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Author Topic: Burial question  (Read 424 times) Average Rating: 0
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biro
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« on: January 01, 2013, 10:22:57 AM »

This is a weird question, in a way, and I don't ask it just to be morbid, but I've thought about it and I'd like to see if anyone here knows what would happen.

My brother passed away in 1991. He was interred in a public cemetery in New York (in the town of Hicksville, on Long Island, close to where we lived in Queens). As I recall, they had sections for different faiths. Our family, Italian and Irish Catholics, had some plots in the Roman Catholic area of the grounds. That's where we put him to rest. There were also Orthodox Christian areas, Jewish, and so forth.

I was wondering, if I should become Orthodox, would it be okay for me to be buried next to my brother? Are there any Church objections to that sort of thing? I hope not. I had hoped that when the time came, I'd be put next to him in the family plot. Like I said, I hope this is a long way off, but it bugs me sometimes.

Thank you for your understanding.
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2013, 11:27:04 AM »

I am not aware of any Orthodox cemetery or even an Orthodox section of a cemetery anywhere in my area. The few Orthodox burials that I have witnessed have taken place in municipal cemeteries right along with those of any other faith (or lack thereof). That might be a simple matter of expediency, but I don't know for sure.
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2013, 11:46:10 AM »

Thank you.
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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2013, 12:06:03 PM »

I'm not sure either, but I'm under the impression that, as long as the deceased receives Orthodox funeral rites, it matters little where the body lies (or is disposed of, for that matter). In Greece, where the vast majority of cemeteries are Orthodox, there's no obstacle in, say, having heterodox members of a family interred in the family vault.

In the UK there are no Orthodox cemeteries; I want a green burial when my time comes, and I've had nobody tell me I shouldn't.
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2013, 12:24:51 PM »

I'm not sure either, but I'm under the impression that, as long as the deceased receives Orthodox funeral rites, it matters little where the body lies (or is disposed of, for that matter). In Greece, where the vast majority of cemeteries are Orthodox, there's no obstacle in, say, having heterodox members of a family interred in the family vault.

In the UK there are no Orthodox cemeteries; I want a green burial when my time comes, and I've had nobody tell me I shouldn't.
I'm not sure what you mean by the bolded part. Cremation is normally forbidden. My priest told of a case where it was known that the body would be cremated and he was therefore unable to celebrate the funeral service, but had to limit himself to the Trisagion prayers.

Quite frankly, I think that for a lot of reasons a green burial is the way to go. Fortunately, they are becoming more acceptable, and I hope will be even more so when my time comes.

One should also be buried with feet toward the east in anticipation of the return of Christ. My non-Orthodox daughter questioned me about that one saying that I wouldn't know or care at that point. However, I responded saying, "But you will remember my faith and expectation." She got the message.
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2013, 01:12:14 PM »

Fortunately, I don't have this problem. I live 5 minutes by foot to the Orthodox cemetery.
A few months ago I've realized that's probably my "final resting place" (under the condition I don't move to Serbia). Maybe this fact will help me in the struggle with my sins, as sometimes I must go to my parish through this cemetery (it's shorter way), I also see it while I'm walking in close to it numerous parks.

But, regarding your potential problem, I think it would be OK. The important things is that it is a cemetery and the burial together with grave's blessing would be Orthodox. As for American cemeteries, I've visited only national cemetery in Washington and on most graves there were religious symbols, so in this case it would be "Orthodox" cross.
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2013, 01:15:35 PM »

Thanks, everyone.
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2013, 01:41:07 PM »

I'm not sure what you mean by the bolded part. Cremation is normally forbidden. My priest told of a case where it was known that the body would be cremated and he was therefore unable to celebrate the funeral service, but had to limit himself to the Trisagion prayers.

I'm aware of the prohibition, although I'm aware (granted, second-hand experience) of at least one case where it was overlooked. I also know of several cases of suicides that received full rites, on the grounds that one could not be sure of the victim's state of mind at the time. Loopholes, for sure, but erring on the side of mercy.
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2013, 06:07:04 PM »

I don't think there is a problem with that per se.  However, I would heavily consider not being embalmed like a pagan.
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2013, 04:56:03 PM »


I don't think there's any type of restriction.

We also have "sections" at our cemetery....but, it's simply because Orthodox have all pre-purchased their lots together...and it got the reputation of being the Orthodox section.  It's nice on St. Thomas Sunday to see all the Orthodox - Serbs, Ukrainians, Russians, Romanians, etc. all wondering around, priests swinging their censors and sprinkling the graves...everyone greeting each other with "Christ is Risen"....in foreign languages, and the recipient smiling and replying in their own tongue.  It's just nice.

However, my grandfather is buried at another cemetery and everyone there is mixed up.  People bought lots that they could afford at the time, so, all the faiths are mixed together.  However, still the Orthodox wonder around and visit and pray for their departed.  They aren't forgotten just because they aren't "in" the Orthodox section.

I think you'll be fine buried next to your brother...and he'll reap the rewards of getting some holy water sprinkled on him when the priest visits you.
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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2013, 05:04:07 PM »

I've recommended it before, I'll do it again. The text and the website for all things dealing with dying and burial:

http://www.achristianending.com/
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2013, 01:52:09 AM »

The preference is to be buried in an "orthodox burial ground" which is designated & blessed by an orthodox priest or hierarch, for orthodox christians to be buried.  These places are also tended by orthodox christians who take care of all the plots properly & in an orthodox christian manner.  That being said, there arn't that many of them & at the end of the day, the important piece is the burial service itself.  God will take care of the rest. 
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