Ending this Life’s Journey

FUNERAL SERVICE

The death of a Christian not only affects the family, but also the entire Church, for we are all part of the Body of Christ. The Orthodox Funeral Service, which expresses this fact, is not to be seen primarily as an opportunity to extol, in a sentimental way, the virtues of an individual. Rather, the various prayers and hymns emphasize the harsh reality of death, as well as the victorious Resurrection of Christ through which the power of death is conquered. The Funeral Service comforts those who mourn; it is also the means through which the Church prays for one of its members who has died in the faith of Christ. Orthodoxy views the end of physical existence only as the termination of one stage of life. God’s love is stronger than death, and the Resurrection of Christ bears witness to this power.The Orthodox Funeral consists of three Services. First, there is a Vigil Service after death, which is usually conducted at the time of the wake. This service is called the Trisagion Service. The Church prays to Christ “to give rest with the Saints to the soul of Your servant where there is neither pain, grief, nor sighing but life everlasting.” While the Church prays for the soul of the deceased, great respect is paid to the body. Orthodoxy believes the body of the Christian is sacred since it was the Temple of the Holy Spirit.The body will share also in the final restoration of all creation. The Funeral Service is continued at the Church, where the body is brought on the day of burial. Ideally, the Divine Liturgy is celebrated. After the Funeral Service, the congregation offers its Farewell to the deceased. The Trisaghion Service is repeated at the graveside.
Rev. Fr. Thomas Fitzgelad at http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7113

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS

In the event of death in the family, the Priest should be notified immediately to assist in the making of funeral arrangements. Funeral services are allowed any day of the week, except on Sunday. The church has no objection to autopsies for the sake of determining the cause of death or to the donation of any body organs (eyes, heart etc.) for transplants. However, full-body donations are not permitted.

The Trisagion Service is conducted at the funeral home on the evening before the funeral. Many families prefer, in lieu of flowers, to have contributions made to the church in memory of the deceased. A notice to this effect should be included in the newspaper death notice.

The “makaria” following the funeral service has no religious connotation whatsoever, and serves only as a means of comforting the bereaved and expressing thanks to those who attended the services or assisted the bereaved in their hour of grief.

                       

                       CANONICAL NOTE ABOUT FUNERALS:

  •        The Orthodox Church does not officiate funeral services for the Orthodox that choose to be cremated. However, as an exception and with the special permission of our Metropolitan we are allowed to offer a Trisagion Service at the Funeral Home for the comfort of the deceased’s family. In this case it is mandatory that the body of the deceased be there.
  •        The Orthodox Church does not officiate funeral services for the suicides.  For special cases (as sever depression of mental illness) our Metropolitan may be contacted for a canonical dispensation to allow a funeral service.

MEMORIAL SERVICE                      KOLIVA RECIPE

Death alters but does not destroy the bond of love and faith which exists among all the members of the Church. Orthodoxy believes that through our prayers, those “who have fallen asleep in the faith and the hope of the Resurrection” continue to have opportunity to grow closer to God. Therefore, the Church prays constantly for her members who have died in Christ. We place our trust in the love of God and the power of mutual love and forgiveness. We pray that God will forgive the sins of the faithful departed, and that He will receive them into the company of Saints in the heavenly Kingdom.The Orthodox Church remembers the departed in the prayers of every Divine Liturgy. Besides this, there is a Memorial Service in which the Church also remembers the dead. According to tradition, the Memorial Service is offered on the third, ninth, and fortieth day after a death, as well as on the yearly anniversary of the death. In addition to these times, the Memorial Service is always offered for all the faithful departed on four “Saturdays of the souls.” These are: the two Saturdays preceding Great Lent; the first Saturday of Great Lent; and, the Saturday before Pentecost. In the United States the Service is also offered on Memorial Day. When the Memorial Service is offered, it is customary for the family of the deceased to bring a dish of boiled wheat to the Church. The boiled wheat is placed on a table in the center of the nave during the Service. The wheat, known as kollyva, is a symbol of the Resurrection. When speaking of the Resurrection, our Lord said: “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)
Rev. Fr. Thomas Fitzgelad at http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7113

MEMORIAL SERVICES ARRANGEMENTS

Memorial Services are conducted in remembrance of our beloved on the third, ninth, fortieth day after death, on the sixth month and on the first , second and third anniversary. Boiled wheat (koliva), the offering bread (prosforon) and wine are offered for the Liturgy. The church office should be contacted (941 355-2616 or stbarbara34243@gmail.com) to assist you in setting the date for a memorial and to assist in the arrangements for the service.

For the preparation of Koliva and Memorial reception, please contact the Church Office at least two weeks prior to the date of the Memorial.

Memorial receptions in the Parish Hall following the services may be sponsored by the family in memory of their deceased.

CANONICAL NOTE ABOUT MEMORIAL SERVICES:

             1. Memorial Services are not held on:

  • All Holy Days of our Lord – Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Transfiguration
  • From the Saturday of Lazarus to, and including St. Thomas Sunday
  • On the Sunday of Pentecost
  • On August 15 – Dormition of the Theotokos

            2. Memorial Services are not offered for:

  • cremated former Orthodox
  • Non-Orthodox Christians. Even if they were married to an Orthodox spouse in the Orthodox Church. During our earthly life we have the choice to embrace and practice a certain faith. If at that time we don’t accept the Orthodox faith through the Holy Baptism or the Holy Confirmation that means we are not interested in the life of the Orthodox faith. It will be unfair to “force” any of the Orthodox practices or prayer on someone with different believes after he/she died.

While we follow these rules, we embrace the families in their grief and we are always available for meetings and counseling.