Information about Memorial services, along with a recipe for making koliva.
A Memorial Service should be schedule with the priest to be conducted forty days after someone dies and on the one and three year anniversary. “SATURDAY OF SOULS” After the first year, names should be submitted for the special general memorial services conducted on four designated Saturdays called “Saturdays of the Souls.” They are: the two Saturdays preceding Great Lent; the first Saturday of Great Lent; and the Saturday before Pentecost. The Saturday of Souls dates for 2013 are: March 9, March 16, March 23 and June 22. The Custom of Koliva When the Memorial Service is offered, it is customary for the family of the deceased to bring a dish of boiled wheat to the Church. The boiled wheat is placed on a table in the center of the nave during the Service. The wheat, known as koliva, is a symbol of the Resurrection. When speaking of the Resurrection, our Lord said: “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)
Memorial services are held after Liturgy based on the following guidelines:
1 C hulled wheat ( lb.)
4 C water
1/2 – 3/4 C chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios, etc.)
1/2 – 3/4 C raisins, golden or regular 1/4 C chopped fresh parsley or mint (optional)
1 tsp. cinnamon For the topping
1 C fine crumbs of zwieback or graham crackers
1 C sifted powdered sugar
1/4 – 1/2 lb. white Jordan Almonds (sugar-coated almonds)
The day before the Memorial Service: Rinse and drain the wheat. Cook it as you would rice, for about 1 to 1 hours. Do not overcook so that the grains explode. Since there is more water in the cooking than there would be for rice, check the wheat as it’s cooking for doneness. Pour the hot wheat into a large or two smaller colanders. When drained, put the wheat into a large bowl. Cover the wheat with very cold water to stop the cooking. Allow the wheat to drain overnight. Spread it out over baking sheets to allow it to completely dry. The morning of the Memorial Service: In a large bowl mix the wheat with the cinnamon, nuts, raisins, and parsley or mint. Transfer the mixture to a platter. Place a piece of waxed paper on top of the mixture and flatten the top so that it is evenly distributed. Sprinkle the bread crumbs or graham cracker crumbs evenly over the wheat mixture. This keeps the moisture from the powdered sugar layer. Sift the powdered sugar atop the crumb layer. Use the Jordan almonds to form a cross atop the powdered sugar. The edge of the platter can be lined with Jordan almonds if desired. Plan to be at Church before Liturgy begins so that you can give the platter and your list of names of your deceased family and friends to the priest. A candle is often placed in the platter and lit during the memorial service.