Funerals

Funeral services are conducted only for those people who are Orthodox Christians in regular Canonical and Spiritual standing with the Church. In other words, only those people who have been Baptized and Chrismated in the Orthodox Church and have had their marriage blessed in the Orthodox Church are eligible for an Orthodox Christian Funeral.

Should there be a death in the family, the following steps should be taken:

1. Immediately notify the family doctor or the County Medical Examiner if the death occurs at home. He must examine the deceased and sign the death certificate. The body cannot be removed otherwise.
2. Call the priest.
3. Call the funeral director of your choice.

Funeral Arrangements:

1. Arrangements for the funeral service should be made with the priest in conjunction with the funeral director.
2. No funerals are permitted on Sunday, the day of the Resurrection of our Lord.
3. The priest will conduct a Trisagion on the evening before the funeral.
4. No lay person is permitted to deliver a funeral oration in the Church. The Archdiocese explicitly prohibits lay people speaking in Church unless they are lay preachers designated by the Archdiocese.
5. Funeral services conducted by lay organizations, although discouraged, may be held the evening before the funeral and prior to the Trisagion conducted by the priest. However, from the time of the evening Trisagion to the committal at the cemetery, no other services may be held.

A Funeral Service May Not Be Held in Cases of:

Suicide — As no one is permitted to take the life of another, likewise no one is permitted to take his/her own life; that is, suicide is viewed by the Church as self-murder and consequently as grave sin. Only when a doctor certifies that such a person had lost his/her sanity and when permission of the Bishop is given can a Church funeral be held.

Cremation — Cremation is absolutely forbidden by the Church as being blasphemous to the body of man which is “the temple of the Holy Spirit”. Cremation is contrary to the faith and tradition of our Church and is forbidden to Orthodox Christians. A Church funeral is denied a person who has been or will be cremated.

Memorial Donations

Some families prefer Memorial Donations to flowers. If this is the choice of the family, mention should be made to the funeral director so that notification can be placed in the Obituary. Acknowledgments to the donors are made by the Church Office and a list sent to the family.

Makaria (Meal of Blessedness) - Funeral Luncheon

The Makaria meal following the funeral service serves as a means of comforting the bereaved family and expressing thanks to those who attended the services or assisted the bereaved family in their hour of grief.

Memorial Services

If you desire to have a Memorial Service for a departed loved one you should make arrangements with the church office at least two weeks prior to the day desired.

Memorial Services are not held:

1. All Holy Days of our Lord (Despotikai Eortai): Christmas, Epiphany, Pascha, Transfiguration, etc.
2. From the Saturday of Lazarus to and including St. Thomas Sunday
3. Pentecost Sunday
4. August 15

Memorial Services are usually held on the:

1. 40th day
2. Sixth month
3. First year
4. Third year
5. Saturday of the Souls set aside throughout the Church Year

What you should bring:

1. Koliva, call the church office if you want someone to make the Koliva
2. Prosphora (prosfora/prosforon), if desired
3. List of names to be commemorated (print first name only)

Message from Fr Gary

Fr Gary

God’s Holy Word


A great benefit of spending time at summer camp is the opportunity to disconnect from technology. Not having a phone or internet connection gets you excited to receive mail. A great joy is receiving a (good old fashioned) letter from home. The delight in holding an envelope with the familiar handwriting of a loved one is a highlight for all the staff, counselors and campers. Everyone gets electrified when they get mail (real, handwritten, stamped envelope mail).

One afternoon at St. Sophia Camp, the Director handed me a small envelope sent to me from Christie. I took it, looked at it and put it in my pocket. “You gonna read it?” He asked. I nodded, smiled and walked to the chapel to prepare for evening vespers. I placed it on the altar and put my vestments on for the service.

Vespers ended and the kids were excited to go up the hill to mail call, anticipating their own letters and packages. Prior to their leaving the chapel I shared with them the unopened envelope from my wife. I asked, “What if I just set this letter from my wife on my night stand and never opened or read it?” The responses were touching and hilarious.

One little guy said, “I think you should read it, it will make you happy!” Another jokingly said, “You might end up sleeping on the couch if you don’t.” An older teen girl said, “That’s just coldhearted, what if...

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