Making Funeral Arrangements in the Armenian Church
The loss of a loved one is an immeasurably difficult experience and our church is prepared to do whatever it can to support you and your family. More importantly, it is a time when we join in solemn prayer to give thanks for the life of your loved one and ask for the Lord’s mercy so that their soul may be guided to the Eternal Kingdom of God.
What do I do when my loved one has departed and entered eternal rest?
Contact Der Hrant (857-318-9799) or the church office (313-336-6200), and your funeral home of choice to notify them of the passing of your loved one. If you do not have a preferred funeral home, the church can provide you with a list. The church and the funeral home will work hand-in-hand to make this process as easy as possible.
Once the arrangements have been made, the details, along with a picture of the deceased and the names of the survivors, should be provided to the church office so that they can send out an email notification to the members of the St. Sarkis Church community. The family should also write a biography of the departed and send it to the priest at least a day before the funeral service.
The family should designate the church and/or another organization for the in-lieu-of-flowers donations. The church will provide envelopes when named as a recipient of the donations.
What is the memorial service?
The ritual of burial is divided into three parts: the wake service, the funeral service, and the graveside/cemetery service.
The wake service
The wake service is performed the night preceding the funeral (also known as the Dan Gark service). This service is performed at the funeral home, however families may use the church for this service.
The funeral service
The funeral service is performed in the church sanctuary, during which prayers are raised for the soul of the deceased and the eulogy is delivered. Please note that no lay person may speak or give eulogies in the church sanctuary. Friends and family may speak at the funeral home or at the memorial luncheon (hokejash).
The graveside/cemetery service
This service take place at the cemetery, during which the earth is blessed and put on the casket and the grave is blessed and sealed until the second coming of Christ.
Based on the family’s preference, the prayers, readings, and eulogy can be performed in Armenian, English, or a combination of both languages. The church will arrange for a deacon and an organist to accompany the priest during the service. The church deacons are assigned based on a regular rotation schedule, however you can request a specific deacon through the church office if you so desire.
The Armenian Church does not perform funeral services over cremates. However, in cases of cremation, the church can hold a special memorial service (hokehankisd) in memory of the deceased.
Memorial meal (hokejash)
Following the funeral service, the family may host the memorial meal in the St. Sarkis Church Lillian Arakelian hall. Upon request, the church office or the funeral home will refer the family to the church caterer to make the necessary arrangements.
Special military or organizational honors may be performed in the church hall following the funeral service. Please notify the church and the funeral home if these additions are desired.
All funeral-related fees are the responsibility of the family and should be handled by the funeral director unless other arrangements are made with the church office. The fee for the viewing is $300 if held at the church. The fee for the funeral is $300, but is waived for dues-paying members. Donations are at the discretion of the family, however $100 each for the deacon, organist, and soloist is customary. Honorarium to the clergy is at the discretion of the family.
Grief counseling for groups or individuals is available upon request.
What do I do next?
It is tradition in the Armenian Church to offer special prayers for our loved ones who have fallen asleep in Christ. These prayers are based on an understanding from the Holy Scriptures that just as Christ died and lived again, the faithful who have died are merely asleep in Christ.
We typically conduct special Requiem Services as follows:
· The Pastor and Board of Trustees offer a seventh-day Requiem Service (Yotnorek) for your loved one on the Sunday following the funeral service.
· Another requiem service is requested by family members and friends forty days after their loved one’s passing (Karsoonk).
· Requiem services are requested by the family on the one-year anniversary of their loved one’s passing (Darelilts) and on all subsequent anniversaries.
These special prayers can be requested at any time throughout the year, with the exception of the five major feast days: Armenian Christmas, Easter, the Feast of the Transfiguration, the Feast of the Assumption of the Mother of God, and the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
Arrangements for Sunday requiem services (Hokehankisd or the Repose of the Souls) should be made by noon on the Thursday before the service is desired. Call the office at 313-336-6200 or request it through the website. You can also donate altar flowers, light candles, and/or host a fellowship coffee hour in your loved one’s memory. Please call the church office for more information.
May the Lord bless the soul of the departed and grant comfort to their loved ones.