In Preparation for the Funeral
Choose the mortuary you will be using and contact them. (St. Paul’s can recommend a mortuary if needed.)
Our tradition as Orthodox Christians is to bury the dead. The body of the deceased is respectfully placed in a casket and set in a grave. The body of the deceased, which St. Paul describes as “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19), is returned to the earth from which it was taken (Genesis 2:7). For an Orthodox Funeral Service to be held, cremation is not an option.
Choose the cemetery where your loved one will be buried and contact them to make the necessary arrangements: the choosing and purchasing of a burial plot, headstone, etc.
Bring a set of clothes (suit/dress) for your loved one to the mortuary to provide the necessary clothing for them to be buried in. (Sometimes a recent photo of the deceased will be requested by the mortuary to be used in their preparation of the body for the funeral.)
Choose a casket.
Our tradition as Orthodox Christians is that the casket normally be open during services at the mortuary and the Church. The casket is closed for the graveside Trisagion.
Choose icon memorial cards and a guest book for those attending services. (These are usually provided by the mortuary.)
Consider obiturary notices. The mortuary will ask about obituary notices both in print and online.
The mortuary will ask about the number of death certificates that need to be ordered from the State for legal and financial purposes such as insurance policies, veterans and social security benefits, etc. Normally, 5-10 death certificates will be needed.
Choose pallbearers. (Six are needed.)
Choose a florist. (In times past, thousands of dollars might be spent on flowers for a funeral. As Orthodox Christians, we believe it is far more consistent with our values to choose a charity for memorial donations to be made. Many people choose St. Paul’s and/or other Orthodox charities – such as Project Mexico, OCMC and IOCC – to receive memorial donations.)