Funeral services are permitted on any day of the year, except for Sundays and Holy Friday.
Regardless of the time of day, a family member should notify the parish priest as soon as one falls asleep in the Lord. All funeral arrangements should be made with the parish priest prior to their confirmation and publication in the newspaper. Please note that the Orthodox Church stipulates that:
1. The deceased must be a baptized Orthodox Christian for the funeral rite to be offered.
2. Except in extreme circumstances to be determined by the parish priest, the casket must be open during the funeral service. (The funeral service is a narrative of the deceased speaking to those in attendance. Closing the casket contradicts this theme and therefore is not acceptable.)
3. The Church does not grant funerals to those persons who choose to be cremated. (Orthodox theology is based upon the Resurrection of the soul and body. Our confession of faith in the Creed says: “and I await the Resurrection of the dead and of the life of the age to come. Amen.” Cremation is a violent act against the body which has been given to us by God. It therefore seeks to oppose God by altering the natural processes established by nature.)
4. A Trisagion Service (a brief prayer service) is read at the funeral home the night before the funeral. The Funeral Service itself may only be read in the church. The Funeral Service is not permitted to be read at the funeral home.
5. Only the priest is permitted to offer prayers for the deceased in the church. In addition, only the priest is permitted to offer a eulogy in the Church during the funeral service. Family members who wish to give a eulogy may do so at the Trisagion Service the night preceding the funeral or at the makaria.
6. Makaria (Internment Meal) – Traditionally, the main entree of the makaria includes fish. The Holy Gospels reveal to us that after Christ’s own Resurrection He shared a meal consisting of fish with His disciples (Luke 24:41-43; John:21:1-14.) This meal is a symbol of the Resurrection in that it displays the belief in the power of God who triumphed over death. If you wish to offer a variety of entrees, please include fish as one of them. Paximathia, brandy or Metaxa also have become a custom upon arrival at the makaria.
7. In lieu of flowers, many families prefer to have contributions made to Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in memory of the deceased. If this is your desire, it should be included in the obituary and the funeral director instructed to secure memorial donation cards from the Church narthex.