Αναζήτηση αυτού του ιστολογίου

Παρασκευή, 8 Αυγούστου 2014

KOLIVA, THE BOILED WHEAT THAT IS USED AT ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN MEMORIAL SERVICES






KOLIVA, THE BOILED WHEAT THAT IS USED AT
ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN MEMORIAL SERVICES


DISHES OF KOLIVA (BOILED WHEAT) FOR MEMORIALS

            Koliva is the name given to the mixture of boiled wheat, sugar and other ingredients (such as raisins, almonds and spices) which are presented at Orthodox Christian Memorial Services.  Following the Memorial Service, the Koliva is bagged and passed out to the congregation.  It is traditional for members of the congregation as they eat the Koliva to say “May God grant them eternal blessedness.”  Wheat early in the history of the Christian Church became a symbol of the resurrection which we expect, based on Christ’s word: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (Mt. 12:24).   Thus, the wheat becomes a symbol of what we confess to be our faith in the Creed: “I expect the resurrection of the dead; and the life of the world to come.”  The sugar is added as a prayer that the deceased’s resurrection will be a sweet and pleasant one.  It is especially significant because each person shares in the symbol not only as part of the service, but also through consuming some of the Koliva, and offering a personal prayer for the deceased.

Dear People,

            I recently was visiting an Orthodox Church during which a forty-day memorial service was being offered for a deceased member of the Orthodox Christian Church.  Apparently the members of this person’s extended family had drifted away from the Orthodox Church.  In doing so, they appeared to have lost touch with the living Tradition of Holy Orthodoxy.  This had become very evident at the forty-day memorial service they had scheduled.  At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, the priest of the Church assisted by me went out to the table on the bema (σωλέα) where the tray of Koliva had been placed.  I noticed that instead of a tray of Koliva, the family had offered a beautifully decorated cake.  Some confectionary shop had prepared this cake in place of the tradition Koliva (boiled wheat).  I believe that there was also a pretty flower that was part of the decoration.  I found this to be very strange and then my suspicions were confirmed when later during the coffee hour, I discovered that the cake was cut up and served to the faithful.  I did not see one kernel of boiled wheat in the cake.  Two days later, I providentially was surfing the internet in Greece when I found the following story.  It is a revelation about the importance of using boiled wheat at Orthodox Christian memorial services.   When I read this story I found it to be providential since I had just witnessed a confectionary cake used in a Greek Orthodox Memorial Service in place of Koliva.  The title of this article is:

IF YOU FORGET US, WE FALL EVEN FURTHER DOWN

            It is very important for us to pray and to prepare memorial services for the souls of the deceased.  This is dramatically shown to us in the following two real life experiences that happened in Greece.  These stories were told to us by two pious and honorable pilgrims of the Orthodox Church.  One lady told us about the following incident:

            “On the anniversary of my mother’s death, I totally forgot the date on which I should have had a memorial service.  On the same night of that anniversary my daughter, the niece of the deceased dreamt of her.  During the dream she told her how terribly upset she was about us forgetting the anniversary of her death. She said: “Ask your mother why she forgot about me.  She did not even light a candle in my memory.  I had left her in charge of everything and she forgot.  When you people forget those of us who have died, we fall ever deeper into despair.”  And it is true that my mother always was very responsible when it came to honoring our relatives that have passed away.  My mother the very next day boiled the wheat and took it to the Church for a memorial service.”

            The other woman told me something similar in reference to memorial services with boiled wheat.  This woman said that she forgot to prepare the so-called golden boiled wheat for her mother.  In the city of Roumeli, Greece, the Saturday before Pentecost Sunday is referred to as the Saturday of Souls when the faithful have memorial services for their loved ones.   That particular Saturday is the last day of the Post-Paschal period when the Church considers the heavenly realm to be especially open to our prayers for those who have fallen asleep and this is why they call them the golden koliva.  That same night this woman saw her mother standing in front of an icon of the Holy Mother and she was eating Koliva with a spoon.   But she was eating  Koliva from the plates that were prepared for other people.  She asked her mother in the dream: “Mother, why are you eating Koliva from the plates of other people?  Her mother answered: “What am I supposed to do since you did not prepare for me any Koliva?”  This response terribly troubled the heart of the daughter.  From that very day, she says that she never forgets her religious obligations to those deceased members of her family.

WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO DEAR AUNT? I AM
LOOKING FOR JUST ONE KERNEL OF WHEAT

            In a town near Roumeli, Greece a relatively young man left this world for eternity.  When the time had arrived for the traditional Church memorial service forty days after his death, the family ordered a tray of Koliva at a confectionary shop.  The order was given to a very good confectionary shop in a neighboring city.  The people at this confectionary shop wanted to please the people who ordered the Koliva.  You can’t imagine the array of ingredients they used for the koliva tray.  They used sugary ornaments on the tray along with flowers, various types of sugars, and frostings.  The ingredients had everything but the necessary boiled wheat (Koliva).  The memorial service took place and that night an aunt of the deceased saw him in her dream.  She saw him angrily pulling off all of the various decorative pieces that had been placed on the koliva tray.  The aunt said to him: “Costa, why are you pulling off the decorative pieces from the tray?”  He in response looked at her angrily and said: “What am I to do dear aunt?  I am looking for a single kernel of wheat to eat.” 


            Let us take seriously these two revelations from the other world that tells us we should always prepare the memorial tray with boiled wheat.  We should also always prepare the tray of Koliva to be as plain as possible.  The Lord said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” John 12:24.  

Δεν υπάρχουν σχόλια: