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What Is the Order of Christian Funerals?

Learning what is right or wrong regarding Christian funerals is not at all an easy task. You have Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, and many more sub-groups, all with their own interpretation of the Bible.

Hence, could there be a right answer as to what is the proper order of Christian Funerals

Probably not.

But, certain funeral rites are common to most denominations of Christianity.

  • Wake
  • Viewing or visitation
  • Funeral service


After death occurs, many sub-groups will hold a wake before the funeral. It’s most often held at a family’s home, but it can happen at the funeral home or the Church. The purpose of the wake is to give close family and friends a chance to support and comfort each other and offer condolences to those in grief.

The wake being less formal is more of a private and personal gathering. 

The family members usually serve food. Prayers, readings, and eulogies are often included as well. 

Viewing or Visitation

Considering the body may or may not be present at the wake, the visitation gives the family and friends a brief chance to view the body.

This is a custom found in many denominations, whether on its own or as a part of another funeral rite. It can also occur after the ceremony, or before the burial.

Christian Funeral Service

Some ceremonies occur at the Church, while others are held at the cemetery chapel. Differences do exist, but still, there are certain funeral traditions common to most Christian funeral services, such as:

  • Casket: The casket, open or closed, is present during the ceremony. Family members or close friends carry it to the Church, chapel, or other desired place.
  • The welcoming introduction: The pastor will welcome all present mourners, offer words of support, and start the ceremony by leading the initial prayer.
  • The ceremony – prayers, sermons, and hymns: The pastor leads the prayers and psalms while the mourners may join and sing along.
  • Speeches: Family and friends can read a eulogy and say final words of love and support. Readings are common as they give a brief insight into the life of a person who has passed away.
  • Closing words: A lesson and teaching on how to live a good Christian life. The pastor gives words of comfort, shares a benediction, and ensures the bereaved in the existence of God.
  • The burial Ceremony, or Cremation: This is the process of the casket being lowered into the ground. The reassuring words of the pastor also follow it. The same applies to the cremation process.

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