St. Elias Church Cemetery
The Cemetery is open to all orthodox Christians (members of the Orthodox or the Catholic Churches).
In the contemporary world, one might find it strange to have a Cemetery attached to a Church.
Yet is very much at the core of the Church's proclamation of the Gospel and actuation of God's love - to console the grieving, to bury the dead, to succour the dying, and to announce the Resurrection from the Death and the vanquishing of death by Christ's death.
Thus as St. Paul writes in his Epistle to the Church in Rome:
Thus whether dead or alive, the prime reality is our redemption in Christ Jesus and our sure hope in His Raising us from sin and death.
In fact, the term used for those who have died, both in the Scriptures and in the Church is: "Reposed", for any who have been baptised into the Christ await the Resurrection and thus have, as it were, "fallen asleep" in Christ.
Those who are "Reposed" in the Lord are no less "Alive" in Christ and have a place and home in the Church, the Body of Christ.
And the Evangelist, St. John recording the words of Jesus the Messiah:
"all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life..."
Likewise St. Paul writes in his First Epistle to the Church in Thessalonika:
" We want you to be quite certain...about those who have died, to make sure you do not grieve about them, like those...who have no hope.
We can tell you this from the Lord's own Teaching, that any of us who are left alive until the Lord's Coming will not have any advantage over those who have died.
At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord Himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to Rise, and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up in the clouds, together with them, to meet the Lord in the air.
(I Thess. 4:13-18)
It is the Church's tradition to pray for the dead. And so, following the traditional Canons of the Church, we pray for the Reposed:
- on the day of death,
- the 3d day after death,
- the 9th day after death,
- the 40th day after death,
- and the annual and semi-annual anniversaries.
Given that we are still a relatively small parish, we also pray for our Reposed parishioners by Name during the Litiya Prayers during the Vigil Service of Feastdays.
give rest, O Lord, to the soul of your departed servant (Name) in a place of brightness, a place of refreshment, a place of repose, where all sickness, mourning, and sorrow have fled."
O tell us now, dear brother/sister, where are you going, in silence... Return to us...
The terrible hour of death is fallen upon me. Come all you who love me, greet me with a final kiss...I go before the Judge, but I beg all you and entreat unceasingly, that you pray to Christ God for me.
I weep and lament when I consider death, and when I think of those who are laid in the grave. Where is now that moving beauty created in the likeness of God? Where is the glorious form? O Wonder. What happened that we are now delivered up to corruption? God alone, by His will and command has power to grant peace and rest to our souls.
O Lord, from of old You have instructed me through many signs and wonders: yet I erred and was lost. But You were again moved by compassion for me and emptied Yourself that You might seek me. Find me and Save me.
The Priest prays:
For You are a good God, the Lover of Mankind: and there is no one who lives without sinning. You alone are without sin. Your Justice is everlasting Justice an your Word is Truth.
For You are the Resurrection, the Life, and the Repose of Your servant (name), who is fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and we send up glory to You, with Your beginningless Father and your all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever..."
Fr. Roman Galadza