The Orthodox funeral service includes one Apostolic reading and a
Gospel reading. There is a number of slightly varying services for
laymen, monks, priests, and infants.
In the cemetery, a service is read called Trisagion of the Dead. When
possible, the dead is buried facing east, in expectation of the Coming of
the Lord. The soil sprinkled on the coffin signifies mans earthly
nature and the passing of events.
The color of the vestments for funerals should be white as a sign of the
hope and joy of the resurrection.
The full liturgy requires the celebration of the eucharist and consists
of three parts. The first is a service celebrated at the home of the
deceased (or the funeral home). The second is celebrated in the RMF
or church. The third is celebrated in union with the interment and
takes place at the gravesite. All three parts are joined together in the
form of a funeral procession. Singing at allotted intervals and places
such as at the beginning of each part of the service as well as during
each of the transfers of the body. Each part also includes at least one
of the prayers for the dead. Once in the RMF, the coffin is opened and
the body is situated so to face the altar.
A memorial to the dead is the gathering and serving of meals known
as makarial; that is, meals in memory of, that are held by many
following the burial.
The solemn interment of the dead is a practice found in almost all
the great religions. Christian funeral rites express the churchs care
for the departed, its belief in the resurrection, and its reverence for
the body as sharing in redemption.
In most Protestant churches the funeral takes place in stages, at
the funeral home, in the RMF or church, and at the burial site. The
first, at the funeral home, generally consists of an informal visit and
includes readings from the Bible, and prayers for the deceased and
the family. The second, in the RMF or church, will vary according to
the various Protestant faith groups but typically includes a call to
worship, a brief biographical sketch of the deceased, readings from
the Bible, a homily interpreting the meaning of death, life, and the
resurrection, and instrumental and or vocal music, a pastoral
prayer, and a final benediction. The third part, at the burial site, is
often a brief service comprised of scripture, committal, and prayer.
GENERAL MEMORIAL SERVICE
In adapting funeral celebrations, every effort should be made to be
aware of the circumstance of the deceaseds life and death, the sorrow
of the relative and their needs. In planning, the chaplain and RP
should consider many situations and the wishes of the family.
Relatives and friends may be chosen to be readers and to bring up the
gifts in preparation for the Eucharist.
Roman Catholic rites are routinely marked with simplicity; however,
it may be necessary to explain some of the symbolism that reflects the
churchs attitude toward death. Vestments may be black, violet, or
white; in most instances white is used. Also used is Holy water, a
white covering over the coffin, and the Paschal candle is placed near
You use an Order of Christian Funerals as guidance. You must pay
attention to the details within the celebrated Mass and the rite of final
commendation or the actual burial. The new funeral rite gives three
types of servicethe traditional one with prayers at home, in an RMF
or church, and at the graveside. There is a choice of readings, prayers,
and chants, prayers for the mourners. The rite expresses Christian
hope in a share in Christs resurrection and pleasure of Gods presence
in his kingdom.
An adapted memorial interfaith service normally consists of the
following parts and often may include military honors:
Address or Homily
Moment of Silence
Hymn (The Navy Hymn Eternal Father, Strong to Save)
Figure 1-7.Christian funerals.
ordinances that mandate and give credence as to why
a particular faith group does what it does. In the
Roman Catholic church, for example, the Code of
Canon Law pertains. In the Episcopal church,
however, the laws are found in The Book of Common