Several days ago an Anglo friend of mine rang to ask about a funeral he’d attended.

He’d been to the funeral of his elderly Greek neighbour at a local Orthodox church in Sydney.

He thought it strange that there was no eulogy, nothing mentioned about his neighbour’s life, the age he was when he arrived in Australia, who did he leave behind in Greece, about his life and family here, where did he work and anything of significance that was achieved or occurred to him during his life and especially in Australia where he had spent the majority of his years.

He thought it was a pity nothing was said about him to honour his life. He added as far as he knew there was no wake.

I explained to him that unfortunately within the Greek orthodox tradition they don’t allow a eulogy or for any snapshot outlines of the decreased’s life to be spoken at the church but it usually does occur these days at the wake held after the burial.

I added that in many instances a brief outline is given to the priest to read out at the end of the service, either in English and or Greek which is done but not in every instance.

But having been to countless funerals in recent years I must say sometimes you can’t understand what the priest is saying either because of their accent or they are not loud enough plus too often it is the bare bones of the deceased life that is mentioned, just their age where they were born how many children and perhaps grandchildren if they had any are also stated and end of story.

We don’t get to know and learn anything of substance of the person’s life.

I don’t know about you but it doesn’t matter if the deceased is a relative or distant friend of the family I love hearing about their life as you hear things sometimes you never knew about them.

As not everyone goes to the wake for the “καφέ” after the funeral, it’s time that eulogies are allowed to be spoken by someone and giving the mourners the opportunity to hear about the deceased’s fascinating life, as everyone has lived an interesting life and why shouldn’t we be aware of some of it on this last occasion they will be surrounded by the living.

It’s time the church changed its services to accommodate for a eulogy, although I did attend a particular Greek church for a funeral where the priest allowed members of the immediate family to get up and say a few words which was very much appreciated by everyone there.

Those first generation Greek migrants who arrived as adults in the 1950’s and 60’s are dying at a rapid rate because so many of them arrived during that period at about the same age.

We need to not only respect their memory but I think made aware of their contribution to this country because every one of them made a contribution and sacrifices to get here and while here, it doesn’t matter whether they worked as farmers, shop owners, machinists, full time mother at home and possibly working paid hours by sewing at home, at least we can be aware of what they did while at their funeral.

Let’s be allowed to celebrate the life of our loved ones with a eulogy at the church where everyone can hear it.

Surely a 5 to 10 minute eulogy is not that much extra time to take as a mark of respect, because as I stated earlier not everyone goes to the wake later where more details of the deceased can be spoken about along with showing photos and any video footage of them.

Besides with some funerals lately which are expensive affairs I’ve noticed the wake is for the immediate family and close relatives only.

As we know funeral wakes have become banquets in recent decades which it should not be but lets leave that discussion for another time. Let’s just remember the deceased and their life.