Your guide to Orthodox Funeral Services

In the Orthodox faith, funeral services are a cherished ritual that mark the soul of the departed leaving the body and reuniting with God. Our caring Funeral Specialists will work with you and the representatives of your place of worship to curate a funeral that reflects your faith and honours your lost loved one.

Understanding the Orthodox faith in Australia

In Australia, we have many different denominations and streams of the Orthodox faith, each with their own nuances and customs. The Greek and Russian Orthodox denominations are the most prominent, followed by Serbian, Macedonian and Ukrainian Orthodox. Because of this diversity, the way a funeral service is carried out can vary between denominations.

What happens at an Orthodox funeral?

The funeral service for the Orthodox Church is an ancient burial service that has been celebrated for nearly 2000 years. Traditionally, a wake takes place the day before the funeral, where family and close friends deliver eulogies, and a priest performs the Trisagion service. 


A priest leads the procession while the coffin is carried into the church, and the hymn Trisagion is sung.

Prayers and hymns

During the service, the priest will lead the Divine Liturgy, deliver prayers, lead the Dismissal, and recite Memory Eternal. Holy Communion may also be offered.

Final farewells

Guests may be invited to pass by the coffin for a final moment with their loved one. The Trisagion is often sung again during this time.


The procession then follows the coffin to the gravesite, where a short burial service takes place.


Family and friends will gather together for a “mercy meal” to reflect on the life of the person who’s passed.

It’s also common in some denominations to hold a memorial service sometime after the funeral. For example, in the Greek Orthodox faith, a memorial service is typically held on the closest Sunday to the 40th day after death. 

Where are Orthodox funerals typically held?

Orthodox funerals are often held in the same place of worship the person attended while they were alive. It’s a beautiful way to help unite family and friends in a place that meant so much to the person who’s passed. However, Orthodox funerals can be held at any church of their faith and denomination, even if they didn’t attend it regularly.


How long does an Orthodox funeral last?

The duration varies between denominations, but the formal proceeding of a typical Orthodox funeral service last between 45–90 minutes. This may be followed by a gathering of family and close friends. It’s a good idea to arrive a little early to find your seat and familiarise yourself with the reading material. 

We can help you plan a farewell in the Orthodox faith

We’ve spent decades working with families across Australia, helping them say goodbye. Our Funeral Specialists are well-versed in planning Orthodox funerals and will liaise with your local place of worship to carry out a meaningful service that brings comfort to your family and community.  

This information is based on our interactions with grieving families and resources we have collected over the years.