"PARTY ENDING THE MOURNING PERIOD: KEEPING TRADITION AND FAITH..."
In the Orthodox Vineyard of Africa
Fr Titus Twungubumwe
In Rwandan tradition, when somebody dies, especially a parent, a certain period is fixed for the mourning. At its end a party is organized whereby the large family and the friends gather for the memory of the departed, to solve some issues in which the departed was involved in before he / she felt asleep, and to share fellowship: this is called the "Rejoicing Party" whereby the kids of the departed, especially the daughters receive special donations by the family New Chief, to clean their tears!
With the introduction of the Christianity, this party is introduced by the Service of prayers for the departed, and here the tradition marries with the Christian religion. A priest or other Church delegates help the family for the celebration of the word.
Marcelin BARIHUTA was my grand father in low. Precisely he was the father of my brother in law Emmanuel who the husband of Blessila my eldest sister. The old Marcelin was reported fallen asleep on Saturday 14 July 2018 and his age was around a hundred! The party for ending his mourning was fixed on 30th September 2018 and, at our grand mother Regina NTAWANGA the wife of the departed, we gathered, prayed and shared the fellowship in the Sector of Ntarabana, District of Rulindo, North Province of Rwanda, neared the touristic place known as " The foot of King Ruganzu", and at the trees of God!" as there remain some giant trees that were planted in the compound of the late King Ruganzu Ndori, very famous in the history of Rwanda to have performed many wonders among others to have let the print of his feet on a rock that is still conserved in the local museum, and the place is known as "At the foot of Ruganzu!". The interested may come and visit the place nearby the Mac Adam road Kigali - Shyorongi - Musanze, just where ones leaves the asphalted road towards Rushashi former District area!
Regarding the religion in the region, the Roman Catholic predominates : representing over 80% of population, followed by the Protestant churches. I think I was the only one orthodox present in the party, but I adapted to the prayer seeing that I was born and I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church too!
With the blessing of His Grace Innocentios Byakatonda, the Bishop of the Orthodox Diocese of Burundi and Rwanda, allow me to talk about the orthodox beliefs and practice regarding the event I present. In our Common Nicene Creed we end: " And I believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen
The readings for the prayer for the departed, ordinary fixed on 2nd November, were: 2 Maccabees 12: 43-45, 1 Corinthian 15: 51-57 and John 6: 51-58.
In the reading from the Old Testament, Judah prepares the sacrifice for the expiation of the sins for the soldiers killed at the battle field because he had faith in the resurrection of the dead. " For, if he had no faith the killed soldiers had to resurrect, it would be superfluous and stupid to pray for the dead. (v. 43 - 44). In the Writings of the Apostles: Saint Paul talks about the Time of Resurrection and the Triumph over Death. "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" (v. 55) " The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gave us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." ( v. 56-57). Our basic mortal condition is manifested in sin. We are born mortal; We then become sinful. Thus does death "sting " us before we die. Being a Christian is more than having one's sins forgiven or being good; it is being alive. The low is not sinful, but it exposes sin. And, since it does not provide the power to obey it, it increases sinfulness in unchanged humans. (From. 3:20; 4:15; 5:13, 20; 7:7 ; Gal. 3:19-20.
In the Gospel according Saint John, Jesus says: "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:54) Saint Hilary of Poitiers writes, " What we say concerning the reality of Christ's nature within us would be foolish and impious were we not taught by His very words...There is no room left for doubt about the reality of His flesh and blood, because we have both the witness of His words and our own faith. Thus when we eat and drink these elements We are in Christ and Christ is in us". (On the Trinity, Book VIII, 14).
This reality, however, is a profound mystery of faith and grace. ORTHODOX Theology teaches that in the Eucharist we partake not simply of the physical / material, but on the deified and glorified Body and Blood of Christ which give resurrection life.
Eternal memory to late Marcelin BARIHUTA, may he rest in peace!
Reader Timothes Titus Twungubumwe
Orthodox Church in Rwanda
The Wisdom of the Orthodox Church in Burundi: Victory Against Death - The Sadness and Joy of Holy Saturday!
We and the spirits of the departed
The Firstborn From the Dead
The Way - An introduction to the Orthodox Faith
Theosis (deification): The True Purpose of Human Life
Theosis, St. Silouan and Elder Sophrony
Two years of missionary ministry in Burundi & Rwanda
1st July 2018: how was celebrated the Rwandan Independence Day in the Orthodox Church!...
"Au Rwanda, les missionnaires orthodoxes auront comme principale tâche..."
The Praiseworthy Orthodox Funeral of a Mother of Ten Children!...
Eight principal areas of convergence between African spirituality and Ancient Christianity
Orthodox Mission in Tropical Africa (& the Decolonization of Africa)
How “White” is the Orthodox Church?