Yesterday I was honoured to go to a funeral
of an elderly Matuska who I visited
at times in a local nursing home;
she was a joy to visit and I will miss
seeing her and showing her my knitting :)
After emailing a friend this morning,
I realized I wanted to write about this before
it fades in the memory of our busy days.
It was wonderful to just be in this small little white walled
church with older 19th century icons along with
more traditional Byzantine ones.
It was just the daughter of the Matuska (priest's wife),
two priests and myself.
Liturgy and then the funeral.
Orthodox funeral liturgies and funerals
(panihidas) are very moving.
One of the final things the priest who was
the person's last spiritual father and confessor does
is a final absolution of sins.
When this prayer was said,
I sensed this lightness of the relief of the newly absolved;
even the dear elderly Matuska face in departed repose
seemed to brighten somehow.
I was very moved and must think on this
and the wonder of God's redemption and forgiveness.
You can just see the priest in the very back of
this picture; we must never underestimate what
God can do through His priests!
The departed's body was blessed afterwards with Holy Water,
the paper (symbolizing the confession and release of sins,
an old traditional way) was placed in the casket
and it was with true hope in Christ and His Resurrection
that we went with Matuska T.'s final resting place on early,
the church cemetery.
Prayers are done at the grave site as well
and the grave is blessed and sealed, waiting for
It was a wonderful event that way,
though many get uncomfortable by funerals,
I have always loved the Orthodox funeral service and burial.
There is so much hope,
so much connection with one's spiritual father's prayers,
and that we can pray for the departed is a sure comfort.
It was an honour to be there on that beautiful autumn day...
Please in your charity pray for the newly departed
and also her only daughter who is now
bereft of both parents.