Funeral service

The funeral service follows the following liturgy:

  • Prelude
  • Hymn
  • Service led by the pastor
  • Hymn
  • Postlude

A Lutheran funeral service is an occasion of worship. Have a discussion with a pastor or church musician about details such as selection of music or if you wish to include farewells with flowers in the service.

If the body is to be buried in the ground, the coffin is taken to the grave after the funeral service. Six persons are usually needed to carry the coffin. In the procession the nearest relatives come immediately after the coffin.

Even when the body is to be cremated, it is a good custom to carry the coffin at the end of the funeral service out to an undertaker's car waiting at the door. If this is not possible, the coffin can remain in the church or chapel. In the funeral chapel near the cathedral the coffin always remains inside.

Farewell flowers

Relatives and friends of the deceased one often come in a funeral service to lay flowers by the coffin and say a short farewell. This can be done before or after the pastor speaks. If the coffin is taken to its grave, these floral tributes can also take place at the grave after the coffin has been lowered into the ground. If the body is to be cremated, flowers can be taken to the gravesite or, in some urn cemeteries, to a specially designated place. Relatives should agree with the undertaker what should be done with flowers, because they cannot be kept in a church or chapel after the funeral service.

Interment of an urn

When a body is cremated and the ashes are placed in an urn, the urn is interred after at least two weeks have passed from the funeral service. In Finland, the ashes of a deceased person must be put in their final resting place within a year of the cremation. When an urn is interred, the closest relatives are present, and a cemetery custodian guides them.  It is possible to have a moment of prayer, and a pastor can be asked to come along to lead it. Relatives are not present, however, if ashes are interred in a cemetery grove (muistolehto).
Espoon Funeral Chapel.
Photo: Elina Orpana.