In the Orthodox tradition there is a set time for the commemoration of the departed.
Our Church reminds us constantly that the memory of those who have departed from this life is eternal, and this is why we chant so often “Aionia i mnemi”, but at the same time we observe the 9 days or the 40 days commemoration periods for the spiritual significance that this set period represents for us.
The 9th day represents the 8th day of our Lord’s resurrection plus one additional day for the new life of the newly departed.
The 40 days of our exit from this world are as symbolic as the blessing that we receive on the 40th day of our entry into the world, 40 days after our birth. The number 40 also alludes to Pascha, that is, to a “passage” from one stage of life to another, similar to the 40 years that the Hebrews spent wandering in the desert before they entered the Promised land. As Christians we understand the Promised land to be the Kingdom of God.
It is also common for mnemosyna to take place 6 months, one year, and three years after the passing of the departed.
In God and His Church there is no division between the living and the departed, but all are one in the love of the Father. Whether we are alive or whether we are dead, as members of the Church we still belong to the same family, and still have a duty to bear one another’s burdens. Therefore, just as Orthodox Christians here on earth we pray for one another, and ask for one another’s prayers, so we pray also for the faithful departed, and ask the faithful departed to pray for us. Death cannot sever the bond of mutual love which links the members of the Church together.
Memorials are also chanted on the two Saturdays before the beginning of Great Lent, the first Saturday of Great Lent, and on the Saturday before the Sunday of Pentecost. These particular Saturdays, called Saturdays of the Soul or Psychosavata, are set aside for the commemoration of all departed Orthodox Christians, and their salvation.
According to the practice of the Orthodox Church memorial services are not held during Great Feast days, such as the Dormition of Theotokos, Annunciation, the period from Lazarus Saturday to Thomas Sunday, Christmas, 1st of January, Theophany, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Holy Spirit, Transfiguration and the Elevation of the Holy Cross.
Please feel free to discuss the subject with your parish priest in order to familiarize yourself with the meaning of the commemoration periods in which mnemosyna services are held.
There is a fee charged by our Community for these services. The following fees linked to memorial services have been established by the Community and they are intended to keep our Community operational.
Memorial service on Saturday morning or Sunday following the Divine Liturgy $50
Church Hall rental for the traditional offering of coffee and brandy following the Memorial Service $100
Donation to the Philoptochos Ladies Association for preparing the service and setting up the tables at the Church Hall $150
Do not forget your offering to the chanter and the sexton for their labor.
What is required for the Traditional Coffee after the Memorial Service
People offering coffee must also purchase the coffee, the brandy and the sugar, calculated at 1 pound of coffee, half pound of sugar and one bottle of brandy per 25 servings.