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.
If one of your loved ones is about to pass away, it is important to immediately contact YOUR
PRIEST via phone or email him at so that he may come to the family and perform the last
rights. This includes the offering of Holy Confession, Holy Communion, and prayers.
If your loved one has already passed away, again it is imperative to contact YOUR PRIEST
immediately (BEFORE YOU CONTACT A FUNERAL HOME) so that he may advise the family on
proper Orthodox burial traditions.
1. Arrangements for the funeral service should be made with the priest in conjunction with the
2. No funerals are permitted on Sundays, the day of the Resurrection of our Lord.
3. The priest should conduct a Trisagion (viewing with prayers) at the Church on the evening
before the funeral. Many funeral homes will try to encourage families to do the viewing at the
funeral home. This is done in an effort to illicit more money from you. The more traditional
Orthodox way is to do the viewing at the church and then to leave the body at the church
overnight until the funeral the next day.
4. No lay person is permitted to deliver a funeral oration (eulogy) in the Church.The
Archdiocese explicitly prohibits lay people from speaking in Church. During the funeral the
priest will deliver a sermon and any personal eulogies may be given at the mercy meal
(Makaria) in the hall, after the internment.
Items needed for the funeral (to be brought by family):
1. Wine (a small bottle).
2. Oil (a small bottle).
3. Kolyva (boiled wheat)
4. Savano (white sheet to be used as a burial shroud in the coffin).
Although nothing in the Orthodox tradition requires the faithful to donate their organs to others,
never the less, this practice may be considered an act of love, and as such is encouraged. The
decision to donate a duplicate organ, such as a kidney, while the donor is living, requires much
consideration and should be made in consultation with medical professionals and one’s
spiritual father. The donation of an organ from a deceased person is also an act of love that
helps to make possible for the recipient a longer, fuller life. Such donations are acceptable if
the deceased donor had willed such action, or if surviving relatives permit it providing that it
was in harmony with the desires of the deceased. Such actions can be approved as an
expression of love and if they express the self-determination of the donor. In all cases, respect
for the body of the donor should be maintained.
Organ transplants should never be commercialized, coerced, take place without proper
consent, nor place in jeopardy the life of the donor or recipient, such as the use of animal
organs. Neither should the death of the donor be hastened in order to harvest organs for
transplantation to another person.
Because the Orthodox Faith affirms the fundamental goodness of creation, it understands the
body to be an integral part of the human person and the temple of the Holy Spirit, and expects
the resurrection of the dead. The Church considers cremation to be the deliberate desecration
and destruction of what God has made and ordained for us. The Church instead insists that the
body be buried so that the natural physical process of decomposition may take place. The
Church does not grant funerals, either in the sanctuary, or at the funeral home, or at any other
place, to persons who have chosen to be cremated. Additionally, memorial services with kolyva
(boiled wheat) are not allowed in such instances, inasmuch as the similarity between the
“kernel of wheat” and the “body” has been intentionally destroyed. For further information and
guidance do not hesitate to contact YOUR PARISH PRIEST.