What is the Greek Orthodox Memorial Service?
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If you regularly attend Divine Liturgy services on Sundays you may have noticed that occasionally, there will be a memorial service, or Mnimosino. It is also referred to as “prayers for the departed”. Sometimes, more than one person is remembered at the same service and the amount of time that has passed varies from forty days to several years. Some people even have a memorial service once a year on the anniversary of the person’s death.
On the surface, it may look like it’s only a memorial service. However, there is much more to it than that. Here’s more information about what the service really is and what it means. If you have any questions, please review them with your priest.
Contrary to what some Orthodox Christians believe, the individual’s soul does not stay on the earth for forty days before undergoing a partial judgment. It is unclear how this belief started, but theologically it has no basis in fact. Upon death, the soul immediately receives a partial judgment, after which the soul will then either move on to be with Christ or not. This is referred to as a “partial judgment” because the ultimate judgment will occur during the second coming of Christ.
One of the major components of the memorial service is “intercession”. Orthodox Christians believe in the power of intercessory prayer, or praying for others. Intercessory prayer can be done on behalf of both the living and the dead. It is believed that since the Last Judgment will occur during the Second Coming of Christ, intercessory prayers may still have an impact.
The Service (Mnimosino)
The memorial service, or Mnimosino, which in Greek is translated “calling to mind”, is done in remembrance of the deceased. This service is most commonly added to the Divine Liturgy on Sundays, and the family and friends of the deceased sit in reserved seats in the front of the church. During the service, prayers are offered so that the deceased may receive mercy and forgiveness for the sins they may have committed in their lives. Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints are all asked to intercede.
Eonia I Mnimi – Memory Eternal
At the conclusion of the service, the traditional hymn “Eonia I Mnimi”, translated as “Memory Eternal” is sung. The song is meant to comfort the family and friends of the deceased. Typically, it is sung three times. Some churches in the United States sing at least one version in English. Each church will sing this song differently a little differently because several factors come into play, such as whether or not the church has a choir or chanter.
After the church, family and friends often gather to share a meal together. Some families opt to sponsor the fellowship hour or even sponsor a meal for the entire parish after fellowship hour. However, this is simply a tradition and it is completely up to the family whether or not this will actually occur.
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This post was written by GreekBoston.com