Cultural Funerals: Christian Orthodox Funeral Services

Basic Funerals is proud to serve members of all Christian Orthodox sects. Our team of funeral professionals is experienced in all aspects of arranging an Orthodox Christian funeral service and is here to guide you through every step.

Beliefs About Death

Eastern Orthodox Christians have many subgroups, however most of them believe that salvation is achieved through living holy lives that are similar to the life of Christ. Eastern Orthodoxy has different views than Western traditions regarding the afterlife in Heaven or Hell. Eastern Orthodoxy defines Heaven as God's eternal presence for the ones who love God, while the same presence would be a Hell for those who do not love God.

What Happens After Death Occurs?

When an Orthodox person is experiencing their final days, an Orthodox priest must be brought in so the person can receive Holy Communion and have the priest hear their final confession. After the passing occurs, the priest will lead a prayer with everyone present asking for the release of the soul of the deceased. The priest will then be present when the family of the deceased prepares the body by washing and dressing it. The wake service then starts as soon as the process of preparing the body is completed and traditionally lasts for 3 days, but some Orthodox churches only have a one day wake. The book of Psalms is read at the wake by family members while other prayers are led by the priest of the church. The funeral service would start right after the wake is completed.

Is Cremation Allowed in the Orthodox Chruch?

The Christian Orthodox Church prohibits cremation for multiple reasons. The first reason is that it denies the value of the human body and does not respect it as the creation of God. Another reason cremation is prohibited in Orthodoxy is that Jesus Christ died on the cross then buried, and since Orthodox Christians attempt to live a holy life similar to the one of Christ, they should also follow what happened with Christ after his death. The Orthodox Church has made some exceptions in the past and allowed for cremations of Orthodox members, however this is rather uncommon. In such cases, the body of the deceased must be present at the funeral service and cremation has to take place after the service is completed.

Views on Embalming

Embalming is accepted by Orthodox Christians and is generally needed since the casket of the deceased is opened after the wake is over and the funeral service begins.

Click here if you like to learn more about Embalming.

The Orthodox Funeral Service

Christian Orthodox priests conduct the Orthodox funeral service in the church shortly after the wake is over. The service typically begins with the procession of the casket led by the priest and the holding of a cross. During this phase, the priest will lead the service by singing the hymn of Trisagion. When this is completed, the casket of the deceased is opened and the funeral service continues while the deceased is exposed. A bowl of boiled wheat and honey with a lit candle on top is placed near the top of the casket. A wreath is typically placed on the head of the deceased and a symbol of Christ or the patron saint of the deceased is placed in their hand. Candles are then distributed to everyone who is present and are expected to be lit for the remainder of the funeral service. The priest leads the service by saying prayers, leading the Dismissal, reciting "Memory Eternal" and sometimes offering Holy Communion. After that is completed, mourners can say their final goodbyes to the deceased before the casket is closed again and moved to a cemetery, in which a short graveside burial service is done and the body is buried.

Christian Orthodox Churches in Ontario

Greek Orthodox Cathedral Annunciation Of The Virgin Mary Church

This church was restored in 2000 after a devastating fire by utilizing traditional Byzantine architectural plans for Orthodox Churches. The parish is known by its Greek name of "Panagia". The church was first built in the early 1960s and has been a constant home for many Greek Orthodox Christians in Toronto.

Christ The Saviour Orthodox Church

The Christ the Saviour Parish was founded in the early 1980s by the church's current pastor. The parish merged with one of the oldest parishes in Ottawa in 2003, essentially continuing the legacy of Ottawa's oldest Orthodox parishes with the missionary spirit of the younger parish. This church offers services to all Orthodox Christians in the Ottawa area and invites anyone else who is interested to join their services.

Robin was awesome to deal with and answered all of my questions. I only wished I know of basic funerals when I was pre arranging my mother's. I was told all sorts of lies by a funeral home.read more
joann guenette
20:04 06 Sep 18
Robin was very professional, knowledgeable, organized and helpful. Great customer service! Thank you.
Louise Viersen
20:40 20 Aug 18
We decided that we wanted to make our pre-planned funeral arrangements and had the pleasure of speaking to Robin. She sat down with us, and clearly outlined all of our options. She reviewed earlier cemetery arrangements with regard to our family plot and what we still required. We are both pleased and relieved that everything is in order and that the Executor of our estate will only have to call one number..read more
Soosy Q
19:29 24 Jul 18
Excellent customer service! Excellent prices! Convenient payment plans. Could not ask for more!
Jaden Winfree
20:08 21 Jun 18
I prearranged my own funeral all on line including payment etc..no muss no fuss....a great experience
John O'Hearn
19:38 24 Apr 18
Robin was very helpful!!! I feel very happy knowing my arrangements are done as per my wishes. This will be so helpful to my family when my time comes to depart this earth!read more
Sandra Stubbs
12:49 09 Apr 18
I contacted Basic Funerals & Cremation to pre-arrange services for my mother. I initially reached out for an appointment by email and received a very prompt reply. I set up the appointment via an email exchange and met with Robin at Basic F&C the following week. It was a very straightforward process and Robin went to great lengths to to explain and simplify the various options. I highly recommend Basic F&C for the ease of contact, arrangement and follow-up.read more
Rick Pringle
17:09 28 Mar 18
Very happy with their professional service. Quick to respond with any questions or concerns. Would highly recommend this company to anyone needing their service .read more
Gail Adamson
20:34 07 Feb 18
Convenient and respectful. This is the second time my family has used Basic Funerals and Cremations Choices. The first was 5 years ago when my father passed away and this time was for my brother. I didn't deal with Basic with my father's arrangements but my step-mother did and recommended them and honestly, I don't think I'd use anyone else moving forward. When we had word on my brother's terminal illness, I called 3 places to get quotes on the cremation he wanted. Let me preface this by saying that my brother said a Celebration of Life was acceptable but he didn't want a viewing or funeral so a cremation is what I was researching.Since this was my first time arranging such services, I had no idea what to expect. The first place (a local funeral home) quoted me $4000, so now I had a starting point. The second place (a local cremation facility) quoted me $1000 (wth? talk about a price difference!) but then stated I had to involve a separate "funeral home of my choice" for transfer services (huh?) and lastly I called Basic.Unlike the other two places I had called, Basic Funerals and Cremation Choices took the time to explain everything to me and offered to email me a quotation that contained all of the details. They offered me various packages to choose from depending on my needs and told me there was no pressure to decide now-I could decide when the time came. The three packages were Budget, Basic and Priority (I chose Priority and would recommend it for the slight price difference). They also confirmed that there would be no additional charges beyond what I was quoted (and there wasn't!).Unfortunately, it was a very short time after this call when their service was needed. I made the call to Basic and they took care of everything. They were incredibly professional the whole way through. From the initial phone call, to the follow-up call when my brother passed, to the young gentleman that came to deliver my brother's ashes and even follow-up calls, these people are top-notch.Basic Funerals and Cremations Choices took the worry out of making the arrangements. I have started recommending their service to friends and family and told my husband this is what I him to do want when my time comes.I'd like to end my review with a sincere thank you to Basic Funerals and Cremation Choices.read more
Connie P.
14:15 05 Feb 18
I was in need of immediate service and Basic Funerals were very helpful and right there tending to my request. The staff were very helpful and attentive to our needs. I would definitely recommend this service for anyone, thank you.read more
Don Mascarin
01:51 12 Jan 18
Our family lost a member who lived in Ontario while most of us are in Newfoundland. This could have caused a lot of confusion and extra expense that we did not need at this difficult time. Basic Funerals was amazing to deal with. Fast, clear, informative, inexpensive, and respectful of our wishes. We got the cremains in plenty of time for the funeral, as well as everything else we expected. I HIGHLY recommend Basic Funerals for anyone during this difficult time.read more
Communication was exemplary...clear, quick response times, helpful. I also appreciated the professional yet senstitive approach each person I spoke with had during our difficult time. One thing I very much appreciated was NO attempt to upsell whatsoever. Any tiny suggestion to get more money I would have not used their services and they never once did...very impressed by that.I was helped by David, Natasha and Kamilah and I was very happy with their customer service...I would highly recommend Basic Funerals.read more
Evangelina Coleman
19:47 12 Nov 17
My Mom had a prearranged plan with Basic Funerals at my recommendation. I found them on the internet and my Mom prearranged everything back in 2011. When my Mom passed we contacted Robin who was her Prearrangement Specialist and was extremely helpful from start to finish. I highly recommend Basic Funerals. Thank you so much Robin and staff for all your help at this difficult time!!!read more
Sandy J-Lee
18:13 12 Nov 17
Very helpful. Compassionate.
Nadine Kyle
13:59 12 Oct 17
Representatives on the phone and in person were so courteous, efficient and straight forward. It was a very difficult time for my elderly parents, and they made it so much easier and in ways enjoyable. Thank you Robin ans Stephanie for such professionalism ! The price is very affordable, no frills and up-selling. Highly recommended.read more
Dragana Skokovic-Sunjic
02:02 11 Oct 17
Prompt response. They understand and listened to your needs. Robin was extremely professionnal, caring and understood what I wanted in regards of my dad's pre-arrangements. It feels good to be understood. Robin was great and went above and beyond to provide me with a great service and no surprise in regards of the pricing.GREAT PROFESSIONAL PEOPLE.I would recommend highly BASIC FUNERALS.read more
Johanne Coshall
15:20 09 Oct 17
Basic Funeral and Cremation Choices was the right choice for my mother's cremation. I contacted Jessica a few days before the time and she provided a quotation after a few minutes on the phone. The quotation was exactly what we were looking for. The price was reasonable. Jessica was on site for the cremation and everything went as planned. I would highly recommend Jessica and her firm.read more
Ravi Aggarwal
16:13 05 Oct 17
Jessica, was wonderful She took her time walking my family through our options. The detailed information she provided was priceless. Guiding us through a very difficult time. This was the second time using her services. I'd definitely use Basic Funerals and Cremations again. Also considering prearrangement of my own aftercare services. Offering my family peace of mind that my wishes were already thought out and paid for!Louise Kruegerread more
Louise Munro
02:36 05 Oct 17
Funeral Guide cover

Funeral Education Guide

Sign up to receive your free copy of our Funeral Education Guide and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Funeral Guide cover

Request a Quote

One of our Funeral Directors will send you a custom quotation that is guaranteed for at least 60 days. Fill out the form or talk to a director now at 1-877-229-7077.