Author Topic: Orthodox funeral etiquette  (Read 4209 times)

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Offline Arachne

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Orthodox funeral etiquette
« on: February 05, 2013, 09:04:46 AM »
I was helping a friend choose a sympathy bouquet to send abroad, and I came across the florist's page on funeral etiquette for different religions, here. I was not surprised not to find Orthodoxy mentioned, but the multicultural enthusiast in me got thinking: What is and is not appropriate for an Orthodox funeral? How do different cultures and traditions among us send off their dead?
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2013, 09:32:26 AM »
Some thoughts...

- No embalming
- No closed casket (in most cases)
- No being unrealistic about the deceased (more a personal opinion)
- The Psalter can be prayed over the body in a vigil until the funeral takes place
- Christian/Orthodox burial is much preferred (no cremation intended...)

Offline mike

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2013, 11:27:40 AM »
There is an anecdote from my father's homevillage (supposedly, a real one):

Two men say goodbye to each other after a wake:
- Let's live to this feast next year!

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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2013, 11:59:54 AM »
Some thoughts...

- No embalming
- No closed casket (in most cases)

- No being unrealistic about the deceased (more a personal opinion)
- The Psalter can be prayed over the body in a vigil until the funeral takes place
- Christian/Orthodox burial is much preferred (no cremation intended...)


The bolded two sometimes conflict with each other.

We opted to not have our uncle embalmed, however, by State Law, if the body is not embalmed, then the casket has to remain closed in public.  My family had it open, once in a while, but, when people started to arrive for the services we had to close it.

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2013, 12:11:03 PM »
I was helping a friend choose a sympathy bouquet to send abroad, and I came across the florist's page on funeral etiquette for different religions, here. I was not surprised not to find Orthodoxy mentioned, but the multicultural enthusiast in me got thinking: What is and is not appropriate for an Orthodox funeral? How do different cultures and traditions among us send off their dead?

I guess I will be first to answer your question about funeral etiquette regarding flowers. When we lived in Istanbul, Turkey, our Bulgarian Orthodox community did not use flowers during a funeral. However, many families planted flowers on the grave site. In the United States, we  do not live in ethnic or religious ghettos, so it is not surprising when folks send flowers as an expression of their condolence.  I think that it is only polite to graciously accept and display them.

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 01:42:30 PM »
I guess I will be first to answer your question about funeral etiquette regarding flowers. When we lived in Istanbul, Turkey, our Bulgarian Orthodox community did not use flowers during a funeral. However, many families planted flowers on the grave site. In the United States, we  do not live in ethnic or religious ghettos, so it is not surprising when folks send flowers as an expression of their condolence.  I think that it is only polite to graciously accept and display them.

Thank you. That was one of the first things I was wondering about. In Greece, the standard flower arrangement for funerals is cartwheel-sized wreaths, usually made of white carnations, with ribbons screen-printed with the names of those who bought them. (At my father's funeral, when I was 17, they threw in a cross of white and purple orchids from me, for free.) Later, people visiting the grave can bring any sort of cut flowers or potted plants; my mother and I were entirely white rose or potted gardenia people.

Embalming is also unknown in Greece. Cemeteries have refrigerator units, where the dead remain until the day of burial (usually 2-3 days from death). They are not allowed to stay at home, at least not in apartment complexes, but the coffin is always open, both before and during the service, and then opened again at the grave site for the last kiss.
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Offline JamesR

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2013, 05:12:37 PM »
Why aren't we allowed to embalm bodies?
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Offline sheenj

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2013, 05:18:23 PM »
Why aren't we allowed to embalm bodies?

IIRC, it has something to do with the Bodily Resurrection.

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2013, 05:21:19 PM »
Some thoughts...

- No embalming
- No closed casket (in most cases)

- No being unrealistic about the deceased (more a personal opinion)
- The Psalter can be prayed over the body in a vigil until the funeral takes place
- Christian/Orthodox burial is much preferred (no cremation intended...)


The bolded two sometimes conflict with each other.

We opted to not have our uncle embalmed, however, by State Law, if the body is not embalmed, then the casket has to remain closed in public.  My family had it open, once in a while, but, when people started to arrive for the services we had to close it.


What state is this?

Are bodies typically slathered with cosmetics for Orthodox funerals?
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 05:21:50 PM by That person »
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2013, 05:26:30 PM »

Michigan

Depends on what the family asks for.

I would opt out.
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Offline That person

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 05:55:42 PM »
I suppose that's technically America, so the First Amendment should allow you to do your thing. I'd consider contacting the ACLU about that. Although frankly, I doubt anybody would prosecute public display of a non-embalmed corpse in a religious funeral because of the inevitable lawsuit that would follow.
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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 06:03:00 PM »
I suppose that's technically America, so the First Amendment should allow you to do your thing. I'd consider contacting the ACLU about that.

No, the Supreme Court ruled in Employment Division of Oregon v Smith that certain religious practices may be restricted if the Government considers them unsafe for the public. Examples include animal sacrifices, polygamy, and drug use(usually).

Offline choy

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 06:06:52 PM »
I suppose that's technically America, so the First Amendment should allow you to do your thing. I'd consider contacting the ACLU about that.

No, the Supreme Court ruled in Employment Division of Oregon v Smith that certain religious practices may be restricted if the Government considers them unsafe for the public. Examples include animal sacrifices, polygamy, and drug use(usually).

Yes, they would consider not embalming the body as a health issue.

Offline choy

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2013, 06:07:13 PM »
I guess I will be first to answer your question about funeral etiquette regarding flowers. When we lived in Istanbul, Turkey, our Bulgarian Orthodox community did not use flowers during a funeral. However, many families planted flowers on the grave site. In the United States, we  do not live in ethnic or religious ghettos, so it is not surprising when folks send flowers as an expression of their condolence.  I think that it is only polite to graciously accept and display them.

Thank you. That was one of the first things I was wondering about. In Greece, the standard flower arrangement for funerals is cartwheel-sized wreaths, usually made of white carnations, with ribbons screen-printed with the names of those who bought them. (At my father's funeral, when I was 17, they threw in a cross of white and purple orchids from me, for free.) Later, people visiting the grave can bring any sort of cut flowers or potted plants; my mother and I were entirely white rose or potted gardenia people.

Embalming is also unknown in Greece. Cemeteries have refrigerator units, where the dead remain until the day of burial (usually 2-3 days from death). They are not allowed to stay at home, at least not in apartment complexes, but the coffin is always open, both before and during the service, and then opened again at the grave site for the last kiss.

Sounds like the Philippines!

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2013, 08:31:50 PM »
Yes, they would consider not embalming the body as a health issue.

But is it really a health issue, or would it only be an issue if not handled properly? The second-to-last funeral I was at the deceased wasn't embalmed, and while the people who worked there did rush us a bit, we were allowed to have an open casket.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 08:32:09 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline choy

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2013, 08:36:07 PM »
Yes, they would consider not embalming the body as a health issue.

But is it really a health issue, or would it only be an issue if not handled properly? The second-to-last funeral I was at the deceased wasn't embalmed, and while the people who worked there did rush us a bit, we were allowed to have an open casket.

I think the law would be more of a "better safe than sorry" approach.  We do know today that decomposition starts pretty soon after death.  So we don't want any bacteria spreading from the dead body to the live people around.  There could be measures taken to ensure that it does not become a problem, but I guess they would rather legislate for safety rather than open loopholes for people.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 08:36:19 PM by choy »

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2013, 08:38:21 PM »
Ahh, I see, understandable (if not altogether agreeable IMO).

And I should have said third-to-last. Man, I'm getting to the age where someone I know dies every year... ie. getting old.

Offline That person

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2013, 08:46:53 PM »
Soon enough you'll be in the target audience for Pluggers comics.
I suppose that's technically America, so the First Amendment should allow you to do your thing. I'd consider contacting the ACLU about that.

No, the Supreme Court ruled in Employment Division of Oregon v Smith that certain religious practices may be restricted if the Government considers them unsafe for the public. Examples include animal sacrifices, polygamy, and drug use(usually).
Seems I misremembered my facts. I thought that case explicitly allowed for the use of peyote in religious rituals, but it simply stated that states may make exceptions. Still could be something worth contacting a congressman about. I don't belive the display of an un-embalmed corpse presents too much of a public health hazard.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 08:47:16 PM by That person »
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Offline sheenj

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2013, 09:11:09 PM »
Soon enough you'll be in the target audience for Pluggers comics.
I suppose that's technically America, so the First Amendment should allow you to do your thing. I'd consider contacting the ACLU about that.

No, the Supreme Court ruled in Employment Division of Oregon v Smith that certain religious practices may be restricted if the Government considers them unsafe for the public. Examples include animal sacrifices, polygamy, and drug use(usually).
Seems I misremembered my facts. I thought that case explicitly allowed for the use of peyote in religious rituals, but it simply stated that states may make exceptions. Still could be something worth contacting a congressman about. I don't belive the display of an un-embalmed corpse presents too much of a public health hazard.


That's why i said usually.  Peyote is an exception in some states. On the other hand, if you try smoking marijuana in public and telling the cop you're rastafarian, i don't think that's gonna go over so well.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2013, 10:25:38 PM »
The "public health risk" of a body which is not embalmed have been exaggerated by the lobbyists for the funeral industry. Most people are totally unfamiliar with the process of death and decay, and they believe whatever they are told. Funeral directors often threaten the family with a closed caskey, health risks, etc. when in fact none of them are true. If a funeral director is even required by your state's laws (which often they are not), always ask for specific references to the vague "state laws" they refer to. Usually if you call people out on these things then they will apologize and admit the falsity of their claims. Many are worked over, just like pregnant women in the hospital. Embalming is big business, just like C-sections, Pitocin, epidurals, etc. Just remember that you are the one calling the shots, and that these people work for you.

Offline mike

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2013, 03:24:09 AM »
Yes, they would consider not embalming the body as a health issue.

But is it really a health issue, or would it only be an issue if not handled properly? The second-to-last funeral I was at the deceased wasn't embalmed, and while the people who worked there did rush us a bit, we were allowed to have an open casket.

I think the law would be more of a "better safe than sorry" approach.  We do know today that decomposition starts pretty soon after death.  So we don't want any bacteria spreading from the dead body to the live people around.  There could be measures taken to ensure that it does not become a problem, but I guess they would rather legislate for safety rather than open loopholes for people.

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2013, 03:40:56 AM »
I personally don't want an open-casket funeral. If my family and closest friends personally want to see my corpse before I'm buried, then they can open my casket privately. But I don't want it open in front of an entire crowd of people. What if I'm deteriorating badly and look ugly? What if my face is swollen? What if a fly lands on my face? Just leave it closed!
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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2013, 04:01:57 AM »
I personally don't want an open-casket funeral. If my family and closest friends personally want to see my corpse before I'm buried, then they can open my casket privately. But I don't want it open in front of an entire crowd of people. What if I'm deteriorating badly and look ugly? What if my face is swollen? What if a fly lands on my face? Just leave it closed!

In Greece, coffins with glass panels around the sides are popular, especially for celebrities who expect to be photographed as the coffin is taken to the burial site. ;) The viewing before the ceremony is optional, and I've seen legitimate cases (accident victims mainly, with the odd cancer case) that kept the coffin closed until the service. During that, however, the coffin is open - no negotiating that.

I personally don't care what my body will look like. Chances are, by then I'll be just glad to be rid of it.
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Offline Dominika

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2013, 04:02:52 AM »
There is an anecdote from my father's homevillage (supposedly, a real one):

Two men say goodbye to each other after a wake:
- Let's live to this feast next year!



It's very common, especially during some family gatherings.

I personally don't want an open-casket funeral. If my family and closest friends personally want to see my corpse before I'm buried, then they can open my casket privately. But I don't want it open in front of an entire crowd of people. What if I'm deteriorating badly and look ugly? What if my face is swollen? What if a fly lands on my face? Just leave it closed!

it's a good reminder about our sinfullness and mortality of the bodies. Maybe if somebody sees dead person, will offer a penance?... But, in Poland the custom is known also among non-Ortodox (especially in the country) - people want to say good bye to their dearests. In the case of the closes family and friends they probably won't pay attention about your body after death, but just how you were before.

Maybe a bit humorously, I can add that one of my best friends is very scared she will wake up in the closed casket (because of a medical mistake - she's read somewhere that it happens very often that the doctors claim the patient is dead but actually he's not), so she would like to introduce this Orthodox practice.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 04:15:20 AM by Dominika »
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Offline LBK

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2013, 04:07:25 AM »
I personally don't want an open-casket funeral. If my family and closest friends personally want to see my corpse before I'm buried, then they can open my casket privately. But I don't want it open in front of an entire crowd of people. What if I'm deteriorating badly and look ugly? What if my face is swollen? What if a fly lands on my face? Just leave it closed!

Oh, stop being so precious and vain, James.  ::)
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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2013, 04:12:14 AM »
I personally don't want an open-casket funeral. If my family and closest friends personally want to see my corpse before I'm buried, then they can open my casket privately. But I don't want it open in front of an entire crowd of people. What if I'm deteriorating badly and look ugly? What if my face is swollen? What if a fly lands on my face? Just leave it closed!

Oh, stop being so precious and vain, James.  ::)

He's a teenager, and there's no known cure. ;)
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Offline LBK

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2013, 04:17:49 AM »
I personally don't want an open-casket funeral. If my family and closest friends personally want to see my corpse before I'm buried, then they can open my casket privately. But I don't want it open in front of an entire crowd of people. What if I'm deteriorating badly and look ugly? What if my face is swollen? What if a fly lands on my face? Just leave it closed!

Oh, stop being so precious and vain, James.  ::)

He's a teenager, and there's no known cure. ;)

True. But some grow up faster than others ....
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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2013, 04:27:17 AM »
I can't wait till I kick the bucket; then I won't have to wrestle against vice anymore :)
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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2013, 04:32:58 AM »
I can't wait till I kick the bucket; then I won't have to wrestle against vice anymore :)

Be careful for what you wish for.  :police:
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Offline mabsoota

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2013, 09:14:55 AM »
in romania, the lid is not put on until the very last minute, and the body usually stays at home until burial (this is for orthodox, protestants, and, as far as i know, for atheists too).

of course, there is a smell, but usually there is a only 2 or 3 days till the funeral.
exceptions are if the face is smashed up badly, or if there was a dangerous contagious disease.

after all, we all (except strict vegetarians) touch animals that have been dead for many days (in the form of our dinner), so we shouldn't be squeamish about dead humans.

also, in romania, everyone goes to visit the deceased, neighbours, children, work colleagues; all sorts of people who didn't know the deceased very well, and this seems to me to be very respectful, and stops death being a scary taboo subject, like in uk.

when my close friend (ok, so she was 50 years older than me, but still 'my friend') died when i was a kid, her family (who were almost never in touch with her during her life; my family filled that function for her) decided that no kids were allowed at the funeral.
that is much, much worse than having an open casket in my opinion!

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2013, 12:05:00 PM »
when my close friend (ok, so she was 50 years older than me, but still 'my friend') died when i was a kid, her family (who were almost never in touch with her during her life; my family filled that function for her) decided that no kids were allowed at the funeral. that is much, much worse than having an open casket in my opinion!

I agree with this, fwiw.

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2013, 07:40:00 PM »
Regarding what to wear, I just read:

Quote
The funeral service has not so much a tragic, as touching and ceremonious character- here there is no place for oppressive sorrow for the soul and hopeless despair; faith, hope, and love - those are the main feelings, contained in the service of singing. If the relatives of the departed occasionally (and this is not absolute) happen to be dressed in mourning clothes, then the clothes of priests are always light.
"Traditions and Rituals" http://www.memoriam.ru/main/ritual?id=263

Is this accurate? I was at a funeral last Saturday before the body was moved to the cemetery for burial, and the Antiochian and OCA priests as I remember were wearing black, but their linen "scarves" (how to say?) were gold. Is the gold what the passage above is referring to?

I am confused. A photo of clergy at Damascus' funeral for the Patriarch recently shows that they are wearing black:


Perhaps the Russian practice is to wear light and the Antiochian and Jerusalem practice is to wear black?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 07:41:59 PM by rakovsky »

Offline mike

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #32 on: February 07, 2013, 04:25:27 AM »
Don't start a discussion about black, please...
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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2013, 05:27:40 AM »
Some thoughts...

- No embalming
- No closed casket (in most cases)

- No being unrealistic about the deceased (more a personal opinion)
- The Psalter can be prayed over the body in a vigil until the funeral takes place
- Christian/Orthodox burial is much preferred (no cremation intended...)


The bolded two sometimes conflict with each other.

We opted to not have our uncle embalmed, however, by State Law, if the body is not embalmed, then the casket has to remain closed in public.  My family had it open, once in a while, but, when people started to arrive for the services we had to close it.





Yeah, personally I don't want to be embalmed and I don't want an open casket. I don't know why this would be unorthodox.



Selam
""Love is a dangerous thing. It will crush you if you trust it. But without it you can never be whole. Love crucifies, but love saves. We will either be saved together with love, or damned alone without it."    Selam, +GMK+

Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #34 on: February 07, 2013, 05:30:04 AM »
The "public health risk" of a body which is not embalmed have been exaggerated by the lobbyists for the funeral industry. Most people are totally unfamiliar with the process of death and decay, and they believe whatever they are told. Funeral directors often threaten the family with a closed caskey, health risks, etc. when in fact none of them are true. If a funeral director is even required by your state's laws (which often they are not), always ask for specific references to the vague "state laws" they refer to. Usually if you call people out on these things then they will apologize and admit the falsity of their claims. Many are worked over, just like pregnant women in the hospital. Embalming is big business, just like C-sections, Pitocin, epidurals, etc. Just remember that you are the one calling the shots, and that these people work for you.


Amen.


Selam
""Love is a dangerous thing. It will crush you if you trust it. But without it you can never be whole. Love crucifies, but love saves. We will either be saved together with love, or damned alone without it."    Selam, +GMK+

Offline rakovsky

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #35 on: February 07, 2013, 02:52:44 PM »
Some thoughts...

- No embalming
- No closed casket (in most cases)

- No being unrealistic about the deceased (more a personal opinion)
- The Psalter can be prayed over the body in a vigil until the funeral takes place
- Christian/Orthodox burial is much preferred (no cremation intended...)


The bolded two sometimes conflict with each other.

We opted to not have our uncle embalmed, however, by State Law, if the body is not embalmed, then the casket has to remain closed in public.  My family had it open, once in a while, but, when people started to arrive for the services we had to close it.
It seems that there could be a religious rights legal challenge to the state's decision to close it. However, that might not work if there is a compelling reason otherwise (like disease's spread). I know that there isn't a compelling reason otherwise, since for example bodies can lay in a morgue for a while and decay isn't traditionally supposed to set in until day 3. But I could also see a medical argument being claimed in the state's favor.

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #36 on: February 07, 2013, 03:16:32 PM »

It doesn't matter if the person had a disease or not.  Even the body of a healthy young child, who dies, cannot be open casket - in public.

You can have it open as much as you want for family, etc....however, when the service starts, it must be closed.



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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #37 on: February 07, 2013, 04:47:27 PM »

It doesn't matter if the person had a disease or not.  Even the body of a healthy young child, who dies, cannot be open casket - in public.

You can have it open as much as you want for family, etc....however, when the service starts, it must be closed.
What about in Alaska, where they have been doing this for centuries and the temperature slows decomposition?
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 04:56:33 PM by rakovsky »

Offline sheenj

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2013, 04:52:18 PM »

It doesn't matter if the person had a disease or not.  Even the body of a healthy young child, who dies, cannot be open casket - in public.

You can have it open as much as you want for family, etc....however, when the service starts, it must be closed.
What about in Alaska, where they have been doing this for centuries and the temperature slows decomposition?

It's a state law. Just cause it's illegal in Michigan does not make it illegal in Alaska.

Offline mabsoota

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #39 on: February 10, 2013, 01:10:43 PM »
thanks, asteriktos.

back to the topic, i don't know a lot about embalming.
i only saw it done when preserving the body (or parts) as patholigical specimens.
i don't know if people do it in uk, i suppose it's very rare, as most people have a closed casket.

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #40 on: February 10, 2013, 05:30:13 PM »
Yeah, personally I don't want to be embalmed and I don't want an open casket. I don't know why this would be unorthodox.

Perhaps unorthodox is too strong a word, but I would think it would be to some extent undesireable. We are not to fear death or think it icky, but to look on it as a reality, knowing that it is a temporary state, but nonetheless a real one that we must keep in mind. We even say in our prayers (some of us anyway, I don't know who all says this): "How can I not weep when I think of death? For I have seen my brother lying in his coffin, inglorious and hideous. What, then, do I expect? And what do I hope for? Only grant me, O Lord, repentance before my end." (Canon of Repentance)  Also, considering the flimsy reasoning behind the prohibition of cremation*, I don't think this is too much of a stretch.  :angel:


*Except when necessary, such as in Japan, etc.

Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #41 on: February 11, 2013, 12:59:46 AM »
I can't wait till I kick the bucket; then I won't have to wrestle against vice anymore :)

Unless somebody wants your relics :)


I think some vice grips may do a fine job in getting some.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2013, 01:01:10 AM by yeshuaisiam »
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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: Orthodox funeral etiquette
« Reply #42 on: February 11, 2013, 02:52:28 AM »
Yeah, personally I don't want to be embalmed and I don't want an open casket. I don't know why this would be unorthodox.

Perhaps unorthodox is too strong a word, but I would think it would be to some extent undesireable. We are not to fear death or think it icky, but to look on it as a reality, knowing that it is a temporary state, but nonetheless a real one that we must keep in mind. We even say in our prayers (some of us anyway, I don't know who all says this): "How can I not weep when I think of death? For I have seen my brother lying in his coffin, inglorious and hideous. What, then, do I expect? And what do I hope for? Only grant me, O Lord, repentance before my end." (Canon of Repentance)  Also, considering the flimsy reasoning behind the prohibition of cremation*, I don't think this is too much of a stretch.  :angel:


*Except when necessary, such as in Japan, etc.


That makes sense. I do understand that death should be clearly acknowledged. I guess I'm more concerned about the embalming part and all the makeup and artificial restoration to make the dead person look "presentable." If I die a natural death, then just cover my nakedness and let them see my dead body as it really is. But I still prefer that I be remembered in life. The dead body is deceptive to a degree, just as the living body is. Our bodies will perish, but our souls will live on. But I'll leave the ultimate funeral decisions to my Priest and the Church. I hope it won't be any time soon.  ;)


Selam
""Love is a dangerous thing. It will crush you if you trust it. But without it you can never be whole. Love crucifies, but love saves. We will either be saved together with love, or damned alone without it."    Selam, +GMK+