Trisagion Service


Could you tell me a bit about the funeral service named “Trisagion”—it is being held tonight at a funeral viewing for a lovely girl, now dead from a car wreck.

The actual funeral is tomorrow—so this would not be the funeral service itself.


The Trisagion Service is an extremely abbreviated memorial service which in essence contains the closing hymns sung at a longer version of the same service [variously known as a “Parastas,” “Panikhida,” “Pomen,” etc.] which, in turn, contains selected hymns and prayers that are also found in the Rite of Burial, or Funeral Service.

The Trisagion is often celebrated on the eve of an individual’s funeral, as well as on anniversaries of a person’s death, and on other occasions. It basically consists of the following structure:

Opening doxology by officiating priest.

The singing of the hymn “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us” accompanied by other brief prayers which conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.

The singing of a series of hymns, called “troparia,” in which we implore God to grant eternal rest to the departed.

A Litany for the departed, with the faithful responding “Lord, have mercy” three times after each petition.

The final blessing, in which we ask God to grant the departed “rest in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

The closing exclamation: “Grant eternal rest, O Lord, to the soul of Thy departed servant N., and make his/her memory be eternal,” to which the faithful sing “Memory eternal.”
These hymns and prayers are also found at the conclusion of the Rite of Burial. In most instances, the Trisagion service is also celebrated at the cemetery at the time of burial.

There are some variations from parish to parish, but in general what I have described is fairly standard in most Orthodox communities.