Funeral Traditions of the Greek Orthodox

greek orthadox church funeral servicesThe Church of the Greek Orthodox was actually once a part of the Catholic Church but it was separated by the Great Schism. Today, the Orthodox Church has a lot of sects and Greek Orthodox is one of them.

Funeral Beliefs and Practices

Across all Orthodox beliefs, the basic principle and traditions when it comes to funerals is still prevalent.

  • It is important to know that in a traditional Orthodoxy, cremation is not very well accepted.
  • There are even churches that would not allow the family to hold a funeral if the body has been cremated. This is because in Greek Orthodox, people believe that the body is the temple of the soul and that it should be treated with respect.
  • In Greek Orthodox, funeral planning is extremely important. The relatives and friends are then informed of where the wake will be which is usually in a mortuary. The people will be able to view the remains of the dead member of the church.
  • The actual funeral ceremony will be held in a Greek Orthodox Church.
  • Different hymns, readings and scriptures will be read during the service. Chosen families and friends will also be invited to say something about the deceased.
  • It is important to know how to write eulogy in order to respect the traditions and beliefs of the Orthodox Church.
  • The ceremony is usually held a few days after the death of the person and they do not usually hold long wakes.
  • During the service, the coffin will be opened and there will be a time in the ceremony where the people will be allowed to view the deceased before laying him or her to rest.
  • Funeral ceremonies in the Greek Orthodox Church can fall on any day of the week except Sundays. Holy Saturday is also not allowed to hold a funeral.
  • Members of the Greek Orthodox usually kiss a cross on the chest of the dead person before closing the coffin. Since not all guests are members of the Orthodox Church, it is definitely not required for all of the attendees to do so.
  • It is also a tradition for guests to put a flower on the coffin right before it is brought down to the ground.