Wednesday, November 05, 2014

{within this week}... a Matuska's passing and final place of rest

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 
Christ's Resurrection.
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.


Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

I am sorry for the loss of your dear friend Matushka; may her memory be eternal!

karen said...

sorry for your loss but what a beautiful funeral. I find the older I get I see the beauty of saying goodbye. The prayers, the people who come to support the family. Just beautiful!

Nancy said...

It seems to me that the beauty of the Orthodox funeral service is that it doesn't shield us from the reality of death. It tells us we must face death, and yeah, it kinda sucks because we weren't created to die, but we have hope and can have a good death because Christ conquered death. Memory eternal matushka!

Emily H. said...

May her memory be eternal! I loved the picture with the priest in the bright background, the casket already reflecting that brightness as it moves towards the priest.

elizabeth said...

Thanks all...

Karen, yes, me too; it is a beautiful event and more beautiful as one ages...

Nancy ~ I don't know who you are but thank you and you have a twin in my 'real life' who I had to email to be sure it was not her!

Emily ~ thank you, yes I love that picture too. May we all be included in this brightness, of the Lord's Pascha!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

May her memory be eternal! It was wonderful you could be there with her daughter. I pray she will be comforted by God's grace.

Nancy said...

Elizabeth, actually we've met a few times, but it's been a few years. I was a member of your Ottawa parish who moved away to Halifax before you arrived and I would visit every so often. Last time we saw each other was when you came to Halifax for L's wedding.

elizabeth said...

Nancy, Hi! Yes, I did not realize it was you but of course I remember you! You used to visit us in Ottawa and be with the choir and talk with M.C. ... yes we were at the same table at L's wedding, you were one of the few people I knew! Nice to connect with you here! We have a 'newer' Nancy at our Ottawa parish and what you wrote was very much like this other Nancy speaks. :)

Matushka Anna said...

Memory eternal!

Nancy said...

I bet you're talking about V's wife. I was in Ottawa in July. I didn't get to see everyone, but saw many of our dear friends.

elizabeth said...

Nancy ~ you got it. :) How nice! I was up in August... :)