St. Basil of Ostrog Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church in North, Central and South America
New Gracanica-Midwestern Diocese


/ Pastoral Guidelines / Funeral Policy

St. Basil of Ostrog Serbian Orthodox Church Funeral Policy


Funeral services are permitted on any day of the year, except for Sundays and Holy Friday. 

Regardless of the time of day, a family member should notify the parish priest as soon as one falls asleep in the Lord.  All funeral arrangments should be made with the parish priest prior to their confirmation and publication in the newspaper.  Please note that the Orthodox Church stipulates that:

1.) The deceased must be baptized Orthodox Christian for the funeral rite to be offered.

2.) Except in extreme circumstances to be determined by the parish priest, the casket must be open during the funeral service.  (The funeral service is a narrative of the deceased speaking to those in attendance.  Closing the casket contradicts this theme and therefore is not acceptable.)

3.) The Church does not grant funerals to those persons who choose to be cremated.  (Orthodox theology is based upon the Resurrection of the soul and body. Our confession of faith in the Creed says: "and i await the Resurrection of the dead and the life of the ages to come. Amen." Cremation is a violent act against the body which has been given to us by God.  It therefore seeks to oppose God by altering the natural process established by nature.)

4.) A Trisagion Service (a brief prayer service) is read at the funeral home the night before the funeral, but this is not madatory.  The Funeral Service itself is encouraged to be performed in the Church.  However, the Funeral Service may be done at the funeral home if requested.

5.) Only the priest is permited to offer prayers for the deceased at the funeral service, while those attending are encouraged to embrace the words of the prayers said aloud by the priest and make them their own.  In addition, only the priest is permitted to offer an eulogy in the Church during the funeral service. Family members who wish to give an eulogy may do so at the Trisagion Service the night preceding the funeral or at the fellowship hall during the Internment Meal.

6.) Internment Meal - Traditionally, the main entree of the meal includes fish.  The Holy Gospels reveal to us that after Christ's own Resurrection He shared a meal consisting of fish with His disciples. (Luke 24:41-43; John 21:1-14) This meal is a symbol of the Resurrection in that it displays the belief in the power of God who triumphed over death.  If you wish to offer a variety of entrees, please include fish as one of them.  Shlivovits (plum brandy) also is a custom upon arrival at the Interment Meal.

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