Poll

What do you think about Cremation? I am asking this by looking at this from our faith point of view?

Yes
No
I don't know
It depends
None of the above

Author Topic: What do you think about Cremation?  (Read 1309 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Elijah

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 384
  • God is love; be faithful un to death.
What do you think about Cremation?
« on: March 10, 2011, 01:06:39 PM »
This is a poll; choose one of the five options. But don't choose more than two, if you would like to pick two answers. But I don't believe some one could have more than two answers. If you have any suggestions please do so?
Holy Mary, You are the ladder of life. St. Yared
My sons/daughters, come and I will teach you the fear of God. Christ is light.
He watches everything high; He is the king  even over those in the water. Eyob 41:25

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 38,391
Re: What do you think about Cremation?
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2011, 01:14:18 PM »
This is a poll; choose one of the five options. But don't choose more than two, if you would like to pick two answers. But I don't believe some one could have more than two answers. If you have any suggestions please do so?
The answers don't match the question.

In general, not a Christian option: would you burn an icon?
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Online Justin Kissel

  • Formerly a *, now a ☆
  • Protospatharios
  • ****************
  • Posts: 30,947
  • Faith: Agnosticish
Re: What do you think about Cremation?
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2011, 01:15:25 PM »
This is a poll; choose one of the five options. But don't choose more than two, if you would like to pick two answers. But I don't believe some one could have more than two answers. If you have any suggestions please do so?
The answers don't match the question.

In general, not a Christian option: would you burn an icon?

No, but you might burn other holy things, if that was the only way to dispose of them (as opposed to just throwing them in the trash). I agree that the actual question being asked needs to be clarified, though...
"I try to be good hard worker man, but refrigemator so messy... so, so messy."

Offline orthonorm

  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,945
Re: What do you think about Cremation?
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2011, 03:08:06 PM »
This is a poll; choose one of the five options. But don't choose more than two, if you would like to pick two answers. But I don't believe some one could have more than two answers. If you have any suggestions please do so?
The answers don't match the question.

In general, not a Christian option: would you burn an icon?

Yes. I understand once an icon has deteriorated or severely damaged, at times you burn it. In fact, I've heard folks really have a hard time with parishes putting icons on flyers, because if they are not to be handle properly they ought to burnt, not just toss in the trash.

It seems to me the hesitance toward cremation is a matter of whether it reflects one' belief in a bodily resurrection. If the desire to cremate is out of lack of acceptance of the bodily resurrection, then it would be wrong. But if one believed in a bodily resurrection, but for other reason needs to be cremated it would not be a problem.

If you are in Japan, you get cremated.



Ignorance is not a lack, but a passion.

Offline Punch

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,801
Re: What do you think about Cremation?
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2011, 03:52:08 PM »
I personally have no problem with it.  Having my body burnt and my ashes kept with the family or having it dumped into a hole in the ground has absolutely no impact on what I believe about the resurrection.  God created my body out of one microscopic sperm and an egg, he can remake it out of ashes.  I don't believe that God is limited by our superstisions and imagined beliefs.  However, this ranks along with many things about the Church where I simply push the "I believe" button and go along with things out of "obedience".
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline podkarpatska

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,152
  • Pokrov
    • ACROD (home)
Re: What do you think about Cremation?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2011, 12:24:51 PM »
I personally have no problem with it.  Having my body burnt and my ashes kept with the family or having it dumped into a hole in the ground has absolutely no impact on what I believe about the resurrection.  God created my body out of one microscopic sperm and an egg, he can remake it out of ashes.  I don't believe that God is limited by our superstisions and imagined beliefs.  However, this ranks along with many things about the Church where I simply push the "I believe" button and go along with things out of "obedience".

Wow, I think we actually sort of agree for once!  ;)

I would add that if a person is cremated as a way to deny the physical resurrection then he or she is not part of the Church.

However, if that is not the case I agree with Punch. If it is the practice in their country, or if economics leaves the family little choice then I think 'economia' should come into play. I know that this is hardly a traditionalist POV but it is worth thinking about as burial practices certainly have changed over the centuries and have varied during history on account of demographics and economic status of the deceased.

As St. John Damascene observes in his Second Ode,  "Like a blossom that wastes away, and like a dream that passes and is gone, so is every mortal into dust resolved; but again, when the trumpet sounds its call, as though at a quaking of the earth, all the dead shall arise and go forth to meet You, O Christ our God: on that day, O Lord, for him (her) whom You have withdrawn from among us appoint a place in the tentings of Your Saints;yea, for the spirit of Your servant, O Christ."  http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/funeral2

That being said however, I too would push the "I believe' button out of obedience to the teachings and the practice of the Church.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 12:25:31 PM by podkarpatska »

Offline SolEX01

  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 12,129
    • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Metropolis of New Jersey
Re: What do you think about Cremation?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2011, 01:35:59 AM »
We have Saints (EO) who have been preserved without corruption for 5 Centuries.

I'll take my earthly burial.   :)

Offline Altar Server

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 978
  • Holy Father Seraphim, Pray to God for us!
Re: What do you think about Cremation?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2011, 02:19:59 AM »
While I would say if local tradition or financial means dictate it it would be acceptable the body would have to be present for the funeral.
All my hope I place in you, O Mother of God, keep me under your protection!

Offline Orual

  • Orthodoxy = 7, not 3
  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 954
  • I'm just here for the food.
Re: What do you think about Cremation?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2011, 03:06:37 AM »
Cremation is not a mere acceleration of natural decomposition.  Your flesh is burned away (some of it going into the atmosphere), and then your bones are pulverized.

In the Orthodox Church, cremation can be allowed by economy for a pressing reason, such as a body that is already mostly burned (such as a person who died in an accident by fire), an epidemic, or being in Japan where burials are simply not feasible for most people.  However, cremation has traditionally been fully and fervently rejected as a desecration of the temple of the Holy Spirit, and those who deliberately choose cremation are usually denied Orthodox funerals.  A priest with a dying person who demands cremation might not even say prayers by their deathbed, as their intention for cremation places them outside the Church.  Cremation is not something to be trifled with.
He spoke it as kindly and heartily as could be; as if a man dashed a gallon of cold water in your broth and never doubted you'd like it all the better. 

- C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
f.k.a. Matron.a

Offline NorthernPines

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 934
Re: What do you think about Cremation?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2011, 06:59:01 AM »
This is a poll; choose one of the five options. But don't choose more than two, if you would like to pick two answers. But I don't believe some one could have more than two answers. If you have any suggestions please do so?
The answers don't match the question.

In general, not a Christian option: would you burn an icon?

No but we do burn the Eucharist when it's spilled to an extant that it's impossible to lick up off the floor.

Offline LMarieB

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: What do you think about Cremation?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2011, 06:31:10 PM »
I would prefer cremation.  However, since I'm becoming Orthodox, I plan to be buried.

Offline bogdan

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,615
Re: What do you think about Cremation?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2011, 07:29:25 PM »
Cremation is not a mere acceleration of natural decomposition.  Your flesh is burned away (some of it going into the atmosphere), and then your bones are pulverized.

In the Orthodox Church, cremation can be allowed by economy for a pressing reason, such as a body that is already mostly burned (such as a person who died in an accident by fire), an epidemic, or being in Japan where burials are simply not feasible for most people.  However, cremation has traditionally been fully and fervently rejected as a desecration of the temple of the Holy Spirit, and those who deliberately choose cremation are usually denied Orthodox funerals.  A priest with a dying person who demands cremation might not even say prayers by their deathbed, as their intention for cremation places them outside the Church.  Cremation is not something to be trifled with.

Yes, cremation as a process is extremely disrespectful to the human body. (As is embalming.) While economia may be liberally distributed here in the West, the long-standing teaching of the Church is burial only, and like Orual said, in normal circumstances it is enough to prevent a Christian burial (and the prayers and final absolution that goes with it).

Economics and cost is really not an acceptable excuse for deviation from Church teaching. According to some brief Google checking, cremation costs range from about $1000-3000 (though it seems you can get subsidized ones from a cremation society for $500). Cemetery plots vary greatly (it is real estate, after all), but Arcadia, Florida has them for $750. And if you're willing to do the legwork, you can petition your local government to have private property zoned for burial, and that would cost nothing.

So, cremation and traditional burial do not have significantly different costs. And we have loving parish churches—if someone can't afford to be buried, then the parish is there to help. We don't just toss each other to the wind at death. That is why burial is so important: the body isn't an empty wrapper, it is an integral part of the person, which needs to be cared for properly.

We don't trifle with our spiritual lives in life, we shouldn't in death either. How much money in our lifetimes do we spend on icons, books, candles, potlucks, and the rest? Considering we're all going to die eventually, it is prudent to plan for our own deaths. We are doing so spiritually, so why not materially as well?

And if we can't, there are ample people around us, our family in Christ, who can step in to help. Burial of the dead is one of our Christian duties and acts of mercy for others, and it would be cold-hearted indeed for a parish to send a person to the incinerator because of something as silly as money.

And if a person is simply defiant and refuses burial because of some prideful streak, well, Lord have mercy on them. Their last act being a refusal to submit to the Church would be quite unfortunate and sad.

There are very few excuses, at least in North America, to not be buried.

(As an aside: If anything, more parishes should have graveyards on-site. There is a mission parish here, which has passed up several Protestant buildings because they prefer to save for a large piece of land so they can have a graveyard. That is most commendable, in my opinion.)
« Last Edit: March 17, 2011, 07:38:40 PM by bogdan »

Offline Dart

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 655
Re: What do you think about Cremation?
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2011, 11:24:47 PM »
We have Saints (EO) who have been preserved without corruption for 5 Centuries.

I'll take my earthly burial.   :)

The Smithsonian Museum has human relics (homo sapiens) which are 200,000 years old. They also have neanderthal relics which are 500,000 years old.

Just saying.

Offline Trevorthodox

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
Re: What do you think about Cremation?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2011, 04:43:36 PM »
I hope for burial. Must make this known to my family.

If you had to choose between a civil, unconsecrated graveyard or an Anglican cemetery, which would you choose?