St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Wilkes-Barre, PA
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- Guidelines for Memorial Services, (Trisagion Prayers for the Departed)
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Guidelines for Memorial Services
REMEMBRANCES IN THE LITURGY AND GIVING OF HOLY BREAD, BULLETIN, COFFEE HOUR
Remembrances & Giving
A Guide to Sponsoring A Bulletin, Coffee Hour and/or Holy Bread or Asking That a Loved One Be Remembered During the Divine Liturgy
Why Sponsor Anything At All?
As you may already understand, or can see below, Orthodox Christian worship places great emphasis on prayer and remembrance. There are many different times during the Divine Liturgy when we pray for our Loved Ones, living and departed, present or not present, and family or friend. Just listen closely to the prayers and Litanies intoned by the Priest and deacon and you will understand just how central a part prayer and remembrance plays in our worship. The simple act of sponsoring the Holy Bread, Coffee Hour and/or the Bulletin is at its core a REMEMBRANCE of those you wish to remember to God.
Why Pray for Remembrance?
It is most important to recall that Remembrance in the Orthodox Church, of God and by God, has a very special meaning. According to our Orthodox Christian Faith, Divine remembrance means glory and life while Divine forgetfulness means corruption and death. In Christ, God remembers man and his world. In Remembering Christ, man remembers God and His Kingdom. Thus, prayers we offer for our loved ones, living and dead, are a means by which all come alive in the Kingdom of Heaven where everything is filled.
Why Give At All?
One of the most fundamental beliefs in our Orthodox Faith is that everything we enjoy in this world, including the money we receive and accumulate, is a gift from God. Another fundamental belief is that we ought to give to God as much as we can as an offering of thanks and devotion. Giving takes many forms, one of which is a donation to the Church of money. Another is the contribution of time and talent. Yet another is the gift of items or things. We have suggested certain amounts for donations for the sponsorship of the Bulletin, the Holy Bread and Coffee Hour. These are suggested amounts only. You may certainly give more if you like. MORE IMPORTANTLY, you may give less or nothing at all if your circumstances do not permit a gift at this time.
Why Have Coffee Hour?
Fellowship is important to Orthodox Christians and the gathering of families and friends following the Divine Liturgy are a natural expression of Christian fellowship. We take the opportunity to eat a little something after we have fasted in preparation for Holy Communion.
What Must I Do To Sponsor A Coffee Hour?
Those who sponsor the Coffee Hour must bring their own baked goods and whatever else they want to serve during the Coffee Hour. Cleaning up is an important part of the Coffee Hour and we ask that everyone who sponsors a Coffee Hour attend to clearing the tables, generally cleaning up the kitchen (so far as it is messed) and wash the dishes used during their Coffee Hour.
What Must I Do To Sponsor A Bulletin?
To sponsor a Bulletin, you need only complete the special envelope that can be found in the Narthex (foyer) of the Church or in the Parish Office and return to the Parish Office as soon as possible.
Why Do We Need Holy Bread?
Bread plays an important role in our Liturgy – it is – obviously used to prepare the Eucharist and that which is left over after the reparation of the Gifts (which we call Antidoron or qurban) is distributed after Communion and at the conclusion of the liturgy as we receive Father’s Blessings.
What Must I Do To Sponsor The Holy Bread?
The Holy Bread we use is made according to the Rules of the Church. You can choose to make the Bread but check with Father David or Subdeacon Bill (Obeid) for how the bread ought to be made. If you wish to sponsor the Holy Bread, and do not wish to, or cannot make the Bread, a donation to the Church may be made.
How Do We Remember Those Who Have Fallen Asleep in the Lord?
In addition to our private prayers, the Orthodox Church places great emphasis on public prayers for those who have fallen asleep in the Lord. These prayers are typically completed near the close of the Divine Liturgy and are found in the Service Books as the “Trisagion Prayers for the Departed”.
It is traditional for the Trisagion Prayers for the Departed to be said on the day of death, the third, ninth and fortieth days after death and then again on the annual anniversary of death. Prayers may be said for more than one person during a Trisagion Service.
It is customary, for the 40th day Memorials, to prepare Bread and/or boiled Wheat for the Services, whenever they are held. It is not necessary, however, for anything to be made.
As with other remembrances, it is also customary to make an offering to the Church when requesting Trisagion Prayers for the Departed. The amount of any offering is left to the person(s) requesting the Trisagion Prayers. If your financial situation does not permit an offering, please don’t let that interfere your request — please remember that the Prayers are most important !
Requests for Trisagion Prayers should be made to Father David.
General Tips For Sponsoring The Holy Bread, A Coffee Hour & The Bulletin :
You may remember the Living – for their Health and Salvation — or the Dead – for their Memory Eternal;
Your remembrance may be offered for an occasion – an Wedding Anniversary; a Birthday; the Anniversary of a Loved One’s Falling Asleep in the Lord; a Graduation; a Baptism or Chrismation; or any other occasion . . .
Your remembrance may be offered just because you want to remember someone to God . . . You really do not need a special reason for remembering someone . . .
Do not worry . . . an offering need not be made or fall exactly on a particular day for you to remember someone by sponsoring the Holy Bread, Bulletin or Coffee Hour . . .
Be patient and charitable as there may be multiple remembrances for each day – though we would try to avoid it, sometimes we need to have more than one remembrance – this does not minimize the offering . . .
Think ahead . . . it might not be a bad idea – - – and it would help us greatly – - – if you sat down at some point and make a list of those people and occasions you might want to remember throughout the year and fill out and submit the special envelopes as early as possible . . .
Your offering will be credited as a part of your yearly pledge to the Church if the proper information is received – however, if at all possible, please do not substitute an offering/sponsorship for what you normally would offer as a weekly pledge . . .
Please take care to spell the names of those whom you wish to remember because we will work off the information on the envelope you submit when completing the Bulletin and making the Prayer List.
Quote of the Holy Fathers
A brother went to see Abba Silvanus on the mountain of Sinai. When he saw the brothers working hard he said to the old man, “Do not labor for the food which perishes (John 6:27). Mary has chosen the better part (Luke 10:42).” The old man said to his disciple, “Zacharias, give the brother a book and put him in a cell without anything else.” So when the ninth hour came the visitor watched the door expecting someone would be sent to call him to the meal. When no one called him, he got up, went to find the old man and said to him, “Have the brothers not eaten today?” The old man replied that they had. Then he said, “Why did you not call me?” The old man said to him, “Because you are a spiritual man and do not need that kind of food. We, being carnal, want to eat, and that is why we work. But you have chosen the good portion and read the whole day long and you do not want to eat carnal food.” When he heard these words the brother made a prostration saying, “Forgive me, Abba.” The old man said to him, “Mary needs Martha. It is really thanks to Martha that Mary is praised.”
It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped when giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God.
St. John of Damascus (8th century)
It is necessary to establish a pattern of going to church as often as possible, usually to Matins, Liturgy and Vespers. Have a longing for this, and go there at the first opportunity and if you can, stay without leaving. Our church is heaven on earth. Hasten to church with the faith that it is a place where God dwells, where He Himself promised to quickly hear prayers. Standing in church, be as if you are standing before God in fear and reverence, which you express through patience, prostrations, and attention to the services without wandering thoughts.
Saint Theophan the Recluse (19th century)
The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit.
Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia (4th century)