Author Topic: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?  (Read 2526 times)

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Offline 88Devin12

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Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« on: July 05, 2010, 09:01:47 PM »
I was wondering the other day if cremated Orthodox can receive Orthodox funerals. I know in places like Japan it is required, but for everywhere else, it's a personal choice. I was at an event with other Orthodox Christians the other day, and someone talked about how they were upset that a close relative (who had faithfully served as an acolyte/altar boy for many years) was cremated, and that the Orthodox Priests refused to perform a funeral (I think they finally found one that would though). Someone else said that they felt that if it is okay for Japanese Orthodox to allowed to be cremated, then the rest of us should be allowed to be cremated. They then cited that when we die, our souls separate from our bodies and it shouldn't matter since God can put us back together in the end...

What is the official Orthodox practice though? Do cremated Orthodox Christians still receive an Orthodox funeral?
« Last Edit: July 05, 2010, 09:11:00 PM by 88Devin12 »

Offline Cymbyz

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Re: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2010, 09:42:11 PM »
It would ultimately be the bishop's call, based on whether the deceased was cremated by accident (e.e., plane crash) or against his express will (e.g., ornery relative), or by his own will.  In the latter case:  no funeral; in the former two, perhaps.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2010, 09:50:15 PM »
It would ultimately be the bishop's call, based on whether the deceased was cremated by accident (e.e., plane crash) or against his express will (e.g., ornery relative), or by his own will.  In the latter case:  no funeral; in the former two, perhaps.
No funeral?  On what authority?
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Offline Keble

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Re: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2010, 11:35:12 PM »
Why are we having this run of scrupulosity questions? Refusing to bury people, refusing to read scripture at a funeral-- what is with the urge to make an example of people dying?

Offline 88Devin12

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Re: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2010, 12:11:06 AM »
Why are we having this run of scrupulosity questions? Refusing to bury people, refusing to read scripture at a funeral-- what is with the urge to make an example of people dying?
??? I don't understand how an honest question is "making an example" of anything...

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2010, 12:36:24 AM »
Why are we having this run of scrupulosity questions? Refusing to bury people, refusing to read scripture at a funeral-- what is with the urge to make an example of people dying?

How does this particular Orthodox Faith issue pertain to you that you feel the need to ask such a question?
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Offline Orual

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Re: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2010, 09:07:10 AM »
It would ultimately be the bishop's call, based on whether the deceased was cremated by accident (e.e., plane crash) or against his express will (e.g., ornery relative), or by his own will.  In the latter case:  no funeral; in the former two, perhaps.

I think that's right.  Sometimes someone who was willfully cremated will have the Trisagion prayers of mercy, but often they don't get anything.  They won't even commemorate the deceased during the prayers for the departed in the Divine Liturgy. 

Cremation is treated rather like suicide - funerals are traditionally not given, but are allowed with some kind of mitigating circumstances.  And the Orthodox objection to cremation seems to see it in similar terms to suicide, too.  God can certainly put the body back together, as He will for bodies that have turned to dust, but that's not really the point.  Cremation defiles the body, which is holy.  To say the body is unimportant is to deny the Orthodox faith.  And to deliberately have your body defiled after your death can be viewed as an explicit rejection of the Orthodox faith similar to suicide.

This really brings to bear the importance of following the Church rather than listening to the ways of the world:  the secular individual might not see the difference between cremation and burial as being all that significant, but the Christian will see all the difference in the world.
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2010, 09:27:14 AM »
Cremation defiles the body, which is holy. 
Isn't the question of defilement a cultural one? Some cultures might see fire as purifying the body.
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Offline GregoryLA

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Re: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2010, 09:51:14 AM »
A slight correction...

I'm not sure what you meant by cremation being required in Japan, but it's not a legal requirement.  I have heard it is very expensive to bury, but it's not unheard of.  I actually brought this up with some of my Japanese friends and one of them said he has a friend whose family buries- it's just the way they do things and I don't think they are Christian.  I was really surprised to hear that because I have never heard of people burying here- and neither had my Japanese girlfriend- but then I asked one of my classes at school and one of the girls in the class said one of her grandmothers was buried and not cremated. 

I've actually been meaning to ask our priest about this, I just don't want it to come across the wrong way.  But I do wonder how common burial is among the Orthodox here.  I'm sure its rare none the less, though.

Offline GregoryLA

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Re: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2010, 10:06:51 AM »
Sorry to further derail the thread but after looking at the Japanese wikipedia article on burial, I found out the following info. on burial in Japan...

1) In 1873 the Meiji gov't banned cremation in opposition to Buddhist cremation practices (at the urging of the Shintoists).

2) Approx. two years later in 1875 the ban was lifted for reasons of both sanitation and space.

3) Up until the later 1920s/early 1930s burial was still more common.

4) While both cremation and burial are technically legal except in cases involving infectious diseases, burial is banned by local gov'ts in places like Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

5) That the Japanese royal family is still buried and not cremated, though it is ultimately up to the individual except in the case of the Emperor and Empress.

Offline Orual

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Re: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2010, 11:25:52 AM »
Cremation defiles the body, which is holy.
Isn't the question of defilement a cultural one? Some cultures might see fire as purifying the body.

The body is holy because it has been purified by the Holy Spirit.  What earthly fire could possibly "purify" the body more than that?  

Furthermore, cremation is based on the destruction of the body, not somehow "purifying" it.  The large bone fragments left over from the burning of the body have to be pulverized by machine.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2010, 11:29:33 AM by Orual »
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Offline stashko

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Re: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2010, 06:32:53 PM »
My Sister Cremated Her husband ,,But For A Funeral To Happen, The Body Had to be Present ,Then Cremation After, that's what the  Fr. told Her..She Chose to Have  Prayer's Said, While He was Dying In the hospital....Then She Had Him Cremated...So No Funeral.... ???
ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.

Offline Jetavan

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Re: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2010, 06:58:04 PM »
My Sister Cremated Her husband ,,But For A Funeral To Happen, The Body Had to be Present ,Then Cremation After, that's what the  Fr. told Her..She Chose to Have  Prayer's Said, While He was Dying In the hospital....Then She Had Him Cremated...So No Funeral.... ???
Some people have the funeral first, then the cremation afterwards.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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Offline stashko

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Re: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2010, 07:22:51 PM »
My Sister Cremated Her husband ,,But For A Funeral To Happen, The Body Had to be Present ,Then Cremation After, that's what the  Fr. told Her..She Chose to Have  Prayer's Said, While He was Dying In the hospital....Then She Had Him Cremated...So No Funeral.... ???
Some people have the funeral first, then the cremation afterwards.

I don't think the church does funerals, without the body It has to be present Other wise it just a memorial service....In my sisters case the Fr. Must of absolved or pronounced absolution on him in the hospital..Or When the body is present in church the Fr. absolves the body or pronounces Absolution Forgivness of all the sin's it done in life...
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Can the cremated receive Orthodox funerals?
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2010, 07:25:02 PM »
My Sister Cremated Her husband ,,But For A Funeral To Happen, The Body Had to be Present ,Then Cremation After, that's what the  Fr. told Her..She Chose to Have  Prayer's Said, While He was Dying In the hospital....Then She Had Him Cremated...So No Funeral.... ???
Some people have the funeral first, then the cremation afterwards.

I don't think the church does funerals, without the body It has to be present Other wise it just a memorial service...
Yes, it's possible to have a funeral with a body, then the cremation afterwards.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.