Segments in this Video

In Memory of Pavlos Gyparis (01:47)


See Barrie Machin's description of his agreement with the deceased to film his funeral for posterity. See an explanation of death in a community in Crete. Female relatives guard Gyparis' body for 24 hours to prevent his soul from escaping, singing dirges.

Cretan Wake (06:10)

The funeral combines modern and ancient religions. Gyparis' wife's dirge references the ferryman Charos while an image of the Virgin and child rests on his chest. Moroloya songs aid the soul's passage and ask the departed to carry messages to the Underworld.

Cretan Funeral Procession (05:08)

Hear the priest's comfort message to relatives. Women lead with food, followed by boys carrying the cross, priests, and pall bearers. A band shows Gyparis' contribution to the Greek resistance. Hear song lyrics referencing Charos, a symbol of death.

Cretan Funeral Service (04:33)

The priest asks for forgiveness and sin remission for the departed and for the congregants. They file past the coffin, kissing the icon and Gyparis' forehead.

Cretan Burial (02:36)

Congregants lower Gyparis' casket into the grave. They believe the body may become possessed by the devil and transformed into a ghost while flesh remains. They use quicklime to speed decomposition and the soul's final transformation to the other world.

Funeral Meal (02:00)

Congregants offer condolences to Gyparis' family. Women provide foods symbolizing the community's unity. The breach in social fabric takes a decade to heal; memorial services are held regularly. The body will be exhumed and reburied in the ossuary in a few years.

Credits: Passing Shadows (01:37)

Credits: Passing Shadows

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Passing Shadows

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This program by anthropologist Barrie Machin documents a funeral in a Greek village on the island of Crete. It shows the laments, the procession, and the Orthodox funeral rites. Narration provides insights into the beliefs about death and the services, as well as the eventual exhumation common to this culture.

Length: 24 minutes

Item#: BVL192062

ISBN: 978-1-64623-777-7

Copyright date: ©1979

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.