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Churchyards and Cemeteries

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Churchyards and Cemeteries

Old 24th Oct 2016, 14:14
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Churchyards and Cemeteries

I do not often enter churches these days. I have moved on, I like to think . However, what still bugs me about CofE churches in particular is their collection of graves surrounding the church. Worse, some human remains are squirrelled away inside the churches. What is this all about ? To me this is quite macabre and always was from an early age.

Why not universal cremation ? When you are gone, you are gone. Your body is not much use to you then, I submit. Why this urge to put human bodies in the ground slowly decaying away, sometimes for centuries (or more) ?

Oh I know that churchyards and other cemeteries are often wildlife refuges and of genealogical or archaeological interest but, put simply, we are running out of living space !

Anyone agree with me or am I in a minority once again ?
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 14:28
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It is partly to do with theology and doctrine. To give you a crude answer, traditional Christian belief is/was that the body should be buried as it will be resurrected by God after the second coming of Christ. I cannot speak for other religions, although I think in many other religions the body is burnt.

You did ask!
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 14:31
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Running out of living space? Really? I don't think so. Unless you use the rather narrow definition of existing urban boundaries.

Personally my preference is to be buried in a simple shroud vertically under a tree. Returning my nutriments to the earth.
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 14:40
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Cremation is certainly not environmentally friendly!

Burial, disposal in a river system, or leaving the body exposed in an elevated position for predators, are all a far more efficient way of recycling the nutrients and other components in a body and have a relatively low or neutral impact on natural systems.

As for bodies being contained in church tombs, this is just a development of ancestor worship which is practised in many theologies. Since the earliest sentient humans, bodies have tended to be disposed of in ceremonial fashion, being carefully laid in pits in special caves, or buried under elaborate mounds. No point in overturning fifty thousand years of history just because of modern enlightenment.
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 14:47
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The Catholic church prohibited cremation until 1963, and it was, as MP suggests, a lot to do with the bit of the Nicene Creed, "I believe in the resurrection of the body...". For a VERY long time, there were no crematoriums in Ireland; and for a long time after that, only one in Dublin.

CG
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 14:51
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I didn't know that.


Anyway, I rather like churchyards. Peaceful places mostly. One of my grandmothers is buried in a London cemetery in perpetuity. I've had a mind for a long time to go and see if they've kept to their word.

Just another thing to get angry about if they've developed the site.

St Nicholas' church in Colchester was beautiful. When they demolished it to put a bastard-ugly Coop on the site, they made a gesture by paving some of the area with old headstones.

More harm has come to wonderful old buildings in Colchester by way of the council than by Hitler.
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 15:18
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Talking of cemeteries, we had a crazy situation in our own town some years ago caused by those treehuggers whose 'Green' views are a bit detached from necessity....

BBC News | EUROPE | French mayor bans death
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 15:44
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Did a bit of diving with a "character" in Antigua whose one regret that when he was dead, his remains couldn't simply be taken out to sea and chucked overboard as a thank you to the fish that had given him so much pleasure. And in the same area of the world this year while on holiday, I paid a repeat visit to the local cemetery in Castries (St Lucia) beside the runway as it happens. Some fascinating graves and stories, and a Commonwealth War Graves section too. Saw the final resting place of one old dear born in1898 and who passed away in either 2001 or 2002. Can't be many people that can claim to have lived in three centuries.
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 16:18
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Alas poor Yorick
Doesn't have the same sort of ring do it?
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 16:25
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Personally my preference is to be buried in a simple shroud vertically under a tree. Returning my nutriments to the earth.
Same here, but horizontally.
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 16:34
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My preference would be for the Sky Burial as practised in Tibet.

Prepared remains are presented on a mountain top for Vultures to consume, no religious mumbo jumbo either AFAIK.
.
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 16:35
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Originally Posted by charliegolf View Post
The Catholic church prohibited cremation until 1963, and it was, as MP suggests, a lot to do with the bit of the Nicene Creed, "I believe in the resurrection of the body...". For a VERY long time, there were no crematoriums in Ireland; and for a long time after that, only one in Dublin.

CG
Up here the nearest crematorium is in Inverness (about 160 miles and two ferry crossings) so burial is the only option for the majority of folk hereabouts.
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 16:38
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I do not often enter churches these days. I have moved on, I like to think .
I think that's a shame. I am an atheist and have no belief in any supernatural being, but I love churches, particularly English country churches which are an important repository of our heritage, much more so than, say, stately homes or castles. I like to go in them and think of the hundreds of my forebears who may have passed time in them over the last 500 years or so. I find nothing at all creepy or macabre about the graves outside or the tombs inside - once again they are an endless source of information about those who have gone before us. Don't let your lack of faith deprive you of what can be a very spiritual experience.
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 16:44
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I recall, as a kid, being morbidly fascinated by those Victorian chest tombs. Mire often, they were cracked or partially collapsed and bacuse I thought that the bodies were placed in the box part, rather than underneath, I was always slightly frightened that if I peered inside I would see skulls and bones!
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 17:19
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My family has great fascination with cemeteries, no matter where they lie. From the time since I was small, I can recall trips to ancient burial places, wandering about, looking at names. I suppose a great vault, or 8 by 5 plot of ground with a stone at the feet or head is one way to leave one's mark on the earth.
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 17:20
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Here in CH, you are allowed to occupy your plot for 50 years after which what is left is dug up and cremated. Your successors have an option to buy you a non-renewable additional 50 years but this is seldom requested.

I've made a deal with the Mrs. We've agree to pop our clogs on a Monday evening, allowing our mortal remains to be deposited in the Dumpster down the road for pick up the following morning.

Empty shell.
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 18:08
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Thought the idea was you were buried east-west until rotted, then dug up and bones lobbed in a charnel house. Very sustainable.
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 18:15
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I lost my father 16 years ago. He's buried around a ten minute walk from where I lived. I've visited twice. Once for my brother to see and once at my aunt's funeral (whose grave I haven't visit in the five years since she was buried). I just don't get anything from it.

My mother in law passed away 8 weeks ago. Her ashes are here with me now in the living room. Mr fa2fi is getting her made in to a paper weight (!).

I just don't get anything from it. I remember people through memory, talking about them and eventually looking at pictures of them. That's how I remember people. Not as a pile of dust or some dreary cemetery.

But each to their own.
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 18:20
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Why bury or cremate? We left Granny sitting in her rocking chair. It was the only way to keep the pension payouts coming in....
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Old 24th Oct 2016, 18:22
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Check out the Chinese cemetery in Manila.
Hilarious, guaranteed to entertain.
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