Saturday, February 5, 2011

Praying for the Dead in the Syro-Malabar Church

The commemoration of the dead was also given special importance. When a person died, his body was washed, dressed and anointed with perfumed oil before it was exposed before the community to pay due homage. Usually, the dead body was placed facing the East. Till the purification of the house after the burial, no food was prepared or eaten in the house. After the burial service, the members of the family would gather in the house in the presence of the parish priest and say special prayers for fhe dead and sprinkle holy water to purify the house. There were also special observances for the commemoration of the dead on the 7th, 16th, 28th, and 41st day after the demise. The annual ceremony to commemorate the dead is known as sradham or chattam. Till the commemoration on the 41st day only vegetarian meals were served in the house.
The above is an excerpt from an article on the catechetical heritage of the Syro-Malabar Church on the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly's webpage for the Department of Catechesis and Bible Apostolate.

Social Saturdays feature homilies, lectures, interviews, and biographies related to funerals, memorials, and prayers for the dead. Do thou thyself, Lord, give them rest there in the land of the living, in thy kingdom, in the delight of Paradise.

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