Cremation

Various Christian groups, instead of burial, prefer the cremation of the dead, which was customary among many ancient peoples.  The Orthodox Church, however, mindful of the fact that the human body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and inspired by the affection toward her departed children, refuses to deliberately destroy the body, and has adopted the burial of the dead, in imitation of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself as it appears in the Catacombs, and in the graves of the Martyrs and Saints. 

Cremation, therefore, is contrary to the faith and tradition of our Church and is forbidden to Orthodox Christians.  The Church instead insists that the body be buried so that the natural physical process of decomposition may take place.  The Church does not grant funerals, either in the sanctuary or at the funeral home, or at any other place, to persons who have chosen to be cremated.  Additionally, memorial services with Kolyva (boiled wheat) are not allowed in such instances, inasmuch as the similarity between the “kernel of wheat” and the “body” has been intentionally destroyed.