Eastern Orthodox/Greek Orthodox Funeral

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Question
I would like to ask what does Greek Orthodoxy consider a proper funeral ?
My father, who is 95 years old, has very few, if any, relatives or friends left in the world. There would probably be maybe 5-6 people, at most, present for the church funeral. Would it be proper to just have the priest come to the funeral home and then to the grave site for the trisagion services? My brother is insisting on a church funeral and I know this may sound odd, but it seems like it would be strange to occupy the priest and the large church for only a handful of people. I guess what I am asking is, is the church part of the funeral important for the soul of the departed, or is it mainly for the living ?

Answer
All are precious in God's sight. I have seen both situations. Many of the funerals in our parish are done at the funeral home then straight to the cemetery. But we also have done funeral services in the church which is the more traditional way. The funeral service is really more for the living than the dead. The prayers and hymns are an invitation to contemplate the moment when we shall stand in God's revealed Presence that we may better prepare ourselves. It is not an "imposition" on the priest or the church. This, ultimately is why the Church exists. Your father's life determines his status in Heaven, not the funeral. But this is an opportunity to honor your father's life and doing so in the church, if it is practical, is fitting. But I believe that the priest would have the best advice for this situation. He would know what is normal for his parish and what is most practical for all concerned. May your father's memory be eternal.

Your servant,
Herman

Eastern Orthodox

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Herman

Expertise

I can answer general questions about the teachings of the Orthodox Church and Orthodox monasticism, particularly differences from Protestants and Catholics.

Experience

Orthodox Christian convert from Protestantism over 30 years ago.

Organizations
American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese

Publications
Monachos.net Discussion Community http://www.monachos.net/forum/forum.php

Education/Credentials
1 year seminary training. 30 years research.

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