Greek Orthodox funeral Customs

Greek Orthodox funerals in Australia are deeply rooted in the rich religious and cultural traditions of the Greek Orthodox Church. These funerals reflect the beliefs and practices of the Greek Orthodox community, providing comfort and solace to the bereaved while honouring the deceased.

Greek Orthodox funerals hold significant religious importance for the Greek Orthodox community in Australia. They are guided by the teachings of the Greek Orthodox Church, which believes in the resurrection of the body and the immortality of the soul. These beliefs form the foundation of the funeral rituals performed during the grieving process.

Funeral rituals

Greek Orthodox funerals involve several rituals that are carried out to honour the deceased and provide support to the grieving family. These rituals include:


The wake, also known as the Vigil Service, is held at the deceased’s home or at a funeral parlour. Prayers are recited by the priest, and family and friends gather to pay their respects.

Funeral service

The funeral service is held in the Greek Orthodox Church. It includes religious hymns, scripture readings, and prayers. The priest leads the service and offers words of comfort and hope to the mourners.


The Trisagion, which means “thrice holy,” is a prayer recited during the funeral service. It is a plea for God’s mercy and forgiveness for the deceased.

Funeral procession

After the funeral service, the casket is carried in a procession from the church to the cemetery. Family and friends follow the casket while reciting prayers and hymns.


At the cemetery, the priest performs the final prayers and blessings before the casket is lowered into the grave. The burial is a solemn and sacred moment, symbolizing the return of the deceased to the earth.

Cultural customs

In addition to the religious rituals, Greek Orthodox funerals in Australia also incorporate cultural customs and traditions. These customs vary among different regions of Greece and are adapted to Australian circumstances. Some common customs include:

Wearing black

Mourners traditionally wear black clothing as a sign of respect for the deceased.

Memorial services

Greek Orthodox families often hold memorial services on significant anniversaries, such as the 40th day or one-year anniversary of the death.


Kollyva, a dish made of boiled wheat, sugar, and other ingredients, is prepared and offered to mourners as a symbol of life and resurrection.