THE MEANING OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH'S MEMORIAL SERVICES

BOILED WHEAT (KOLYVA)

The boiled wheat is offered because man is also a seed and like a fruit from the earth. Like a seed he is placed in the earth now, and he will be raised up and blossom forth again by God's power.

THIRD DAY SERVICE

The third day service is celebrated for the reason that the reposed one received his being through the Trinity, and having been translated, he hopes to be changed back to the ancient beauty in which man was first made before the fall, or one better [at the resurrection].

NINTH DAY SERVICE

The ninth day service is celebrated that his spirit may dwell together with the holy spirits, the angels, since it is immaterial as is their nature. They are ranked according to nine orders, and in three trinities they proclaim and praise God in Trinity.

40TH DAY SERVICE

The 40th day service is celebrated in the memory of the Savior..'s Ascension 40 days after His Resurrection and that the reposed one, when he is resurrected, may be taken up in the clouds to meet the Judge, our Savior and Master, and thus be with Him forever (1Thes. 4:17).

3RD, 6TH, 9TH, AND 12 MONTH SERVICES

Now the third, sixth, and ninth months are also celebrated--to proclaim the Trinity, the God of all and His glory, and on behalf of the deceased. For by the Trinity a man is fashioned, and when he is loosed from the body he returns to Him, and by the Trinity he hopes for the resurrection. And thus we also perform memorials at the end of the [first] year because we proclaim the Trinity, and the [12-month-] year is divided into four trinities. Additionally, the end of the year is celebrated because it is the consummation, and our God the Trinity is the Life of all and the cause of being, and He shall be the restoration of all and the renewal of human nature.

ANNUAL MEMORIAL SERVICES FOR THE DEAD

Each year [thereafter] the relatives observe the memorial of the departed to demonstrate that he lives and is immortal of soul and he shall be restored when the Creator raises up his body. And the offering of Boiled Wheat (Kolyva) bears witness that, as Christ died according to the flesh and was raised up and lives, thus, we too, as St. Paul says, “shall be raised up and live in Him.â€

(Excerpts from On The End of Our Life, by St. Symeon of Thessaloniki) Translated by George S. Gabriel)





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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas