Greek Orthodox Funeral Traditions on The Doyenne of Death® Podcast

Dec 15, 2022 | 0 comments

How do Greek Orthodox funeral traditions vary from other church funerals? Father Conan Gill with St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Albuquerque, NM, talks about funeral traditions in the Greek Orthodox church with host Gail Rubin on The Doyenne of Death® Podcast.

Among the topics discussed in this two-part conversation:

  • The Trisagion Service
  • Cremation is forbidden
  • The Meal of Mercy
  • Burial services
  • The Presbytera
  • Remembrance rituals

Listen to Part One of the conversation about Greek Orthodox Funeral Traditions on The Doyenne of Death® Podcast. You can also listen through this YouTube video: Part One 

This interview was originally recorded April 30, 2014 on A Good Goodbye Online Radio Show.

Some Greek Orthodox Funeral Traditions

Greek Orthodox funeral ChristGreek Orthodox funeral traditions have a number of similarities to other Orthodox sects, as well as some significant differences. Other Orthodox Churches include: Antiochian Orthodox, Carpatho-Russian Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, and Ukranian Orthodox. The total number of Orthodox adherents in the US is estimated at almost 4.2 million.

Cremation is frowned upon by the Church and can be a cause to deny holding an Orthodox funeral. A wake or viewing may be held at the mortuary the night before the funeral — an appropriate time for eulogies by family or friends, and a priest may hold a Trisagion Service, which includes the singing of hymns and a homily. The body is usually viewed during the funeral.

The Greek Orthodox funeral ceremony is typically held in a church, usually within two to three days of the death (can be up to one week after). The ceremony can last thirty to sixty minutes, and is not part of a larger service. The priest will lead the Trisagion Service, and several books may be used, including The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. The casket is open throughout the service. Participants may walk by the casket to pay last respects to the deceased. Greek Orthodox will not schedule a funeral on a Sunday or on Holy Saturday.

More background information here.

About The Doyenne of Death

The Doyenne of Death podcast artNew episodes of The Doyenne of Death® podcast are released every Thursday. Episodes are available on the podcast playlist on YouTube as well as wherever you get your podcasts. Recent shows focus on Near Death Experiences (NDEs), the physical impacts of grief, and an interview about the book Last Rites: The Evolution of the American Funeral. Listen to Gail Rubin’s introduction to the series and subscribe here.

Gail Rubin is a Certified Thanatologist, a Certified Funeral Celebrant, an award-winning author and speaker, creator of Newly-Dead® The Game and five-time coordinator of the Before I Die New Mexico Festival.  Learn more about Gail Rubin, the podcast, and her work in death education.

A Good Goodbye