The Holy Myrrhbearers at the Tomb of Christ

The Holy Myrrhbearers at the Tomb of Christ

Local burial societies are a time-honored and ancient Christian custom. The modern multi-billion death industry is a historical novelty, and a very expensive one at that. Today the usual burial involves the expenditure of enough money to buy a new car, and involves practices with the deceased that are not traditionally Christian. The loving care of the departed is an act of love. As the body of the Lord Jesus was cared for by Saints Joseph and Nicodemos and the Myrrhbearing women, washed, anointed, clothed and placed with prayer into a tomb, so Orthodox Christians have traditionally buried their loved ones. The Holy Myrrhbearers Society continues the ancient traditions of the Orthodox regarding the death and burial of those in the Church, and enables our faithful to bury their dead at an affordable cost.

Two teams of parishioners (one male for male deceased, and one female for female deceased) have been trained by a local mortuary with whom Most Holy Theotokos Rescuer of the Perishing has a collaborative agreement in the art of basic burial preparation. As part of the ministry of Most Holy Theotokos Rescuer of the Perishing, members of the society pray with and for the ailing until he falls asleep in the Lord. Prayers are said and bedside vigil is held to usher the dying into the hands of his/her Guardian Angel who will take the deceased into the presence of the Lord. The prayers begin before death and continue through the 40 day memorial and beyond.

After repose the Holy Myrrhbearers Society prepares the body according Orthodox tradition: Praying for the departed, bathing and anointing the body with oils, arranging the body in repose (this is an involved process), dressing the deceased in baptismal garments or the garments of choice, helping in the preparation for the wake/visitation, funeral services, and burial. The Holy Myrrhbearers Society has arranged to work alongside a local mortuary whose services are employed for the securing of the death and bodily transport certificates, as well as for transporting the deceased to the church and/or cemetery per the family’s request.

Following the funeral and burial rites the departed is put into a Necrology, which is a book that has a record of every person who has fallen asleep in the Lord and whose memory we keep in the Most Holy Theotokos Rescuer of the Perishing Family. The book records where each of the departed is buried so that each year the Holy Myrrhbearers arranges for visitations to and blessing of the parish graves. The Society also provides the clergy of the church with notification for 40 day and annual memorials of the reposed.

By employing the Holy Myrrhbearers Society, the family of the deceased is able to significantly reduce the costs for after death care and burial from a typical $12-15,000 to under $5,000- $7,000. Coffins are secured from an Orthodox supplier for between $800-$2,500. Using the Society allows parishioners to reduce their mortuary costs.

For more information, please contact Peter Schweitzer at 727-421- 0718 or email him here.