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Commemoration of the Departed

The Requiem Office Of The Dead (Panahida)

1. The origin of the Service of the Dead (Panahida) is as follows: St. Macarius of Alexandria once inquired of the Angles who accompanied him an explanation of the Church's custom to celebrate the third, ninth, twentieth, and fortieth days after death by religious services. And the Angel told him: " When, on the third day, the body is brought to the Temple, the Soul of the dead man receives from his Guardian Angel relief from the grief which he feels at parting from his body. This he receives because of the oblation and praise which are offered for him in God's Church, whence there arises in him a blessed hope. For during the space of two days the Soul is permitted to wander at will over the earth, with the Angels which accompany it. Therefore the Soul, since it loves it's body, sometimes hovers around the house in which it parted from the body; sometimes around the coffin wherein its body has been placed: and thus it passes those days like a bird which seeks for itself a nesting-place. But the beneficient Soul wanders through those places where it was wont to perform deeds of righteousness.

"On the third day He who rose again from the dead commandeth that every Soul, in imitation of his own Resurrection, shall be brought to heaven, that it may do reverence to the God of all. Wherefore the Church has the blessed custom of celebrating oblation and prayers on the third day for the Soul. "After the Soul has done reverence to God, He orders that it shall be shown the varied and fair abodes of the Saints and the beauty of Paradise. All these the Soul views during six days, marveling and glorifying God, the Creator of all. And when the Soul has beheld all these things, it is changed, and forgets all the sorrow which it felt in the body. But if it be guilty of sins, then, at the sight of the delights of the Saints, it begins to wail, and to reproach itself, saying: 'Woe is me! How vainly did I pass my time in the world! Engrossed in the satisfaction of my desires, I passed the greater part of my life in heedlessness, and obeyed not God as I ought, that I, also, might be vouchsafed these graces and glories. Woe is me, poor wretch!' After having thus viewed all the joys of the Just for the space of six days, the Angels lead the Soul again to do reverence to God. Therefore the Church does well, in that she celebrates a service and oblation for the Soul on the ninth.

"After its second reverence to God, the Master of all commands that the Soul be conducted to Hell, and there shown the places of torment, the different divisions of Hell; and the divers torments of the ungodly, which cause the souls of sinners that find themselves therein to groan continually, and to gnash their teeth. Through these various places of torment the Soul is borne during thirty days, trembling lest it also be condemned to imprisonment therein. "On the fortieth day the Soul is again taken to do reverence to God: and the Judge determines the fitting place of its incarceration, according to its deeds. Thus the Church dose rightly in making mention, upon the fortieth day, of the baptized dead." It is also customary to have the Requiem Office (Panahida) celebrated on the anniversaries of the birthday, name-day, and death-day of the departed.

(2) It is customary, at the Requiem Office (Panahida) , to place upon a small table in the church a dish of kutiya or koliva : that is , boiled wheat, mixed with honey, to which raisins are sometimes added. The kutiya serves to remind us of the resurrection of the dead. As grain, in order that it may form ears and give fruit, must be buried in the earth, in order that it may rise to life eternal. The honey typifies the sweetness of bliss of the future life. In the grain is set upright a lighted taper(candle), which symbolizes the light wherewith the Christian is illumined in baptism; and also the light of the world to come, which knows no setting. (The Alaskan tradition uses rice, sugar, and raisins to make the kutya see below).

(3) Thereby offering unto God, as it were, a sacrifice of propitiation(atonement) for the dead person, and in honor of the Sovereign Lord over life and death. "

This Requiem For The Dead was copied from the Service Book of the Holy Orthodox-Catholic Apostolic Church-fourth edition.

Recipe For Kutya (Koliva)---Alaskan Tradition


3 cups of uncooked rice
6 cups of water
1 tsp. Salt
2 cups of raisins (Dole plump raisins preferred)
2 cups of fine grained sugar

Summary of process:

* Bring to boil the six cups of rice with the teaspoon of salt.
* While the water is boiling stir in the rice with a spoon.
* Put the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low for 30 minutes. Do not remove the lid, remove from heat and let it sit for five minutes.
* Stir in the sugar with the rice.
* After stirring in the sugar remove about two cups of the rice and set aside to be used for the top layer of the kutya.
* Set aside about a third-cup of raisins to be used on the top of the kutya.
* Mix in the rest of the raisins with the rice.
* Place the rice with raisins into a serving and presentation bowl-leave the top slightly rounded.
* Use the rest of the white rice to cover the top-leave smooth and slightly rounded.
* Using the rest of the raisins-put two rows of raisins around the perimeter of the bowl .
* Using two rows of raisins make a two-bar cross across to entire top of the kutya.
* Put one raisin in each of the quadrants created by the cross.
* A candle will be placed in the center of the kutya during the service!