Burial Vestments for Priests

My husband, Fr. Alban West, has come up with a series of guidelines for priests in preparing for their own funeral. Since some of the preparations involved vestments, I thought it might be helpful to include this information on my website.

It is a common practice among Orthodox clergy to be buried in their ordination vestments. However, many of my clients wear out their ordination vestments and this is not possible. So my recommendation is that after 5-10 years of priestly service, you purchase a set to replace your ordination set. Then, wear your ordination set each Holy Pascha (Pascha service only, not the full 40 days of Pascha). This way, your ordination set (or whatever set you choose to set aside for burial) will be in good condition for your burial and will also have the marvelous symbology of having served every Pascha. After 5-10 years of weekly service, your ordination vestments will be starting to be worn, but with once a year wear, will remain in good condition for burial.

In addition to the burial vestments, each priest should also keep prepared for his burial:

  • A small Gospel book
  • A blessing cross
  • An aer made of a white fabric (to cover his face)
I would highly recommend purchasing an acid-free storage box (like those used for storing wedding gowns-available from a drycleaners or tailor's supply) and keeping the burial vestments and all of these items in the box and then let an appropriate family member know of its location (either at church or home).