When possible, an Orthodox Christian should receive the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion before the time of their death. It is advised not to delay contacting the priest in the case of an impending death, so please do not hesitate to contact the priest as soon as you are aware of such situation.
Burial or cremation?
The Orthodox Church has a special Funeral service, which is said, preferably in a church, over a body to be buried. Cremation is not an Orthodox practice and there is no service for it. We advise the families of the departed to think about this when they prepare the funeral and inform the funeral director accordingly.
When do we commemorate the departed?
There are special memorial services on the forty-days, 6-month and one-year anniversary, as well as several Memorial Saturdays (or Saturdays of Souls) throughout the liturgical year. Special memorial services can be arranged with the priest and are typically said after the Divine Liturgy on Sundays. Also, if you give the priest your list of names, they will be remembered at every Divine Liturgy during the Proskomedia (or Prothesis), when the priest prepares the bread and wine for the Eucharist. Traditionally, at the memorial services, a koliva (a cake of boiled wheat and seeds) is blessed and offered for the soul(s) of the departed.