Question: I prepared for Confession, and wrote my sins on a piece of paper. In the church there were lots of people, and the Batiushka didn’t have the possibility of listening to me or reading my piece of paper. The prayer of absolution was read over me, but the priest did not know what I had written. In such a case do I need to confess these sins once again, or are they already forgiven by the Lord?
Answer: In order to receive forgiveness of sins from God, one needs to have in the soul a sincere penitential feeling and confess one’s transgressions. St John of Kronstadt wrote: “The Master, as the Seer of Hearts, knows that people are inclined to all extreme falls, and having fallen, often get up, therefore he gave the commandment to forgive falls into sin; and He Himself is the first to fulfill His holy word: as soon as you say from your heart ‘I repent’ – at that moment you’re forgiven” (My Life in Christ). You had penitence, you named your sins to God, the priest read the prayer of absolution – that means your transgressions are forgiven. You don’t need to repent of them further. Another time, when there aren’t so many people, the priest can read your piece of paper with your sins, perhaps, and ask questions and give beneficial advice.