Parish Cemetery

CHURCH CEMETERY RULES

SAINT MARY ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
CHURCH CEMETERY

GENERAL RULES

The term CEMETERY OFFICE is the office maintained at Saint Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, 905 South Main Street, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 18702. Saint Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church is a religious corporation organized and existing under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that owns and operates Saint Mary Antiochian (Syrian) Orthodox Cemetery in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the rules and discipline of the CHURCH. It reserves the right to refuse the use of the cemetery’s facilities at any time to any person whom management may deem objectionable to the best interest of the cemetery.

CEMETERY RULES & REGULATIONS

1. For the mutual protection of lot owners and the cemetery as a whole the following rules and regulations have been adopted by the Parrish Council OF SAINT MARY ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH for SAINT MARY ANTIOCHIAN (SYRIAN) ORTHODOX CEMETERY that all lot owners and visitors within the cemetery and all lots sold, shall be subject to said rules and regulations. And to any amendments or alterations as shall be adopted by the CHURCH from time to time and shall have the force and effect as if set forth in full therein.

2. Internment in Saint Mary Antiochian (Syrian) Orthodox Church Cemetery is reserved for those who profess the Faith and Discipline of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church. Entitlement to burial for the non-Orthodox is limited to the non-Orthodox spouse and the Non-Orthodox children and their spouses. Entitlement to burial does not pass on to the next generation who are not Orthodox in good standing with the Church. An Orthodox Christian who becomes a member or communicant of a non-Orthodox Church , or who receives sacraments in a non-Orthodox Church is not in good standing with the Church, but rather is considered to be self-excommunicated from the Orthodox Church.

3. Internment services at the grave site for Orthodox and Orthodox spouses may only be performed by an Orthodox Priest. For non Orthodox, their clergy may perform the committal service, in Saint Mary cemetery according to the Orthodox ecumenical principal of reciprocity.

4. The Parish COUNCIL has exclusive power to settle all disputes that may arise concerning the CEMETERY.

5. Cremation is against the precepts of the ORTHODOX CHURCH. No cremated remains may be buried in the CEMETERY. Any found to be so buried after the effective date of these Rules will be disinterred by the caretaker at the discretion of the Parish Council.

GENERAL REGULATIONS

1. The cemetery will be open and water will be available during the summer season from April 1st until November 31st.

2. Employees of the cemetery are NOT permitted to do any work for anyone All fees or charges are to be paid at the cemetery office at SAINT MARY ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH as herein stated. No one is permitted to pay any fee or gratuity to any cemetery employee.

3. It is of the utmost importance that there should be strict observance of proprieties in the cemetery. Hence, all persons within the cemetery should avoid conduct unbecoming a sacred place.

4. It is the duty of the chairman to see that rules and regulations are complied with and it is the chairman’s duty to protect and promote the best interest of The cemetery. Any emergencies that may occur that are not covered by this document must be resolved b the Chairman, the Priest and the Chairman of the Parish Council.

5. The cemetery reserves the right to remove plants, trees or any landscaping, or vegetation if it becomes dangerous or unsightly or does not conform to cemetery standards, or for any reason that its removal is considered necessary.

6. In opening a grave, the caretaker may temporarily move monuments, disturb plantings, or place soil on adjoining graves without prior consent of any interested party. If this becomes necessary the caretaker will replace monuments, soil and plantings and remedy any other issues.

7. Any agreement regarding the monument and its setting is between the plot owner and the monument dealer. The cemetery’s caretaker is responsible for setting the monument. (Monument dealers are not agents for the cemetery).

8. All outstanding charges to the cemetery must be made before any additional Interments can be made.

9. The right is reserved by the cemetery to insist that at least twenty-four (24) hours notice be given prior to burial.

10. Neither the Cemetery, nor the cemetery Chairman, nor the Church Will be liable or responsible for any mistake occurring from the want of precise and proper instructions as to a particular burial space or grave and location of a plot, where interment is desired. The correct order of notification is:

10.1. The funeral director calls the Cemetery Chairman upon the notification of death.

10.2. The chairman will confer with the family and the cemetery caretaker to establish the proper plot and grave.

10.3. Only after the family gives its permission can the cemetery chairman advise the caretaker that the families agreed upon the burial site.

11. In order to maintain a high standard of care and to eliminate sunken graves caused by ground collapse, all burials shall be made in a vault.

The Parish Council reserves the right to adopt additional Rules & Regulations or to amend, alter, or repeal any rule, article, section, paragraph or sentence in these Rules and Regulations.

LOT AND LOT OWNERS

1. Persons wishing to buy lots should contact the cemetery Chairman who will assist in making a selection

2. Before burial can be made in a plot complete payment must be made to the cemetery at the CHURCH office at 905 South Main Street, Wilkes-Barre, Pa 18702

3. The Cemetery expressly reserves the right to use cemetery property not sold to individual plot owners for cemetery purposes, including interment of the dead, or for anything necessary, incidental, or convenient thereto. The cemetery reserves to itself and to those lawfully entitled thereto a perpetual right of ingress and egress over plots for the purpose of passing to and from other plots. Ownership of plots means only the right to burial. All ownership of land remains reserved to the CHURCH.

4. Descriptions of lots will be in accordance with the cemetery records which are kept on file in the Church office and on the church computer.

5. Management will take all reasonable precautions to protect lot owners, and the rights of lot owners, within the cemetery from loss or damage. The cemetery disclaims all responsibility for loss or damage including but not limited to damage caused by the elements, acts of God, thieves, vandals, and mischief makers, whether the damage be direct or collateral.

6. Lot Owners do not have an absolute right to select and place any manner of marker and/or inscription and/or object on burial plots. Markers that are themselves offensive to the dignity of the Cemetery and/or markers that bear inscriptions that are offensive to the dignity of the Cemetery and/or objects that are offensive to the dignity of the Cemetery may in the judgment of the Chairman, the Parish Council and the Priest be removed. Objects, Markers and/or inscriptions that are offensive shall include but not be limited to those that are improper or injurious to the appearance of the surrounding lots or grounds and/or contrary to the Canons and/or teachings of the Faith. Objects, Markers and/or inscriptions that breach this threshold shall at the discretion of the Chairman, Parish Council and Priest, be removed.

7. It is the duty of the plot owner to notify the cemetery of any change in address.

CARE OF LOTS

1. The general care of the cemetery is assumed by the cemetery committee and includes cutting of the grass, raking and cleaning of the grounds. Pruning and removal of shrubs and trees are the responsibility of the lot owner. No individual may plant any tree near a grave.

2. The general care assumed by the Cemetery shall in no case mean the maintenance, repair, or replacement of any memorial or tomb or mausoleum or the doing of any special or unusual work in the cemetery.

3. The Cemetery will maintain a Preservation Trust Fund (the “FUND”). Income generated by the FUND will be used solely for the maintenance of the common areas and infrastructure of the cemetery. The income generated by the FUND shall not be used for such things as burials, landscaping services for individual graves, foundations, monuments, or hedge and scrub trimming.

4. Cemetery maps depict the relative position of one grave to another and may not represent precise survey measurements.

DESCENT OF BURIAL RIGHTS

1. The original owner of a plot of graves has the sole discretion as to all burials within that plot within the parameters set forth herein regarding who may be buried in the Cemetery.

2. The right to be buried on plots in the Cemetery passes on to the owner’s spouse and then to their direct descendants in the order, first to their Orthodox children, then to their children’s children, providing the children’s children are Orthodox.

3. After the Orthodox owner and his children have passed, the owner’s grandchildren have no right to burial if they are outside of the Orthodox Church.

4. If a burial is disputed, the Chairman, the Parish Council and the Priest have the discretion and authority to bury the deceased according to protocol established in the past, i.e. owners spouse next to spouse, owner’s children next to parents, grand children and relatives thereafter.
5. Lot owners can not transfer lots for monetary or non-monetary consideration without the express consent of the Church Parish Council, and this only after all descendants who have rights to burial have expired or consent to this transfer.

DEFINITIONS

1. CEMETERY. The term CEMETERY is hereby defined to include Burial Park for earth interments, for vault or crypt.

2. PLOT. The term PLOT shall apply to a space of sufficient size to accommodate one adult interment approximately three by ten feet.

3. LOT: The term LOT shall apply to numbered divisions as shown on the record.

4. INTERMENT: The term INTERMENT shall mean the permanent disposition of remains of a deceased person by entombment or burial.

5. MEMORIAL: The term MEMORIAL shall include a monument, marker, tablet, headstone or tomb for family or individual use in a lot enclosure.

6. MONUMENT: The term MONUMENT shall include a tombstone or memorial of marble or granite which shall extend above the surface of the ground.

7. MARKER: The term Marker means a memorial flush with the ground.

8. MANAGEMENT: The term MANAGEMENT shall mean the Chairman and caretaker duly appointed by the CHURCH, for the purpose of conducting and administering the cemetery.

9. LOT MARKER. The term LOT MARKER refers to any means used by the cemetery to locate corners of the lot or plot

10. RIGHT OF BURIAL. The term RIGHT TO BURIAL shall apply to original purchaser and shall pass on to his direct descendants. (See section titled DESCENT OF BURIAL RIGHTS.) The CEMETERY reserves to itself the ownership of the land.

11. VAULT. In order to maintain a high standard of care and to eliminate ground collapse, it is suggested that all burials be made in a VAULT so as to meet specifications established by management.

Quote of the Holy Fathers

A brother went to see Abba Silvanus on the mountain of Sinai. When he saw the brothers working hard he said to the old man, “Do not labor for the food which perishes (John 6:27). Mary has chosen the better part (Luke 10:42).” The old man said to his disciple, “Zacharias, give the brother a book and put him in a cell without anything else.” So when the ninth hour came the visitor watched the door expecting someone would be sent to call him to the meal. When no one called him, he got up, went to find the old man and said to him, “Have the brothers not eaten today?” The old man replied that they had. Then he said, “Why did you not call me?” The old man said to him, “Because you are a spiritual man and do not need that kind of food. We, being carnal, want to eat, and that is why we work. But you have chosen the good portion and read the whole day long and you do not want to eat carnal food.” When he heard these words the brother made a prostration saying, “Forgive me, Abba.” The old man said to him, “Mary needs Martha. It is really thanks to Martha that Mary is praised.”
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It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped when giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God.
St. John of Damascus (8th century)
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It is necessary to establish a pattern of going to church as often as possible, usually to Matins, Liturgy and Vespers. Have a longing for this, and go there at the first opportunity and if you can, stay without leaving. Our church is heaven on earth. Hasten to church with the faith that it is a place where God dwells, where He Himself promised to quickly hear prayers. Standing in church, be as if you are standing before God in fear and reverence, which you express through patience, prostrations, and attention to the services without wandering thoughts.
Saint Theophan the Recluse (19th century)
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The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit.
Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia (4th century)