Liturgical Texts of the Orthodox Church

A. Notification of local presiding Hierarch

Upon the falling asleep in the Lord of a priest the family should immediately inform the local Metropolitan. In addition the family should inform the office of the Archbishop in the event the priest was not from the Direct Archdiocesan District. The family should forward to the office of the Archbishop a brief biography of the departed priest as well as the funeral arrangements to be included in all press releases issued by the Archdiocese. Furthermore, the local presiding Hierarch will designate three priests (if possible) to oversee the preparation and vesting of their departed brother.

B. Preparation of the body before the funeral

Prior to the transportation of the departed priest to the funeral home, the designated priests offer a Trisagion for their departed brother in Christ at the place where he has passed (i.e. home, hospital). Following the Trisagion, the departed priest is transferred to the funeral home.

The family of the departed priest should provide the funeral director with a complete change of clean clothing (undergarments, shoes, pants, socks, shirt etc.), as well as a full set of white or gold vestments including an Aer and pectoral cross and/or epigonation (if the priest had been bestowed the Offikion). Following the preparation of the body by the funeral home, the priests perform the washing and anointing of the body as prescribed in the Mega Euchologion and described in the text that follows. The funeral director should have the body prepared and dressed in undergarments pants and shirt, except for the shoes and socks so that the feet are available for anointing. Once the anointing, vesting, and Trisagion have been completed, the departed priest is transferred to the church in which the funeral will take place.

C. Trisagion

The first Trisagion should be offered, if possible, immediately after the falling asleep in the Lord of the priest at the place of his repose (home, hospital). The second Trisagion should be offered after he is vested with his priestly vestments as outlined in the text that follows. The time of the third Trisagion should be arranged in consultation with the local presiding Hierarch.

D. Position and preparation of the priest inside the church

After the body is transported to the church by the priests to lie in state, the casket is opened and the Holy Gospel is placed on the breast of the departed priest (with the Resurrection side of the Gospel icon facing up) and the priest facing the Holy Altar (East). The priest’s right hand, which is placed in the blessing form, is rested upon the Gospel available for veneration, by the faithful.

E. Divine Liturgy and Funeral Service

The local presiding Hierarch designates the priest/s who will celebrate the Divine Liturgy on the day of the funeral. At the conclusion of the Funeral Service and before the closing of the casket, the pectoral cross and the Holy Gospel are removed. 

The Service of Anointing

Items Needed

1. Bowl 2. Bottle of olive oil 3. Sponge 4. Water

Before beginning, some water and oil are mixed in a bowl. The priests vested in their Rasson and Epitrachilion, proceed with anointing the hands, feet, and forehead of the departed priest while reciting the 50th Psalm. It is customary to make the sign of the cross with the sponge over the areas of the body that are anointed.

Psalm 50

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified in Your sentence and blameless in Your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, You loved truth, You have manifested to me the hidden and secret things of Your wisdom. You shall sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Fill me with joy and gladness; let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to You. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You have no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, You would not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Do good to Zion in Your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, then will You delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on Your altar.

At the conclusion of the anointing service, the priests, while reciting the vesting prayers, dress their departed brother with his priestly vestments.

Vesting of the Priest

(The vesting takes place in the Funeral Home). Before the priests vest their departed brother they bless each vestment and kiss it.

Blessed is our God always, now and forever, and unto to the ages of ages. Amen.

For the Sticharion:

My soul shall rejoice in the Lord, for He has clothed me with the garment of salvation, and with the robe of gladness has He encompassed me. As a bridegroom He has set a crown upon me, and as a bride He has adorned me with ointment.

For the Epitrachelion: 

Blessed is God, Who pours out His grace upon His priests, as ointment upon the head, which runs down upon the beard, the beard of Aaron, which runs down to the hem of his garment.

For the Zone (belt):

Blessed is God, Who girds me with strength, and has made my path blameless. 

For the right Epimanikion:

Your right hand, O Lord, is glorified in strength; Your right hand, O Lord, has shattered Your enemies, and in the multitude of Your glory have You crushed adversaries.

For the left Epimanikion:

Your hands have made me and fashioned me; teach me, and I shall learn Your commandments.

If the departed priest has been bestowed with the offikion of wearing an Epigonation:

Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One, in Your comeliness and in Your beauty, and go forth and prosper, and reign because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness; and Your right hand shall guide You wondrously.

For the Phelonion:

Your priests, O Lord, shall clothe themselves with righteousness, and Your holy ones shall joyfully rejoice.

If the departed priest has the offikion of wearing a pectoral cross, the attending priests put it on him (open the back of the chain on the pectoral cross and drape the chain over the shoulders of the departed priest, so that after the funeral, it may be easily removed) saying:

Placement of the Pectoral Cross:

He who wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.

At this time the vesting priests will offer a Trisagion for the eternal repose of the soul of their departed brother.

Trisagion

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

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (3)
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 Your name’s sake.
Lord, have mercy. (3)
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.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Among the spirits of the righteous perfected in faith, give rest, O Savior, to the soul of Your servant. Bestow upon it the blessed life which is from You, O loving Lord.

Within Your peace, O Lord, where all Your Saints repose, give rest also to the soul of Your servant, for You alone are immortal.

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

O Savior, You are our God who descended into Hades and delivered from suffering those who were bound there. Grant rest also to the soul of Your servant.

Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Most pure and spotless Virgin, who ineffably gave birth to God, intercede with Him for the salvation of the soul of your servant. Have mercy upon us, O God, according to Your great mercy; we pray to You, hear us and have mercy.

Lord, have mercy. (3)

Furthermore, we pray for the rest of the soul of the servant of God (Name), Priest, who has been our Brother and Concelebrant who has fallen asleep, and for the forgiveness of all his transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary.

Lord, have mercy. (3)

May the Lord God grant that his soul rest where the righteous repose. Let us ask for the mercies of God, the kingdom of heaven, and the forgiveness of his sins from Christ our Immortal King and God.

Grant this, O Lord.

Let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

O God of spirits and of all flesh, You have trampled upon death and have abolished the power of the devil, giving life to Your world. Give rest to the soul of Your departed servant (Name), Priest, who has been our Brother and Concelebrant, in a place of light, in a place of repose, in a place of refreshment, where there is no pain, sorrow, and suffering. As a good and loving God, forgive every sin he has committed in thought, word or deed, 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.

Let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For You are the resurrection, the life, and the repose of Your departed servant (Name), Priest, who has been our Brother and Concelebrant, Christ our God, and to You we give glory, with Your eternal Father and Your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

The Dismissal

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

May Christ our true God, who rose from the dead and as immortal King has authority over the living and the dead, have mercy on us and save us, through the intercessions of his 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, establish the soul of His servant (Name), Priest, who has been our Brother and Concelebrant, departed from us, in the dwelling place of the Saints; grant rest to him in the bosom of Abraham and number him among the righteous. 

May your memory be eternal, our brother, who are worthy of blessedness and eternal memory. (3)

Chanted:

May his memory be eternal. (3)

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


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