Those baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church are eligible for a church funeral service.
It is common for a viewing to take place the day before the funeral at the funeral home or mortuary. During this time, the priest prays the Trisagion Service for the deceased and the family. “Trisagion” means “Thrice-Holy,” and is so named because the prayer, “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us,” is repeated three times.
The funeral service is held at a Greek Orthodox Church The service can be scheduled on any day except Sundays or Holy Saturday. The service includes readings, prayers and hymns. After the prayer, the priest offers a sermon to give inspirational messages to the mourners regarding life and death. To personalize the service, he may also use this opportunity to share personal information about the deceased.
The casket is placed facing east with the feet toward the altar. Commonly, there is an open casket to allow mourners to view the deceased, pay last respects and give a farewell kiss, also referred to as ”the last kiss”. After the funeral each mourner passes by the casket before exiting the church.
At the gravesite, the Trisagion Service is performed once again, after which the deceased is lowered into the ground facing East. The priest may also seal the casket with oil and sand.
A custom — though not a requirement — of the Greek Orthodox funeral is to have a luncheon called Makaria following the burial. Fish is often served as the main dish at the luncheon, though the menu is up to the family. Any needs for a Makaria at St. Nick’s should be communicated to the Event Coordinator, as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving a voice message through the Church Office.
Memorial services are held, usually beginning 40 days after the funeral, as an expression to God for His mercy, and also as a remembrance of the deceased. The Trisagion Service can be offered after one year and at any time the family wants. When these services take place, the Office Manager can assist the family with information regarding sponsoring coffee after church, or making arrangements for Kolyva, the traditional boiled wheat dish which is offered in commemoration for the deceased.
For more information, please contact Father Bender through the Church Office at (412) 682-3866.