Sacramentum Mundi Online

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In composing its burial service, the early Church borrowed extensively from customs of the time, but freed them from a pagan and too materialistic interpretation of life beyond the grave. Ancient burial rites became symbols of the life of the spirit, and the biblical hope of the resurrection of the body is from the very beginning the most striking characteristic of Christian burial. It was customary to visit graves and, while the deceased attended the meal in his wreathed cathedra, to celebrate the agape, especially on the diesnatalis; the Eucharist was celebrated chiefly on the a…

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Walter Diirig, “Burial”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 26 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2016

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