Guidelines and Procedure When a Priest Falls Asleep in the Lord
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
The Holy Eparchial Synod
The falling asleep in the Lord of a brother priest constitues an extremely solemn event. The departed brother is now with the Lord, but at the same time we feel the sorrow of the separation. It is difficult to fully prepare for this moment, especially when death occurs suddenly and the time needed to prepare for a funeral in a dignified manner is limited. The sensitivity related to the issue, the care for the departed priest, and the desire to alleviate emotional hardship faced by his family led the Holy Eparchial Synod to prepare this booklet entitled Guidelines and Procedure When a Priest Falls Asleep in the Lord. It is the decision of the Hierarchs of our Synod that this booklet be referenced and usd throughout the Greek orthodox Archdiocese of America by the family and brother clergy in all cases when a beloved priest has fallen asleep in the Lord.
The text thtat follows was carefully prepared by the Holy Eparchial Synod which examined existing liturgical texts for directions pertinent to the preparation for the funeral of the body of a clergyman who has fallen asleep in the Lord. The Great Euchologion briefly prescribes a relevant preparation but does not describe the exact manner in which the body is to be prepared for funeral and burial services. For this reason the Holy Eparchial Synod, using the experience of her members and the existing oral traditions of the Church on the matter, proceeded in preparing the present text in Greek and English to be disseminated throughout the Archdiocese especially because the majority of our clergy have rather limited experience in performing the sacred service of vesting and anointing the body of a departed brother priest.
At this point, the Holy Eparchial Synod wishes to thank the Very Rev. Panteleimon D. Costarakis, Presvytera Elaine K. Stephanides, and the Sisterhood of Presvyteres for submitting an initial text dealing primarily with the practical issues for things to be done when a priest falls asleep in the Lord. That initial text led to further research which ended with the publication of this booklet. This booklet is offered by our Holy Eparchial Synod as an expression of thanksgiving to God for the lives of our departed brother priests and a consolation to their respected families.
+Archimandrite Sebastian Skordallos
Chief Secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod
Fathers of the 1st Council; The Holy Hieromartyr Eutychius, Bishop of Melitene; Nikitas, Bishop of Chalcedon; Eutechios, Bishop of Mytilene; Helikonis the Martyr; Heladios the Hieromartyr of the East; Zacharias the New Martyr