Burial of the Dead
O ETERNAL Lord God, who holdest all souls in life; Vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to thy whole Church in paradise and on earth, thy light and thy peace; and grant that we, following the good examples of those who have served thee here and are now at rest, may at the last enter with them into thine unending joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O GOD, whose mercies cannot be numbered; Accept our prayers on behalf of the soul of thy servant departed, and grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
1 Thessalonians iv. 13 & St. John vi. 37
I will raise him up at the last day
Jesus raises the daughter of Jairus from the Dead
1 Thessalonians iv. 13I WOULD not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. Today in military funerals there is a three-volley farewell salute with rifles.
St. John vi. 37JESUS said unto them, All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
In a traditional Roman burial the friends would gather at the grave or pyre. They would each take dirt and three times would throw it on the body saying "VALE, VALE, VALE (meaning farewell). Then upon leaving the burial ground, they would turn and walk away as they said the name of the deceased three times.
Early Christians could not be buried with the Roman citizens because their religion wasn't recognized as legitimate. They buried their dead in the catacombs that were underground. They would place the bodies in burial crypts.
Christian agape scene in the catacombs
The catacombs were also used as a place of meeting and worship including the Eucharist.
Centurions deployed in combat areas may have been buried in funeral pyres for sanitation and ancient custom. At a Roman Fort at Brougham, 20 miles south of the western end of Hadrian's Wall archaeologists found the cremated remains of two highly honored Cavalry officers of the Roman Legion. By the remains each was given the highest honors at death which was between the date of 220 A.D. and 300 A.D. The Funeral pyres may have been a high as three tiers. The remains show that both had been burned on their pyres in their full armor with all fittings and scabbards. Both were generously provided with a joint of meat on a pottery dish and a pottery jug with an engraving good-luck motto but as well silver bowls and ivory objects. All this marks the officers as belonging to one of the highest ranking members of the community. The combination of the horses, military equipment and expensive pyre and grave goods naturally suggests Roman Cavalry officers. [Reference: Archaeology magazine May/June edition 2005; article Amazons in the U.K. ]
See more here here.
Cremation ceased to be the primary means of burial with the advent of Christianity as the predominant religion in Rome. They began to use the sarcophagi (coffins), made of various materials such as: stone, marble, lead," etc. The Christian was often buried supline with his feet to the west so he could arise at the sound of Garbriel's horn facing to the East. Facing East - just as he worshipped in the Eucharist - ready for the Coming of Jesus and the Ressurection. Marantha - Come Lord Jesus.