According to a common orthodox funerals custom between the various sects of the Eastern Orthodox Church, their Christians deem that salvation is gained by living Christ-like or holy lives.
Eastern Orthodoxy does not have any customary Western concepts about heaven or hell. It states that these locations are what someone experiences while in the eternal presence of God. If that individual loves God, he will experience heaven. If the person does not love God, he will experience hell.
The moment a member of this church is about to die, a priest will provide that person with the remaining sacraments so that the orthodox funerals can begin.
- Preparing the Body
The initial step in this process is preparing the body by cleaning and washing it. Whilst the priest is facilitating this act, it is normally done by the close friends and family members. If the individual served in the military, he is normally in uniform. If the person served in the church, the individual will wear the robe that he wore during service.
When the body is clean and dressed up, it is ready to be put in the coffin that will be provided by a recognised vendor. The priest will then pepper the sides of the coffin with holy water before the body is put in.
- Special Prayer
When the body is ready, the priest will recite a special prayer for the dead known as the First Panikhida. The wake starts from here until the time when the body is transferred to the church for the ceremony. The visitation normally lasts for three days.
Once the wake is done, it is time for the Orthodox funeral to begin, and the body will be taken to the church. The traditional method of transporting the deceased would be a procession. As the participants lead the singing of the Trisagion hymn, the priest would be seen walking near the casket along with the censer.
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