi went into labor and delivered him early just a few weeks ago. His story is told on Life Site News and while there are quite a few photographs there, there are more on his mother's photography site.

Thank you, Lexi, for sharing your beautiful son with everyone. May Walter's memory be eternal!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Temporary Note:

(6/8) I've reverted the photographs page to draft until a certain website calms down. Hopefully it will be back up soon. I'll keep monitoring the situation. Sorry for any inconvenience.

[Update (6/9): I've just put the page back up since things have calmed down a lot. I hope that despite people's nasty impulses, someone will accidentally find it and realize it's helpful.]

[Update 2 (6/15): Amazingly it's happened again and with another website. The page is back down until it calms down AGAIN.]

[Update 3 (6/16): Trying again...]

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Yet another addition...

Candy has shared the story of her baby Kendall's birth (9 weeks, 5 days) and also two beautiful photographs which I have added to the photographs page. Thank you so much, Candy. May God comfort you in your sorrow.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New Additions

There have been some new additions lately that I would like to draw attention to:

First, many thanks to Jennifer for sharing photos of her beautiful baby girl Ava May with us. Ava's photographs may be seen on the Photographs page. She was approximately 16 weeks when she departed this life.

Second, many additional thanks to Amelia for sharing a true labor of love. She started to write the birth story of her son Micah but it turned into a site of its own. Micah departed this life at the age of approximately 14-15 weeks and was born several weeks later at home after misoprostol induction. She was attended by a midwife. The links to Micah's story can be found on the Your Stories page and The Actual Process page (because of the wonderful medical details included). In addition, because Amelia included the narrative of Micah's burial and the memorial services I have linked to her blog on the Prayers and Liturgics page. Needless to say, Micah's photographs can be seen on the Photographs page. Additional photographs are viewable on her blog.

I can't express to you how grateful I am for the generosity of people sharing their precious babies on this site! So many women have been helped and are continuing to be helped by what can be found here.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Change can happen

I'm cross posting this from my other site. This was an amazing comment made by willfulmina this evening on this post (about Fr. Peter Gilquist's miscarriage paper):

I just wanted to let you know that after reading this post, I had a long discussion on the subject with my husband, who is a seminarian at Jordanville. I was really heartbroken over the wording used in the prayers, and felt strongly that more needed to be done for the grieving families who have suffered such a devastating loss. In situations like this, he tends to defend the church wholeheartedly and sometimes does not understand why I can't accept that this is the way things are done. We didn't really come to an understanding, but laid our differences aside and tried to forget about them.

A few days later, one of my husband's professors e-mailed and requested that everyone come up with questions to ask at a round table discussion at the clergy conference, which was being held in Jordanville. My husband surprised me when he told me that one of his questions had to do with miscarriage. He asked specifically about what the Church teaches, what services priests can serve, how they should minister to the grieving families, etc. When the questions were read aloud, no one volunteered to answer them. It seems the questions stumped all of the ROCOR priests in attendance. One priest remarked, "We have services for everything--except for this." One told about a family who lost a baby and stopped coming to church because he could not serve a funeral for their baby. One priest remarked that the funeral service, which is all about forgiving the sins of the departed, is irrelevant for an innocent baby. Met. Hilarion spoke about a young woman who recently lost her overdue baby, and how they served a service written by her grandfather, and said that he would speak to the Synod of Bishops about adopting that as the official service. My husband's professor later told him that many priests were grateful that question was asked, because they had struggled with it themselves over the years. I just wanted to thank you for sparking all of that and let you know what this post led to.

I mean, wow. Change is happening. Glory to God.

Review of paper can be found here.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review of "An Orthodox Pastoral Approach to Miscarriage" by Fr. Peter J. Gillquist

I have been very privileged to read a copy of Fr. Peter Jon Gillquist's thesis entitled, “An Orthodox Pastoral Approach to Miscarriage”*. With his permission I would like to share parts of it with you here.

How came Fr. Peter to write on this topic? From the introduction:

“On the morning of Holy Thursday, 2003, following the celebration of the institution of the Mystical Supper, my wife Kristina suffered a miscarriage. Prior to this day, I had not given much thought to losing a baby. I remembered vividly the time my sister’s son had died in the womb at five months – the footprints taken at the hospital, the tiny casket at the cemetery, and the devastating months of tears that followed – but this was the first time I had experienced the harsh reality myself: my child had died.” (p. 2)

Fr. Peter then began a journey through the rocky terrain of pregnancy loss. He wanted to bury his child, but where? Who would do it? Who could guide him on this unfamiliar journey? His parish priest was kind but couldn't offer help. In the end his child Zoe was buried at a monastery in an area created just for this purpose (on the occasion of Zoe's burial).

Friday, March 8, 2013

New Page: "Picking up the pieces..."

I just started a new page called "Picking up the pieces..." It is not complete and I will need your help to expand it. It addresses the questions that come after the initial shock and activity. Questions like, "will it ever get better? When?" Because everyone experiences something a little different your contributions are very valuable. Please leave comments on that page sharing with everyone what your experiences were. I will gradually add more content to the page.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Upcoming: "An Orthodox Pastoral Approach to Miscarriage"

I have been very blessed to read a paper sent to me by Fr. Peter Jon Gillquist entitled, "An Orthodox Pastoral Approach to Miscarriage". I believe it is yet unpublished and I will probably be seeking permission to post it here on Lost Innocents. It is a very good work and I want it to be read widely. I have written a review and will be posting that here as soon as I have permission from Fr. Peter. As Orthodox we stand up for the rights of the unborn but we do not have a universal, compassionate policy regarding the treatment of babies who die before birth. This needs to change. I hope that in publicizing the work by Fr. Peter I can help effect that change.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Personal Tragedy and Separation from God

Bishop Michael (Dahulich) of New York and New Jersey writes a beautiful article on how horrible tragedy cannot separate us from the love of Christ. I knew Bp. Michael when he was Fr. Michael, a teacher at St. Tikhon's seminary. He was loving and kind, the only person in the seminary to acknowledge me (a seminary wife) as a person. We still receive Christmas cards from him. I had heard his history and when during our first Pascha at the seminary we were all getting our baskets ready to be blessed I saw him alone with his small, solitary basket, I nearly burst into tears. I wondered how he did it, how he managed not to become bitter, how he continued with his priestly ministry. I never asked him, feeling it was to hard a subject to bring up.

This morning I read the article. Here is an excerpt:

I loved being in church, and I loved what I was doing in church – especially serving in the Altar and learning about the Faith. So it was only logical for me to want to become an imitation of my parish priest, Fr. Stephen Dutko of blessed memory, so that I could have, and give, that same kind of experience. I wanted to be like Father Stephen.

And so I did. I went to seminary right after college. I got married and ordained at 22 years old. I was assigned to my first parish, Saints Peter and Paul Church in Homer City, PA, and I was raring to go.

Then it all changed. After 29 days of marriage, my wife and I were in a car accident. She was killed instantly. I was in the hospital – in a coma. I came out months later, confused and bitter, guilt ridden and doubting. I was feeling all those kinds of things that a person would feel in that horrific situation. Why did God let this happen? It had to be somebody’s fault. All the confusion, all the anger, definitely made me think about not being a priest anymore.

When you lose a baby you can feel the same anger and doubt. It must be somebody's fault! Who can I be angry at? Some people choose to be angry at the medical personnel, some people choose to be angry at God, and some people choose to be angry at themselves. The truth is, no matter which way you go, you're still going to feel personal guilt and you're still going to be somewhat angry at God, and all of these separate us from God, the Person who can help us the most.

I encourage you to read Bp. Michael's article. He says at the bottom that he is "living proof" and having seen him many years after that tragedy, I can tell you I'd much rather be like Bp. Michael than a bitter old woman, still nursing her hurts.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Wee Hats for Wee Heads

21 little hats for Calvin's Hats. I wish I could knit them because they'd be softer and stretchier, but for the tiniest hats it doesn't matter - they're not designed to be worn.
The egg is for scale.

I really like this one.

The tiniest one.

Boys' hats

Non-gender specific hats

Girls' hats

A "just for fun" hat. (:

Largest and smallest

Friday, January 11, 2013


I have so, so many people come to Lost Innocents to see the photographs. I know while most people are looking because they have lost a baby or are currently losing one, for some it's idle curiosity. I don't mind because they will then be exposed to the beauty of God's creation. Coming upon this site by "chance" isn't even that because there is a reason for everything. There are people who have told me that they found Lost Innocents and when they later experienced a miscarriage they had somewhere to turn. God forbid I should suggest that if you are reading this you are meant to lose a baby. Nonsense. But what if your friend or someone else you know does? People have also told me that they were able to send their sister or cousin to this site when needed.

Given that so many people are positively affected by seeing these exquisite babies, please help if you can by assisting me to complete that page. There are many weeks gestation still left blank. A computer model of a baby is no substitute for seeing an actual baby cradled in a parent's hand. I have never received a negative comment either here or by email from someone who didn't like the photographs. People have always been extremely grateful. Some women said they were finally at peace seeing what the baby they had lost many years (sometimes decades) ago would have looked like.

Could you please help make the photographs page a more complete one? Please contact me by email (lostinnocentsorthodox (at) gmail (dot) com) if you think you might want to help. I appreciate more than you can imagine the generosity of all the parents who have already shared their precious children with us.

Thank you.

(In addition, if you would like to share the story of your pregnancy and baby's birth, I would be honored to include it on the "your stories" page.)