If you are Greek Orthodox and there is not a Greek Orthodox church in your community, you may be wondering how you can have a funeral. There are lots of options. Here are some tips and ideas to consider.
1. Plan a Funeral Service in Another Town
If you want to have your own funeral or the funeral of a loved one in an Orthodox church, you may need to plan to go to another town. There may be additional expenses associated with this route.
Namely, under strict Orthodox tradition, bodies should not be cremated. As a result, you will need to have the body transported to a funeral home near the church, and body transport is more expensive than moving cremains. Then, that funeral home can bring the body to the church and to the final resting place at the cemetery after the conclusion of the service.
2. Find a Funeral Home That Understands Greek Orthodox Traditions
Instead of going to another town, you may simply want to find a funeral home director who understands the traditions of Greek Orthodox. Regardless of their personal faith, most funeral directors strive to serve the religious communities where they live.
As a result, these professionals often understand how to set up the basics of any funeral from a Greek or Macedonian Orthodox funeral to a Buddhist ceremony. Talk directly with a funeral home director for more details.
3. Invite a Greek Orthodox Priest to the Funeral Home
You may also want to invite a Greek Orthodox priest to the town where you live and have the ceremony performed there. Most funeral homes have chapels you can use, as well as areas for visitations or wakes.
Alternatively, another church may allow you to use its facilities if the priest is comfortable. Most Orthodox priests can set up a makeshift altar and bring the vestments needed for a funeral rite.
4. Plan Early
If you are planning a Greek Orthodox funeral for a loved one who has already passed, the above tips can help. However, if you are just wondering what would happen if you or a loved one died, you may want to start planning early.
Most funeral homes take pre-needs. That's where you plan a funeral in advance, and you can plan anything from embalming to moving the body to choosing a cemetery plot to planning the funeral ceremony. Depending on the funeral home, you can pay for the pre-need when you book it or it can come out of your life insurance.
Funerals can bring forth such a range of emotions: melancholy, grief, regret, relief and nostalgia. As an assistant at a funeral parlour, I am privileged to help people with organising their loved one’s final journey. I have learnt that a good funeral parlour can make the occasion truly commemorative. When I attend funerals for friends, I am saddened to see that so many ceremonies are traditional and joyless. I later find out that the family members simply weren’t aware of options such as a graveside memorial service. I love the fact that one of my tasks involves showing family members various venues and demonstrating what can be done. In this humble little blog, I hope to make it my mission to share some of the ideas – big and small – from the best funerals I have seen. Perhaps it will give you some inspiration at a difficult time. Bless.