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December 10, 2018

Orthodox Funeral Service
With Explanation and Trisagion

- HAOCC Staff Writer -




The following is a brief explanation of the Orthodox Christian prayers and funeral service for those who have fallen asleep. Both the 'Thrice-Holy' (Trisagion) and Funeral Service can be found in their entirety by scrolling down.


An Explanation of the Orthodox Christian Funeral Service

By: Father Nektarios Morrow

God’s mercy is infinite and His goodness is beyond measure.  This is what our Holy Church has always maintained, and thus believes and hopes that the loving Lord will be merciful even to the deceased. For this reason the hymnographers of the Orthodox Church have composed a most moving Funeral Service that is virtually a treasure-house of profound spiritual thoughts.

From the earliest Christian times, psalms and hymns were sung to our life-giving God when a believer died.  But the basic parts of the Funeral Service in use today can be traced mainly to the fifth century. With the passage of time the Service has been enriched with psalms and hymns so that it has become one of the most versatile, dramatic and impassionate services of our Church.

The Funeral Service of the Orthodox Church is an example of how Orthodox theology influences the formation of a healthy understanding of the true nature of life and death. The Service accomplishes the following: a) utilizes the occasion of death to help us develop a more profound understanding of the meaning and purpose of life; b) helps us to deal with the emotions we have at the time of death and as time passes after the death; c) emphasizes the fact that death for the Christian is not the end, and affirms our hope in salvation and eternal life; d) recognizes the existence of the emotions of grief caused by the separation from a loved one, and encourages their expression.

In the readings, prayers, and hymns of the Funeral Service a dramatic dialogue takes place between the faithful and God and the deceased and God. The Service acknowledges the reality of human existence—the frailty of life and the vanity of worldly things—and directs our minds and hearts to contemplate the incomparable value of the eternal blessings of God’s kingdom. At the same time with a contrite spirit, the priests and people invoke the infinite mercy of the Almighty God for the departed.

Anyone who attentively follows the hymns and prayers of the Funeral Service will be edified and consoled in many ways. The Service is not only an opportunity to express our love for our loved one who has fallen asleep; it is also a sacred time, a marvelous opportunity for reflection and inner meditation on our own relationship with God and on the orientation of our lives. When we reflect on the sublime thoughts of the Funeral Service our souls become contrite, our hearts are softened, and we pray fervently for the forgiveness and the repose of the person who has been transferred to the life beyond the grave. Also, we who are still alive are beckoned to live the rest of our lives in repentance and in full dedication to Christ.

Saint John Chrysostom beautifully observes:

“The Jews of the Old Testament wept for Jacob and for Moses for forty days. Today, however, during the funeral of the faithful, the Church raises hymns and prayers and psalms. We glorify and thank God, because “He crowned the departing,” because “He relieved the pains,” because “He expelled the fear,” and has the deceased believer near Him.  This is why the hymns and psalms reveal that in the event of death there is pleasure and joy following the glorious Resurrection of the Savior Jesus Christ. For the psalms and hymns are symbols of joy, according to the Apostolic word: “Is any cheerful? Let him sing praises” (James 5:13). This is why we sing psalms over the dead—psalms which move us to have courage and not to despair over the death of our brother.”


St. John Chrysostom, On the Holy Martyrs Bernice and Prosdoke the Virgins and their Mother Domnina,

“With the spirits of the righteous made perfect, give rest to the soul of Your servant, O Savior, and preserve it in that life of blessedness which is with You, O You Who loves mankind.”

Order of the Funeral Service

The Funeral Service of the Orthodox Christian Church consists of hymns, prayers, and readings from the Scriptures. The order of the Service is as follows:

The Trisagion Service, chanted at the funeral home or in the church on the evening before the funeral service and on the day of the funeral, at the graveside following the funeral service, and for memorial services. 

Before the Funeral Service itself, the brief Trisagion or “Thrice-Holy” Service is served at the place where the deceased lies. This service derives its name because it begins with the familiar prayer, “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us,” repeated three times.  After the initial prayers, four hymns are chanted asking the Lord to give rest to the deceased among those who have already been perfected in the faith. A litany follows and is concluded with a prayer that includes again the petition to the Lord to grant rest to the deceased and asks for the forgiveness of sins. Before the service is concluded, the faithful sing, “May your memory be eternal.”

Order and Explanation of the Funeral Service

Psalmody

The Funeral Service begins with the chanting in three stanzas of verses from Psalm 119 (118 in the Septuagint). In Greek this is referred to as the Amomos (The Blameless) because the first words are, “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.” Following the first stanza, a small litany is said with petitions for the departed.  If more than one priest is officiating, this litany is said after each stanza.

Evlogetaria

Following the chanting of Psalm 119 are the Funeral Praises, the Evlogetaria. These hymns are chanted in a solemn tone which highlights there deep theological content. They are called “Evlogetaria” (meaning hymns of praise) because each one is proceeded by Psalm 119:12, “Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your statutes.” Their designation as the Funeral Evlogetaria distinguishes them from the Resurrectional Evlogetaria that are chanted during the Sunday Matins service. For the Funeral Service for a member of the clergy, two additional Evlogetaria are included.

Kontakion and Hymns of the Eight Tones

At the conclusion of the Evlogetaria, the Kontakion of the Funeral Service is chanted: “With the Saints give rest, O Christ, to the soul of Your servant where there is no pain, nor sorrow, nor suffering, but life everlasting.”

During the chanting of this hymn, the priest censes the deceased and the faithful, as well as the Holy Altar Table and icons. Following this are chanted the very moving hymns known as the Idiomela.  Each hymn has its own particular melody and are sung in the order of the eight modes or tones of Byzantine chant. These hymns and their changing melodic modes express the mixed emotions of grief and consolation that come from the loss of a loved one and in our affirmation of our hope in God’s promise of rest for the departed and eternal life.

Scripture Readings

In addition to the prayers and hymnody, the Funeral Service also includes two Scripture lessons, one from the Epistle (the liturgical book that contains the lections from the Book of Acts and the Epistles) and another from the Gospel (the liturgical book of the four Gospels arranged in pericopes or lections). The assigned readings for the service are I Thessalonians 4:13-17 and John 5:24-30. The Epistle and the Gospel also list several alternate readings which include from the Epistle;   I Corinthians 15:47-57; I Corinthians 15:20-28; Romans 14:6-9; and from the Gospel; John 5:17-24; John 6:35-39; John 6:40-44; and John 6:48-54. All of these passages reflect the Church’s belief in the reality of Christ’s death and Resurrection and of the benefits that we derive from them, namely, the resurrection of our body on the last day, and the promise of incorruption and immortality.

Prayers and Dismissal

Following the readings, the small litany that was said earlier is repeated, and priest offers a prayer for the repose of the deceased. At this point a special prayer is added if a hierarch is officiating and/or the funeral is for a member of the clergy. The priest, addressing Christ who defeated death, asks the “God of spirits and of all humankind” to grant rest to the soul of the deceased, “now asleep in a place of light, a place of renewed life, a joyous place….” The Dismissal prayer of the Funeral Service once again introduces the hope of the resurrection as the priest calls upon the intercessions of the all-holy Virgin Mary-Theotokos, the holy Apostles, the holy Fathers, the three Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and of the holy and righteous Lazarus, the friend of Christ who was raised from the dead by our Lord. After this prayer the faithful sing, “May your memory be eternal.”

The Kiss of Peace and Anointing

Following the dismissal prayer comes the moment of our final farewell greeting to the deceased. As the people come forward to look upon the deceased, the choir or chanters sing hymns that invite them to offer a kiss to the one who has reposed in the faith while they pray for the Lord to give the person rest. The kiss given to the deceased is an expression of love for the departed, but it is also an affirmation that the one who has fallen asleep is worthy of the fulfillment of God’s promises having lived a life of faith and known the grace of God.

After the people and the family have come and offered their final greeting, the priest anoints the body in the sign of the Cross with oil and earth. As the priest anoints with the oil he says: “Sprinkle me with hyssop and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow”(Psalm 51:7).  As the priest anoints the body with earth, he says: “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world and all that dwell in it.” (Psalm 24:1) “You are dust and to dust you shall return.”  (Genesis 3:19)

At the Cemetery

Following the Funeral Service, the priest and people proceed to the cemetery.  Here, the priest chants the Trisagion and the body is committed to the grave to await the return of our Lord and the resurrection of the dead.

Memorial Services

On the Sunday following the funeral a special commemoration service is held at the end of the Divine Liturgy as an expression of gratitude to Almighty God for His merciful will to grant rest and save the soul of the departed person. The same hymns and prayers, the Trisagion Service, were read before the funeral service and at the cemetery. Memorial services are also held forty days after the death of a person and after one year. It is also a custom of some to hold commemoration services after six months and annually on the anniversary of the repose in the faith of their loved one.

Sources:

Nikolaos P. Vassiliadis. The Mystery of Death. Second Edition. Translated by Peter A. Chamberas. Athens: Orthodox Brotherhood of Theologians, 1997. pp. 352-377.

Alkiviadis C. Calivas. Essays in Theology and Liturgy. Volume 3. Aspects of Orthodox Worship. Brookline: Holy Cross Press, 2003. p. 157.


 

THE TRISAGION 

Priest: Blessed is our God always, now and forever and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen. Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (x3)

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, forgive our sins. Master, pardon our transgressions. Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for the glory of Your name.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Priest: For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

People: Among the spirits of the righteous perfected in faith, give rest, O Savior, to the soul(s) of Your servant(s), keeping it (them) in the blessed life which is from You, O loving One.

In Your place of rest, O Lord, where all Your Saints repose, give rest also to the soul(s) of Your servant(s), for You alone are immortal.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit...

You are our God who descended into Hades and loosened the pains of those who were held captive. Grant rest also, O Savior, to the soul(s) of Your servant(s).

Now and forever and to the ages of ages.

You the only pure and spotless Virgin, who ineffably gave birth to God, intercede for mercy and forgiveness of the soul(s) of your servant(s).

Priest: Have mercy upon us, O God, according to Your great mercy; we pray to You, hear us and have mercy.

People: Lord, have mercy. (x3)

Priest: Again we pray for the repose of the soul(s) of the departed servant(s) of God (Name) and for the forgiveness of all his (her, their) sins, both voluntary and involuntary.

People: Lord, have mercy. (x3)

Priest: May the Lord God grant his (her, their) soul(s) rest where the righteous repose. For the mercies of God, the kingdom of heaven, and the forgiveness of his (her, their) sins, let us ask from Christ our immortal King and God.

People: Grant this, O Lord.

Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Priest: O God of spirits and of all flesh, You trampled upon death and abolished the power of the devil, giving life to Your world. Give rest to the soul(s) of Your departed servant(s) (Name), in a place of light, in a place of green pasture, in a place of refreshment, from where pain, sorrow, and sighing have fled away. As a good and loving God, forgive every sin he (she, they) has (have) committed in word, deed, or thought, for there is no one who lives and does not sin. You alone are without sin. Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your word is truth.

Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Priest: For You are the resurrection, the life, and the repose of Your departed servant(s) (Name), Christ our God, and to You we offer glory, with Your eternal Father who is without beginning and Your all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

The Dismissal

Priest: Glory to You, O God, our hope, glory to You.

People: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen. Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Holy Father bless.

Priest: Lord of the living and the dead, the immortal King and Risen Christ, our true God, through the intercessions of His all-pure and spotless holy Mother; of the holy, glorious, and praiseworthy Apostles; of our venerable and God-bearing Fathers; of the holy and glorious forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; of His holy and righteous friend Lazaros, who lay in the grave four days; and of all the saints; place the soul(s) of His servant(s) (Name), departed from us, in the dwelling place of the righteous; grant rest to him (her, them) in the bosom of Abraham; and number him (her, them) among the saints and have mercy on us as a good God who loves mankind.

Priest: May your memory be eternal, dear brother(s)/sister(s)worthy of blessedness and everlasting memory. + (x3)

People: Amen. Eternal be his(her, their)memory. Eternal be his(her, their)memory. Eternal be his(her, their)memory.(x3)

Priest: Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us and save us.

People:  Amen.


 

FUNERAL SERVICE

 

Priest: Blessed is our God, always now and forever and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

The First Stanza, pl. 2nd

The blameless are on the way. Alleluia. 

Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your statutes. Alleluia. 

My soul is worn with endless longing for Your judgments at all times. Alleluia. 

My soul has slumbered from sorrow; strengthen me with Your words. Alleluia. 

Incline my heart unto Your testimonies, and not unto covetousness. Alleluia. 

Despair took hold on me because of sinners that forsake Your Law. Alleluia. 

I am a partaker with all that fear You, and with them that keep Your commandments. Alleluia. 

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen. Alleluia.

Priest: Have mercy upon us, O God, according to Your great mercy; we pray to You, hear us and have mercy.

People: Lord, have mercy. (x3)

Priest: Again we pray for the repose of the soul(s) of the departed servant(s) of God (Name) and for the forgiveness of all his (her, their) sins, both voluntary and involuntary.

People: Lord, have mercy. (x3)

Priest: May the Lord God grant his (her, their) soul(s) rest where the righteous repose. For the mercies of God, the kingdom of heaven, and the forgiveness of his (her, their) sins, let us ask from Christ our immortal King and God.

People: Grant this, O Lord.

Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Priest: For You are the resurrection, the life, and the repose of Your departed servant(s) (Name), Christ our God, and to You we offer glory, with Your eternal Father who is without beginning and Your all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

The Second Stanza, pl. 1st

Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding, and I will learn Your commandments. Have mercy upon me, O Lord. 

For I am become as a bottle in the frost; yet Your statutes have I not forgotten. Have mercy upon me, O Lord. 

I am Yours, O save me; for after Your statutes have I sought. Have mercy upon me, O Lord. 

From Your judgments I have not declined, for You have set a Law for me. Have mercy upon me, O Lord. 

I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes, forever, in return for Your mercies. Have mercy upon me, O Lord. 

It is time to serve the Lord; but they have violated Your law. Have mercy upon me, O Lord.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen. Have mercy upon me Lord.

If Additional Priest Serving, 2ndPriest:

Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Priest: For You are the resurrection, the life, and the repose of Your departed servant(s) (Name), Christ our God, and to You we offer glory, with Your eternal Father who is without beginning and Your all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Third Stanza, pl. 4th

And have mercy upon me. Alleluia. 

Look upon me, and have mercy on me. According to the judgment of them that love Your Name. Alleluia. 

I am young and accounted as nothing. Your statutes have I not forgotten. Hear my voice, O Lord, according to Your mercy; According to Your judgments quicken me. Alleluia. 

Princes have persecuted me without a cause, and because of Your words my heart has been afraid. Alleluia.

My soul shall live, and shall praise You, And Your judgments will help me. Alleluia.

I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost. Seek Your servant, for I have not forgotten Your commandments.

If Additional Priest Serving, 3rdPriest:

Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Priest: For You are the resurrection, the life, and the repose of Your departed servant(s) (Name), Christ our God, and to You we offer glory, with Your eternal Father who is without beginning and Your all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Evlogetaria For the Dead

Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes.

The Choir of the Saints has found the Fountain of Life, and the Door of Paradise. May I also find the way through repentance: the sheep that was lost am I; call me up to You, O Savior, and save me.

If there are more than three priests, each repeats after each troparion: "Let us pray to the Lord," followed by "For You are the Resurrection and the Life..."

Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes.

You Who of old did fashion me out of nothingness, and with Your Image divine did honor me; but because of transgression of Your commandments did return me again to the earth where I was taken; lead me back to be refashioned into that ancient beauty of Your Likeness.

Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes.

Image am I of Your unutterable glory, though I bear the scars of my stumblings. Have compassion on me, the work of Your hands, O Sovereign Lord, and cleanse me through Your loving-kindness; and the homeland of my heart's desire bestow on me by making me a citizen of Paradise.

Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes.

Give rest, O God, unto Your servant, and appoint for him (her) a place in Paradise; where the choirs of the Saints, O Lord, and the just will shine forth like stars; to Your servant that is sleeping now do You give rest, overlooking all his (her) offenses.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

The Trinal Radiance of One Godhead with reverent song acclaiming let us cry; Holy are You, O Eternal Father, and Son also Eternal, and Spirit Divine; shine with Your light on us who with faith adore You; and from the fire eternal rescue us.

Both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Hail, O Gracious Lady, that in the flesh bears God for salvation of all; and through whom the human race has found salvation: through You may we find Paradise, Theotokos, our Lady pure and blessed.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia; Glory to You, O God. (x3)

Kontakion in the 8thTone

Give rest, O Christ, give rest among the Saints to the soul(s)of Your servant(s), where there is no pain, no sorrow, nor suffering, but life everlasting.

1stTone

Composed by St. John of Damascus

Where is the pleasure in life which is unmixed with sorrow? Where the glory which on earth has stood firm and unchanged? All things are weaker than shadow, all more illusive than dreams; comes one fell stroke, and Death in turn, prevails over all these vanities. Wherefore in the Light, O Christ, of Your countenance, the sweetness of Your beauty, to him(her) whom You have chosen grant repose, for You are the Friend of Mankind.

2ndTone

Like a blossom that wastes away, and like a dream that passes and is gone, so is every mortal into dust resolved; but again, when the trumpet sounds its call, as though at a quaking of the earth, all the dead shall arise and go forth to meet You, O Christ our God: on that day, O Lord, for him(her) whom You have withdrawn from among us appoint a place in the tents of Your Saints; yea, for the spirit of Your servant, O Christ.

Another in 2ndTone

Alas! What an agony the soul endures when from the body it is parting; how many are her tears for weeping, but there is none that will show compassion: unto the angels she turns with downcast eyes; useless are her supplications; and unto men she extends her imploring hands, but finds none to bring her rescue. Thus, my beloved brethren, let us all ponder well how brief is the span of our life; and peaceful rest for him(her) that now is gone, let us ask of Christ, and also His abundant mercy for our souls.

3rdTone

Vanity are all the works and quests of man, and they have no being after death has come; our wealth is with us no longer. How can our glory go with us? For when death has come all these things are vanished clean away. Wherefore to Christ the Immortal King let us cry, "To him(her) that has departed grant repose where a home is prepared for all those whose hearts You have filled with gladness."

4thTone

Terror truly past compare is by the mystery of death inspired; now the soul and the body part, disjoined by resistless might, and their concord is broken; and the bond of nature which made them live and grow as one, now by the edict of God is rest in twain. Wherefore now we implore Your aid grant that Your servant now gone to rest where the just that are Yours abide, Life-bestower and Friend of Mankind.

4thTone

Where is now our affection for earthly things? Where is now the alluring pomp of transient questing? Where is now our gold, and our silver? Where is now the surging crowd of domestics, and their busy cries? All is dust, all is ashes, all is shadow. Wherefore draw near that we may cry to our immortal King, "Lord, Your everlasting blessings vouchsafe unto him(her) that now has gone away. bringing him(her) to repose in that blessedness which never grows old."

Pl. 1st

I Called to mind the Prophet who shouted, "I am but earth and ash." And once again I looked with attention on the tombs, and I saw the bones therein which of flesh were naked; and I said, "Which indeed is he that is king? Or which is soldier? Which is the wealthy, which the needy? Which the righteous, or which the sinner?" But to Your servant, O Lord, grant that with the righteous he(she) may repose.

Pl. 2ndTone

My beginning and foundation was the form; bestowing Word of Your commandment; for it pleased You to make me by compounding visible and invisible nature into a living thing. Out of earth was my body formed and made, but a soul You gave me by the Divine and Life-creating in-breathing. Wherefore, O Christ, to Your servant in the land of the living, in the courts of the righteous, do You grant repose.

Grave Tone

Bring to his(her) rest, O our Savior, You giver of life, our brother(sister) whom You have withdrawn from this transient world, for he(she) lifts up his(her) voice to cry: "Glory to You."

Another in Grave Tone

When in Your own image and likeness You in the beginning did create and fashion man, You gave him a home in Paradise, and made him the chief of your creation. But by the devil's envy, alas, beguiled to eat the fruit forbidden, transgressor then of Your commandments he became; wherefore back to earth, from which he first was taken, You did sentence him to return again, O Lord, and to pray You to give him rest.

Pl. 4th

Weep, and with tears lament when with understanding I think on death, and see how in the graves there sleeps the beauty which once for us was fashioned in the image of God, but now is shapeless, ignoble, and bare of all the graces. O how strange a thing; what is this mystery which concerns us humans? Why were we given up to decay? And why to death united in wedlock? Truly, as it is written, these things come to pass by ordinance of God, Who to him(her), now gone gives rest.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit…

The death which You have endured, O Lord, is become the harbinger of deathlessness; if You had not been laid in Your tomb, then would not the gates of Paradise have been opened; wherefore to him(her), now gone from us give rest, for You are the Friend of Mankind.

Both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Virgin chaste and holy, Gateway of the Word, Mother of our God, make supplication that his(her) soul find mercy.

Prokeimenon, 3rdTone

Blessed is the way wherein you walk today, for there is prepared for you a place of rest. (3x’s)

Priest:Let us be attentive.

Reader:Unto You, O Lord, will I cry.

Priest: Wisdom.

Reader: The reading from the First Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians. (I Thess. 4:13-18)

Priest: Let us attend.

Reader: Brethren, we would not have you ignorant concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Priest: Peace be to you the reader.

People: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Priest: Wisdom, arise. Let us hear the Holy Gospel. Peace be to all.

People: And with your spirit.

Priest: The Holy Gospel is according to Saint John, let us be attentive. (John 5:24‑30)

People: Glory to You, O Lord, glory to You.

Priest: The Lord said to those Jews which had come to him: Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life 'in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him the authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

People: Glory to You, O Lord, glory to You.

Priest:Have mercy on us, O God, in Your great goodness, we pray to You, hear us and have mercy.

People:Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Priest:Again we pray for the repose of the soul(s)of God’s servant(s),(Name), departed this life, and for the forgiveness of his(her,their)every sin, whether deliberate or unintended.

People:Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Priest:That the Lord God will establish his(her, their)soul(s) where the righteous dwell. God’s mercies, the Kingdom of the Heavens, and remission of his(her, their)sins let us ask of Christ our immortal King and God.

People:Grant this, O Lord.

Priest:Let us pray to the Lord.

People:Lord have mercy.

Priest:God of spirits and of all mankind, as You trampled down death, overthrowing the Evil One and granting life to Your world, will You, Lord, grant rest to Your servant(s),(Name), now asleep in death, in a place of light, in a place of renewed life, a joyous place, shunned alike by pain and sorrow and suffering.

Forgive every sin he(she, they)may have committed, in word or deed or thought, as our good and loving God; for no one can live and not sin. You alone are without sin. Your righteousness endures forever, and Your word in truth.

Priest:Let us pray to the Lord.

People:Lord have mercy.

Priest:For You are the resurrection, the life and the repose of Your departed servant(s),(Name), O Christ our God, and to You do we ascribe glory, as to Your Father who is from everlasting, and Your all-holy, good and life-creating Spirit, both now and forever and unto the ages of ages. 

The Dismissal

Priest: Glory to You, O God, our hope, glory to You.

People: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen. Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Holy Father bless.

Priest: Lord of the living and the dead, the immortal King and Risen Christ, our true God, through the intercessions of His all-pure and spotless holy Mother; of the holy, glorious, and praiseworthy Apostles; of our venerable and God-bearing Fathers; of the holy and glorious forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; of His holy and righteous friend Lazaros, who lay in the grave four days; and of all the saints; place the soul(s) of His servant(s) (Name), departed from us, in the dwelling place of the righteous; grant rest to him (her, them) in the bosom of Abraham; and number him (her, them) among the saints and have mercy on us as a good God who loves mankind.

Priest: May your memory be eternal, dear brother(s)/sister(s)worthy of blessedness and everlasting memory. + (x3)

People:Amen. Eternal be his(her, their)memory. Eternal be his(her, their)memory. Eternal be his(her, their)memory.(3)

Sermon, followed by the choir chanting the hymns of the Last Kiss…

Brethren, come, and let us give a farewell kiss give to him(her) whom death has taken, and offer thanks to God. For he(she) has departed from the bosom of his(her) kin; and he(she) hastens to burial, no longer remembering vanity, nor yet the flesh which is often sore distressed. Where are now his(her) kindred and comrades? Now is come the hour of partings: let us pray to the Lord to bring him(her) to his(her) rest.

Brethren, what at this last moment means your distress of parting, your wailing? What means your funeral dirge? Come, and give a kiss to him(her) so lately with us: for consigned to the grave is he(she) with stone is he(she) to be covered. Darkness is his(her) dwelling place; he(she) with the dead is entombed. Come, all you his(her) kindred and comrades: now is come the hour of parting. Let us pray to the Lord to bring him(her) to his(her) rest.

Mother of the never setting Sun, Parent of our God, O preserve them that set their hope on you; intercede, we pray you, with our greatly gracious Lord, that repose may be granted him(her) that now is departed. In that habitation where repose the souls of the Just: and unto everlasting remembrance set him(her) in the courts of the Righteous, made all-blameless, as the heir of blessings divine.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Looking on me as I lie here prone before you, voiceless and unbreathing, mourn for me, everyone; brethren and friends, kindred, and you who knew me well; for but yesterday with you I was talking, and suddenly there came upon me the fearful hour of death: therefore come, all you that long for me, and kiss me with the last kiss of parting. For no longer shall I walk with you, nor talk with you henceforth: for to the Judge I go, where no person is valued for his(her) earthly station: Yea, slave and master together stand before Him, king and soldier, rich man and poor man, all accounted of equal rank: for each one, according to his(her)own deeds shall be glorified, or shall be put to shame. Therefore I beg you all, and implore you, to offer prayer unceasingly for me to Christ our God, that I be not assigned for my sins to the place of torment; but that He assign me to the place where there is Light of Life.

Both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Through the prayers of her that gave You birth, O Christ, and the prayers of Your Forerunner, of Apostles, Prophets, Hierarchs, Ascetics, and of the Righteous, and of all the Saints, to Your sleeping servant do You grant repose.

Then the Priest sprinkles the deceased in the form of the Cross with oil, saying:

Priest: You shall sprinkle me with hyssop and I shall be clean. You shall wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

Then the priest sprinkles the deceased in the form of the Cross with earth, saying:

Priest: The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and all that dwell therein. You are dust, and to dust you will return.

Upon Procession Departing Church:

Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Priest: For You are the resurrection, the life, and the repose of Your departed servant(s) (Name), Christ our God, and to You we offer glory, with Your eternal Father who is without beginning and Your all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Priest: Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy and save us.

People: Amen.



Holy Apostles Staff Writers are contributors from within the Orthodox community in Cheyenne, Wyoming who share event postings and photographs which are posted on this blo
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Holy Apostles Staff Writers are contributors from within the Orthodox community in Cheyenne, Wyoming who share event postings and photographs which are posted on this blog in order to enhance the online experience.