Funeral services are conducted only for those people who are Orthodox Christians in regular Canonical and Spiritual standing with the Church. In other words, only those people who have been Baptized and Chrismated in the Orthodox Church and have had their marriage blessed in the Orthodox Church are eligible for an Orthodox Christian Funeral.
In the event of a death in the family, the following steps should be taken:
- Call Fr. Gregory (cellphone 240-676-6944). If at all possible, he will come to pray the Trisagion before officials come to take the deceased.
- Call the funeral director of your choice, who can arrange for the deceased to be removed, and can advise you on other steps that may need to be taken.
- Arrangements for the funeral service should be made with the priest in conjunction with the funeral director. No funerals are permitted on Sunday, the day of the Resurrection of our Lord.
- If there is a viewing on the evening before the funeral, the priest will come to conduct a Trisagion. If there is no evening viewing, the Trisagion will be said when the deceased is first brought to the Church for the funeral.
- No lay person is permitted to deliver a funeral oration in the Church. The Archdiocese explicitly prohibits lay people speaking in Church unless they are lay preachers designated by the Archdiocese.
- Funeral services conducted by lay organizations, although discouraged, may be held the evening before the funeral and prior to the Trisagion conducted by the priest. However, from the time of the evening Trisagion to the burial at the cemetery, no other services may be held.
A Funeral Service May Not Be Held in Cases of:
Suicide — As no one is permitted to take the life of another, likewise no one is permitted to take his/her own life; that is, suicide is viewed by the Church as self-murder and consequently as grave sin. If, however, it is clear that someone has taken his life in a compromised mental state, the Bishop may give his blessing for a Church funeral be held.
Cremation — Cremation is absolutely forbidden by the Church as being blasphemous to the body of man which is “the temple of the Holy Spirit.” Cremation is contrary to the faith and tradition of our Church and is forbidden to Orthodox Christians. A Church funeral is denied a person who has been or will be cremated.
St. Demetrios has a dedicated, Orthodox section of Fernwood Cemetery, very close to the Church. Please call the Church Office to inquire about purchasing a plot.
Some families prefer Memorial Donations to flowers. If this is the choice of the family, mention should be made to the funeral director so that notification can be placed in the Obituary. Acknowledgments to the donors are made by the Church Office and a list sent to the family.
Makaria (Meal of Blessedness) – Funeral Luncheon
The Makaria meal following the funeral service serves as a means of comforting the bereaved family and expressing thanks to those who attended the services or assisted the bereaved family in their hour of grief.
If you desire to have a Memorial Service for a departed loved one you should make arrangements with the church office at least two weeks prior to the day desired.
Memorial Services are not held:
1. All Holy Days of our Lord (Despotikai Eortai): Christmas, Epiphany, Pascha, Transfiguration, etc.
2. From the Saturday of Lazarus to and including St. Thomas Sunday
3. Pentecost Sunday
4. August 15
Memorial Services are usually held on the:
1. 40th day
2. Sixth month
3. First year
4. Third year
5. Saturday of the Souls set aside throughout the Church Year
- Koliva, call the church office if you want someone to make the Koliva
- List of names to be commemorated (print full baptismal first name only, no nicknames)
- Candles (2)
- Communion Wine (Saint John Commandaria preferred)
These Memorial Supplies are all available for purchase through the Church Office.
If you wish Fr. Gregory to come to the cemetery to conduct a Trisagion after the Memorial Service, please notify the Church Office at the time you reserve the Memorial.