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Question 101

Pater I have a question which may have been answered before. I believe our religion doesn't allow us to be cremated, is there anyway our church would allow it if it was someone's wishes?

 

Answer to Question 101

 

The Orthodox arguments against Cremation are: 

1) Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ died on the Cross and was buried. (Nicene Creed) therefore we should imitate Jesus.

2) Everyone will be bodily resurrected in the Second Coming of Christ. Cremation is a denial of the bodily resurrection.

3) The human body is the temple of God and is a sacred sanctuary even after physical death.

4) Cremation with Godís blessing is never mentioned in the Old Testament. 

5) We must not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2) especially as cremation becomes more common.

Cremation is the denial and purposeful destruction of Godís human temple. As followerís of Christ, we are not dualists or spiritualists who believe that the material world is inherently evil and to be despised. Rather, as Christians, we believe in the inherent goodness of the material world, especially our human bodies. Together, our body and soul, are created in Godís image and likeness. We are called to redeem and transfigure the creation to its original glory and beauty by continually resisting sin and temptation, repenting of our transgressions, and opening our hearts, minds and bodies to the indwelling presence of Godís divine grace through His only-begotten Son and life-giving Holy Spirit.

The only fire we should submit ourselves to is the fire of Godís love and holy presence.  Because the Orthodox Faith affirms the fundamental goodness of creation, it understands the body to be an integral part of the human person and the temple of the Holy Spirit, and expects the resurrection of the dead. The Church considers cremation to be the deliberate desecration and destruction of what God has made and ordained for us. 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 to persons who have chosen to be cremated.