Russian Orthodox Funeral Services Sydney
Russian Orthodox Funerals
In Russian Orthodox Funerals, while there is mourning over the loss of a loved one, you can be encouraged by your faith in the everlasting life they have to come. We celebrate this knowledge with you and aim to provide a respectful service that highlights the cultural and personal values of your faith.
Our team at Orthodox Funerals has over 30 years of experience managing all aspects of Orthodox Funeral Services for all Orthodox denominations and cultures. We know what it takes to ensure your loved one receives the honourable service they deserve.
The Rituals of a Russian Orthodox Funeral
Many superstitions still surround modern Russian Funerals, including whether a death is considered ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on how it occurred.
A ‘good’ death is considered a natural end to one’s life, whereas a ‘bad’ death is considered any accident or illness that besets unexpectedly.
Once a death has occurred, Russian tradition states that the dead person’s soul will remain on Earth for 40 additional days.
As soon as a loved one passes away, if it was not in the care of a medical professional, you need to notify the police. You should also notify family and anyone who will be helping you with the burial arrangements including a Russian Orthodox priest.
In Russian Orthodox tradition, the body of the deceased should be bathed, clothed in white and wrapped in a belt for protection. In Russian folklore, it is believed the soul needs to be bound to the body after death, hence the belt. After this preparation, the body is left in an open casket for three full days, while friend and family pay their respects.
During the three days, every mirror will be covered with a black cloth, and all the clocks in the house will be stopped. This is believed to help the spirit of the deceased person pass quickly into the afterlife. It is also believed that the first person to see themselves in a mirror after death, will be the next to die. Family and mourners can pay their respects or place personal effects or money in the casket to aid the deceased in their passage.
Procession and Burial for Russian Orthodox Funerals
It is common for funeral guests to follow behind the casket and throw sticks in their wake. This is meant to block evil spirits from making it to the burial site.
They also may throw coins and dirt on the casket before it is lowered, and in some cases, the officiating priest may put a crown of paper on the decedent’s head.
All these traditions are meant to ensure a safe passage for the loved one’s soul, from one world to the next. Money and food are for aiding in the 40-day period during which they remain on Earth.
Russian Orthodox Funeral Expectations
During a Russian Orthodox Funeral, guests are expected to wear dark-coloured, formal attire appropriate for a religious service. When viewing the casket, guests should walk in a counter-clockwise, circular motion to the casket.
The casket viewing is open, and traditionally flowers and coins are placed in the coffin, and guests are welcome to kiss the body as they rotate around it. If you do bring flowers, bring an even number. An odd number of flowers will be an insult since these are for celebratory events.
Russian Orthodox Funerals are more sombre occasions, and they do not allow for public displays of emotions. But traditionally there are readings from the Book of Psalms, with Psalm 118 being a favourite choice and even hymns during the service.
Since it is believed the soul remains on Earth for 40 days before the ascent to heaven, Russian Orthodox funerals may hold family gatherings on the 3rd, 9th, and 40th day after the death of a loved one.
Russian Orthodox Funeral Service in Australia
If you have lost a loved one in the Greater Syndey and NSW region, and want to make sure they have a traditional Russian Orthodox Funeral, call our team at Orthodox Funeral Services to take care of the details.
Let us work with you to create a completely personalised experience that honours your loved one and their faith.