Author Topic: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)  (Read 6082 times)

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Offline Fr. George

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Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« on: April 11, 2005, 10:54:36 PM »
*(I would suppose that this comment could go in a number of fora; but since the Liturgy forum doesn't get enough "action" I thought I would put it here).

I find it interesting that the American views and stigmas about death and dying have seeped into Orthodoxy; one example is how they have changed the way that we do Episcopal Funerals.  The (at least recent) Orthodox tradition is to fully vest the hierarch (including mitre and staff) and sit him at the throne during the Trisagion, Liturgy, and funeral.  Can you imagine the reaction of Americans to a corpse being placed in a chair dressed in Orthodox Episcopal-wear?  They would think we were nuts, out of touch, or whatever.....

But tonight, as normally happens around someone's death, an Orthodox priest provides perspective as to why we don't see things that way (this time coming from Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou, president of Holy Cross) - the West sees the cessation of breath as the end of Life and the beginning of Death; but the moment when the heart stops is really just a translation into a new part of Life, the part of Life that we have always been hoping for, preparing for... When we bury a hierarch, we pray that God allow him to take up in Heaven the position he had on Earth - standing in front of God's altar, praying for the salvation of the people.  We pray that he be granted the honor of continuing a ministry that even the Angels are in awe of....

So there's my two cents; I'd like to hear others' perspectives on the changes in the way we do funerals (not just Episcopal funerals; and let's not limit ourselves to the funeral proper, but also to the Trisagion, the mourning cycle, etc.) and the culture clash we see regarding death.

And if this has been covered previously in a thread - my apologies for being (relatively) new to the Board.
"If you are going to serve the Lord, be prepared for times when you will be put to the test. Be sincere and determined. Keep calm when trouble comes. Stay with the Lord; never abandon Him and you will be prosperous at the end of your days. Accept whatever happens to you. Even if you suffer humiliation, be patient. Gold is tested by fire and human character is tested in the furnace of humiliation. Trust the Lord and He will help you. Walk straight in His ways and put your hope in Him. " Sir 2:1-6

Offline Elpidophoros

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2008, 04:23:52 PM »
Quote
The (at least recent) Orthodox tradition is to fully vest the hierarch (including mitre and staff) and sit him at the throne during the Trisagion, Liturgy, and funeral.

Yes,the tradition says to sit the departed bishop in a throne and bury him in the sitting position....but in fact I only have seen some old calenarists and Non-Chalcedonians did this.Any one ever observed such practise in a canonical EO church recently??











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« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 02:08:39 AM by Salpy »

Offline Anastasios

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2008, 04:42:58 PM »
Quote
The (at least recent) Orthodox tradition is to fully vest the hierarch (including mitre and staff) and sit him at the throne during the Trisagion, Liturgy, and funeral.

Yes,the tradition says to sit the departed bishop in a throne and bury him in the sitting position....but in fact I only have seen some canonical Orthodox who follow Orthodox tradition old calenarists and  monophysites did this.Any one ever observed such practise in a modernist/tradition-changing canonical EO church recently??


Post edit to reflect accuracy...those "uncanonical" Old Calendarists proved once again to be the ones that actually are being "canonical" in their observance...! :)
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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2008, 04:45:19 PM »
To change an Orthodox funeral custom in favor of American afraid-of-death culture is an atrocity.

Among Hispanic Catholics and some Appalachian Protestants there is a final kiss goodbye, etc.  This is so much better than "visitation" where you sit around and chat nice pleasantries while Uncle Ned is either closed up or sitting nicely in his casket "looking just like he is asleep" awwwww....  (gag)
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Offline Elisha

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2008, 06:03:03 PM »
This is so much better than "visitation" where you sit around and chat nice pleasantries while Uncle Ned is either closed up or sitting nicely in his casket "looking just like he is asleep" awwwww....  (gag)

I have two of these in the past few years with some relatives.  They were well meaning, but I find this rather "skipping" of the mourning phase a bit troubling.  The "memorial service" had really nothing to do with a funeral and was just nice smiley pleasantries and "praises", along with people telling feel-good memory stories to reminisce.

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2008, 01:42:08 AM »
Wow, some of our folks here are great at bringing up old threads - I had completely forgotten about this one (and, so it seems, so had everyone else until yesterday!).

The above was posted within a few days of Archbishop IAKOVOS' funeral at HC.  They buried him in full vestments, but did not have him sitting at the throne for Liturgy or the Trisagion at the School (I don't know what they did in NY), which is (I think) the reason why I wrote the piece (I was a bit disappointed).    They did, however, leave him in a position in the center of the Church where all could venerate the Gospel and kiss his right hand (which I have seen at each Priest's funeral I have attended).
"If you are going to serve the Lord, be prepared for times when you will be put to the test. Be sincere and determined. Keep calm when trouble comes. Stay with the Lord; never abandon Him and you will be prosperous at the end of your days. Accept whatever happens to you. Even if you suffer humiliation, be patient. Gold is tested by fire and human character is tested in the furnace of humiliation. Trust the Lord and He will help you. Walk straight in His ways and put your hope in Him. " Sir 2:1-6

Offline arimethea

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2008, 02:17:25 AM »
I have been told that sitting the departed Bishop in his throne is reserved only for Patriarchs. The person telling me this also related that you have to tie the Bishop very tightly to the chair because they tend to fall out.

I should mention the person who told me this is a bishop who wants a very quick and simple funeral.
Joseph

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2008, 02:23:16 AM »
I have been told that sitting the departed Bishop in his throne is reserved only for Patriarchs. The person telling me this also related that you have to tie the Bishop very tightly to the chair because they tend to fall out.

I should mention the person who told me this is a bishop who wants a very quick and simple funeral. 

Very interesting...
"If you are going to serve the Lord, be prepared for times when you will be put to the test. Be sincere and determined. Keep calm when trouble comes. Stay with the Lord; never abandon Him and you will be prosperous at the end of your days. Accept whatever happens to you. Even if you suffer humiliation, be patient. Gold is tested by fire and human character is tested in the furnace of humiliation. Trust the Lord and He will help you. Walk straight in His ways and put your hope in Him. " Sir 2:1-6

Offline Salpy

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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2016, 02:22:56 PM »
I seem to recall very vaguely as an undergraduate reading an account of the corpse of an Alexandrian bishop (pope) being carried through the streets and there being miracles and healings as he was brought by. This was way before I had encountered Orthodoxy, but when I was being given samplings of early Christian texts to read, mostly from the first few centuries of Christianity. Others texts I recall were The Acts of Paul and Thecla and the Life of Anthony.

Does anyone have any idea what text I would have been reading? Perhaps it was an excerpt from a larger work?

When I was first made aware of this custom in episcopal funerals, my mind went immediately back to that text, and I assumed that this was an exceedingly ancient custom, at least in the Orient.

Also, is this custom only preserved in the Greek churches (only keeping in mind the Eastern Orthodox family of churches)? Has it ever been known to the Russians, for example?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2016, 02:28:21 PM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline wgw

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2016, 06:02:09 AM »
If I might ask a related quesrion, whereas rhe Orthodox do frown on embalming, would it be in order to have a funeral director apply a deodrant to the corpse, and also, in the case of bishops, to go beyond tying, and set up some sort of apparatus to hold them upright, perhaps with a retainer to keep the mouth and jaw set in a dignified manner?

I love how in Orthodoxy we view the deceased as sacred, and I love our funeral rites.  I think we should however try to make our hierarchs look as beautiful as possible in their repose during the funeral service, so that the faithful who see them can remember them in the Lord, and see them seated on their Episcopal throne in glory, presiding over the congregation one last time as master before we say good by, to be reunited with them in Heaven.

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2016, 06:04:05 AM »
Also, one other question, do bishops routinely preside at the funerals of laity?  I hope that if they do, it isn't just reserved for laity who make large donations to the Church.

If I were a bishop, just hypothetically speaking, I think I would try, God willing, to serve the funeral liturgy for any layman whose relatives wrote to ask; if not the main funeral, then one of the later memorial liturgies.

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2016, 09:28:06 AM »
Also, one other question, do bishops routinely preside at the funerals of laity?  I hope that if they do, it isn't just reserved for laity who make large donations to the Church.

If I were a bishop, just hypothetically speaking, I think I would try, God willing, to serve the funeral liturgy for any layman whose relatives wrote to ask; if not the main funeral, then one of the later memorial liturgies.


Do you realize just how busy bishops are?

That's why we have priests, to take care of the day-to-day Church "business".

...and the comment about donations is uncalled for.  You make our hierarchs sound rather unchristian.

My bishops are anything but greedy.  I have even heard them offer money to laypeople with financial difficulties.
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Offline Avdima

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2016, 10:12:59 AM »
Also, one other question, do bishops routinely preside at the funerals of laity?  I hope that if they do, it isn't just reserved for laity who make large donations to the Church.

If I were a bishop, just hypothetically speaking, I think I would try, God willing, to serve the funeral liturgy for any layman whose relatives wrote to ask; if not the main funeral, then one of the later memorial liturgies.


Do you realize just how busy bishops are?

That's why we have priests, to take care of the day-to-day Church "business".

...and the comment about donations is uncalled for.  You make our hierarchs sound rather unchristian.

My bishops are anything but greedy. I have even heard them offer money to laypeople with financial difficulties.


Off to Liza's church I go.  :D

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2016, 03:14:56 PM »
Come on over!  You'll love it here!

Best hierarchs, clergy and laity (with some exceptions)...not to mention great and melodious hymns...and super food after hours!  ;)
« Last Edit: March 18, 2016, 03:15:06 PM by LizaSymonenko »
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2016, 03:23:11 PM »
Come on over!  You'll love it here!

Best hierarchs, clergy and laity (with some exceptions)...not to mention great and melodious hymns...and super food after hours!  ;)


How modest!   ;)
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2016, 03:27:38 PM »
Come on over!  You'll love it here!

Best hierarchs, clergy and laity (with some exceptions)...not to mention great and melodious hymns...and super food after hours!  ;)


How modest!   ;)

...there's a time to be modest...and a time to be honest.  ;)
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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Offline Theophania

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Re: Episcopal Funerals (and the Orthodox view on Death)
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2016, 03:37:43 PM »
Come on over!  You'll love it here!

Best hierarchs, clergy and laity (with some exceptions)...not to mention great and melodious hymns...and super food after hours!  ;)


How modest!   ;)

...there's a time to be modest...and a time to be honest.  ;)

To be fair, Bishop Daniel is pretty awesome.
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