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General Forums => Christian News => Topic started by: SolEX01 on October 12, 2008, 02:09:37 PM

Title: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: SolEX01 on October 12, 2008, 02:09:37 PM
The Synod also decided to make Religious Education optional in the Public Schools rather than compulsory.

From the Athens News Agency (http://www.hri.org/news/greek/ana/2008/08-10-06.ana.html#13):

A Holy Synod session of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece, chaired by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos, were concluded on Saturday evening.

Ieronymos informed the plenum on an education ministry initiative to end the compulsory teaching of religion classes in primary and secondary schools.

According to ministry circular, Orthodox and non-Orthodox pupils are not obliged to attend the lessons and may request their exemption without submitting any reason.

The issue was thoroughly discussed by the Holy Synod metropolitans (bishops), who agreed over a decision to send a letter to Education Minister expressing their concerns.

Ecclesiastical leaders also decided to consider the issue of cremation at a next meeting of the Holy Synod.
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: Asteriktos on October 12, 2008, 04:53:21 PM
Good, I hope they begin to allow it.
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: ozgeorge on October 12, 2008, 04:58:52 PM
I doubt they will allow cremation.
At present, most burial plots are leased in Greece, with the family/friends responsible for the exhuming of the relics after 10 years, and the burial plot is used again, so there is no pressing issue about running out of burial ground as there is here in Australia.
Cremations are legal in Greece, and do take place, but the Orthodox Church does not permit them for Orthodox Christians.
The other issue is that even if the Church of Greece permits them, the Ecumenical Patriarchate does not and is responsible for the jurisdiction of half the Church in Greece. The Church of Greece will not make such a move without the Ecumenical Patriarchate agreeing so as to avoid a worsening of relations with the EP.
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: GiC on October 12, 2008, 06:51:45 PM
I doubt they will allow cremation.
At present, most burial plots are leased in Greece, with the family/friends responsible for the exhuming of the relics after 10 years, and the burial plot is used again, so there is no pressing issue about running out of burial ground as there is here in Australia.
Cremations are legal in Greece, and do take place, but the Orthodox Church does not permit them for Orthodox Christians.
The other issue is that even if the Church of Greece permits them, the Ecumenical Patriarchate does not and is responsible for the jurisdiction of half the Church in Greece. The Church of Greece will not make such a move without the Ecumenical Patriarchate agreeing so as to avoid a worsening of relations with the EP.

Unless, of course, Constantinople is trying to push it through behind the scenes...not wanting to take flak directly.

But all that begs the question: how is Australia running out of burial ground...you guys have almost as much extra land as we Americans do.
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: SolEX01 on October 12, 2008, 06:57:09 PM
^ Most of Australia is desert wasteland save for the Springs and other nice parts of the Outback.   ;D
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: GiC on October 12, 2008, 07:01:31 PM
^ Most of Australia is desert wasteland save for the Springs and other nice parts of the Outback.   ;D

Ah, I see the problem...not enough land fertile enough to support the excessive demands of dead people. ;)
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: SolEX01 on October 12, 2008, 07:04:26 PM
I could be wrong in that the entire Australian continent is not desert wasteland save for the heavily populated coasts.

All a dead person needs is 6' x 6' per plot....

Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: ozgeorge on October 12, 2008, 08:19:35 PM
But all that begs the question: how is Australia running out of burial ground...you guys have almost as much extra land as we Americans do.

The trouble is that city plans do not allow for the increasing need for burial space within city limits in Australia. One creative suggestion has been to bury the dead in biodegradable shrouds or coffins and mark graves with trees instead of memorial stones etc which can then be turned into public open spaces and recreational areas. See http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/09/25/2374199.htm?section=australia
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: ialmisry on October 12, 2008, 08:23:25 PM
Good, I hope they begin to allow it.

Why?  What possible good would it serve?
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: ialmisry on October 12, 2008, 08:25:16 PM
But all that begs the question: how is Australia running out of burial ground...you guys have almost as much extra land as we Americans do.

The trouble is that city plans do not allow for the increasing need for burial space within city limits in Australia. One creative suggestion has been to bury the dead in biodegradable shrouds or coffins and mark graves with trees instead of memorial stones etc which can then be turned into public open spaces and recreational areas. See http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/09/25/2374199.htm?section=australia

LOL.  Did you see the final scene of "Poltergeist?"
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: ozgeorge on October 12, 2008, 08:28:57 PM
But all that begs the question: how is Australia running out of burial ground...you guys have almost as much extra land as we Americans do.

The trouble is that city plans do not allow for the increasing need for burial space within city limits in Australia. One creative suggestion has been to bury the dead in biodegradable shrouds or coffins and mark graves with trees instead of memorial stones etc which can then be turned into public open spaces and recreational areas. See http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/09/25/2374199.htm?section=australia

LOL.  Did you see the final scene of "Poltergeist?"

No. I never saw it. But I think I'd like to be buried in the way suggested with a living tree using me as fertilizer- that's about the only thing I'm good for anyway!
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: Eleos on October 12, 2008, 11:59:19 PM
I hope they appoint new bishops before they take this step.  A whole synod turned to ash?  I'm sure it's frustrating to be a a church hierarch in the post-modern world, but the faithful will still be there and someone needs to educate them.
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: 88Devin12 on October 16, 2008, 12:21:26 AM
Idea: Why not do as they did in the catacombs? (or similar burial sites)
"Bury" the person, then later, after the body has gone down to bones, collect the bones and place them in a smaller box in another location. The family could have a set spot for the temporary burial of their family members, then after time, the bones of their ancestors would be moved to a family (or public) burial site.

I'd think both sides kind of win... No cremation, and land isn't taken up as easily/quickly. Not to mention just like many cremation sites, the bones could be placed in a spot that is vertical as well as horizontal (that is, either up, down, or to any horizontal sides)...

If that makes any sense.
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: GiC on October 16, 2008, 01:11:48 AM
Idea: Why not do as they did in the catacombs? (or similar burial sites)
"Bury" the person, then later, after the body has gone down to bones, collect the bones and place them in a smaller box in another location. The family could have a set spot for the temporary burial of their family members, then after time, the bones of their ancestors would be moved to a family (or public) burial site.

I'd think both sides kind of win... No cremation, and land isn't taken up as easily/quickly. Not to mention just like many cremation sites, the bones could be placed in a spot that is vertical as well as horizontal (that is, either up, down, or to any horizontal sides)...

If that makes any sense.

For those who want that, great, that's basically what's already done in Greece...but there's no good reason not to at lest give people the option.
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: minasoliman on October 16, 2008, 01:17:54 AM
Since we don't like the idea of cremation, let's chop the bodies into pieces (since we already do this to saints), put them together in a smaller coffin, and save land space.

I understand in earlier debates, there was a problem with the way bodies were cremated.  So perhaps, we should demand a more ethical treatment?

Do bishops not understand that some people have financial problems?  They've accepted the idea of organ donations and bodily donations to science and medicine, but when it comes to cremation, pay up (except Japan, since only Billionaires can pay up).  Really?
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: GiC on October 16, 2008, 01:36:35 AM
Since we don't like the idea of cremation, let's chop the bodies into pieces (since we already do this to saints), put them together in a smaller coffin, and save land space.

I guess you can always go with a wood chipper instead of cremation...it would technically be allowed. ;)
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: LBK on October 16, 2008, 02:20:39 AM
I guess you can always go with a wood chipper instead of cremation...it would technically be allowed. ;)

... if a trifle messy ....
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: ozgeorge on October 16, 2008, 06:54:33 AM
Idea: Why not do as they did in the catacombs? (or similar burial sites)
"Bury" the person, then later, after the body has gone down to bones, collect the bones and place them in a smaller box in another location. The family could have a set spot for the temporary burial of their family members, then after time, the bones of their ancestors would be moved to a family (or public) burial site.
That is what they have been doing in Greece for centuries (see reply No. 2).
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on October 16, 2008, 08:28:55 AM
Quote
Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Well, I do hope they wait until they die first.
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: Thomas on October 16, 2008, 08:50:48 AM
As an Orthodox Christian I will of course follow whatever the teaching and practice is of the Church.

That being said, several Churches in the US have installed Columbariums (Repositories for  cremains) in the very walls of the Church or in Gardens of the Church with an outside altar to serve memorial "masses" or other heterodox liturgies for those who have reposed. These churches have enabled the cremains of dead of their church to be buried as it were within the Church, still subject to the prayers of the Church and with easy access to memeorial services being performed on All Saints and All Souls Day. They are not denying the Resurrection but rather seeking to be good stewards of the limited land available for cemetaries.  They do not seek to bury the members of their church family  with non-believers in  sites on the outskirts of town but rather in the bosom of the church they attended within the building and gardens of the church they loved and attended. These churches have sought not to sanitize death as is often in our culture but to make its very presence visible within the walls and gardens of the Church.

If the Orthodox Church were to allow cremation, we would need to consult the Church of Japan on how to do it respectfully and reverently, as due to civil law Japanese Orthodox Christians have to cremate their members. There wiould have to be a demand in the Orthodox Church that proper respects and dignity be followed, currently the process in the United States is disrespectful and even brutal with the pulverizing of cremains to powder and often the throwing away of cremains that do not fit the container into the trash.

Thomas
Title: Re: Church of Greece will consider cremation at Next Holy Synod Meeting
Post by: Fr. George on October 16, 2008, 08:54:37 AM
I don't see where it would be necessary.... outside of Athens, that is (where they probably have a shortage of burial plots and an excess number of people who wouldn't care.