Memorial services / Mnēmosyna

Created on: 24 February 2021

The memorial service consists of a series of short hymns, petitions, and prayer for the soul of a departed Orthodox Christian. When performed as part of the Divine Liturgy or Vespers, we usually refer to these prayers as a mnēmosyno (memorial), while Trisagion is the term normally used when speaking of the same prayers recited as a stand-alone service.

During the mnēmosyna, a plate of kóllyva (boiled wheat symbolising the resurrection) is blessed and distributed to those present in memory of the departed. This practice has its origins in the words of the Lord in the Gospels: ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain’ (John 12:24).

How can I arrange a memorial service?

Please contact the church office to leave any names you want commemorated at the memorial services. Usually for a memorial service the family bring kóllyva.

If you leave us a voicemail message, please include all the names of the departed and the day on which you would like them commemorated.

When are memorial services held?

Memorial services are held on Saturday evening at the Vesper service and on Sunday mornings at the end of the Divine Liturgy.

Memorial services can also be held throughout the week — either in church or at the graveside — by special request.

Memorial services are typically held on the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 40th days after death. It is also customary to mark the 3rd, 6th, and 9th month during the first year. After this, memorial services are held once a year, on the anniversary of a person’s repose.

General memorial services — Psychosavvata (Soul Sabbaths) —, where all the departed are remembered and prayed for, are held twice a year: on the Saturday before Great Lent and the Saturday before Pentecost.

When can memorial services not be held?

Mnēmosyna cannot be held during Holy Week, Bright Week, nor on great feasts of the Lord and the Mother of God, nor the feast of the patron saint of the parish.  

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