Memorials for the Dead
In God and His Church there is no division between the living and the departed, but all are one in the love of the Father. Whether we are alive or whether we are dead, as members of the Church we still belong to the same family, and still have a duty to bear one another’s burdens. Therefore, just as Orthodox Christians here on earth pray for one another, and ask for one another’s prayers, so they pray also for the faithful departed, and ask the faithful departed to pray for them. Death cannot sever the bond of mutual love which links the members of the Church together.
According to the teachings of the Church, the results of the Resurrection are placed in the realm of the future. Nevertheless, its initial meaning is revealed in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, for in Baptism we both die and rise, or rather we are initiated into the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3-11). T
he finality and power of death is destroyed, for Christ has, by His Resurrection destroyed its power. On the last day, the bodies of all the dead in Christ will rise in their glorified form (1 Corinthians 15:43). The glorified body and the soul will compose again their indestructible unity, as Christ, the God-man, both before and after His Resurrection, was and is an indivisible unity. We mourn the death of our loved ones, but we pray that they will find rest and forgiveness in Christ. Ours is the duty to pray for the repose of all members of the Body of Christ. As tokens of the immortality of the soul, boiled wheat (Kolyva) is prepared and brought to church for the Memorial Service (Mnimosinon), at which prayers for the repose of the souls of those departed are offered (John 12:24). Memorials are offered the fortieth day after death, and on the first anniversary of one’s death, and once a year thereafter, if the family wishes. Memorials are also chanted on the two Saturdays before the beginning of Great Lent, the first Saturday of Great Lent, and on the Saturday before the Sunday of Pentecost. These particular Saturdays, called Saturdays of the Soul or Psychosavvata, are set aside for the commemoration of all departed Orthodox Christians, and their salvation.
Memorial Services may not be held on the following days:
1.) From the Saturday of Lazarus through the Sunday of St. Thomas
2.) All the Feastdays of our Lord
3.) August 15