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Assyrians and cremations?

ASHOOR

Administrator
Staff member
I was reading something about funeral homes and cremations etc. and the question hit me: do you know of any Assyrian who has cremated their loved ones after death? I would be shocked if I know someone has done it. But don't be surprised if we start seeing it in the future.  I know the idea sounds too harsh for our culture, but really, to think about it, especially as Christians who believe that it is all about the soul and the body is only a temporary temple, what need is there to preserve it and waste precious land space for something that you will never benefit from. It is not like if we burn the body , it won't have a chance in the afterlife (I am sure some people think like this)


What are your thoughts on this topic? Would you be OK with your body being cremated after death?


ASHOOR
 

Cascade

Active member
I believe that we should be cremated. The idea of a attired, groomed body that is made to look very human-like which would rot 6 feet under is extremely daunting to fathom. At least, with cremation, you're turned into ashes and dust.

When you're dead, you cease to exist anyway. I'd rather look like dust than a corpse when I don't exist. Not to mention, the body is gonna decompose anyway. We probably bury our dead because, in biblical days, folks didn't know about the scientific part of decomposition. If they knew about bacteria and microscopic life devouring your body, they'd probably would've opted for cremation or something in that likes. Having your body scavenged is not very "spiritual".

According to Christianity, our bodies should be returned to dust (as mentioned in Ecclesiastes 12:7 - "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."). I think we just interpreted it this verse to mean a full body burial. Because from how I read it, you can always cremate your body and "return to the earth as it was". The verse isn't really explicitly inciting burial, nor cremation for that matter. So I'm not too sure why we see cremation as a taboo, since the bible wasn't really clear about it (AND burial).
 

mrzurnaci

Active member
I think the idea of cremation, good intentions of course, does not jibe with us well considering how nobody in our culture likes the idea of our loved one engulfed in flames (which will immediately bring up idea of Gehenna).

 

Kosovo1389

New member
I swear that I wrote a piece about this and was about to post it and saw this. Thus, I will paste it here. In a nutshell, Assyrian cremation does not exist in Los Angeles and Turlock, and I doubt it exists in Phoenix or Chicago, for that matter. I don't want to be cremated, nor does anyone I know, either here or anywhere else. I take pride in my grandma's cousin recently being buried in Turlock, although he was from San Jose. Another distant relative died last week in San Jose, and was buried. I myself attended a burial of our former neighbor last September, service justified for me why Assyrians will never be able to embrace cremation, because of how meaningful and fulfilling our funerals are. While I have studied many different forms of sociological phenomenology among our people, I definitely find this to be the strangest I have yet to encounter. Last October, when AAASJ activist Sargon Khoshaba died, he was cremated and inurned. His ashes are now in Turlock, in the niche of a columbarium, a wall in the cemetery meant for cremated ashes to be laid to rest. A funeral service was held on his ashes. This was not the first last time this would happen. His cremation took place at Irvington Memorial Crematory. In January 2015, Youtan Daniels, a prominent Assyrian in Iran just a few years before, may have been the first Assyrian to have been burned in the incinerator at Irvington. Months later, AAASJ Youth leader Noel Boudaghi sadly succumbed to a long battle with cancer, and he also was cremated at Irvington. A secular dinner was held at a church hall, where his life was celebrated. In October 2015, Dr Avimalek Betyousef, a prominent Assyrian attorney in Iran and longtime resident of Sacramento, died. He was privately cremated in a Sacramento and a funeral was also held on his ashes in San Jose. It is unclear what proceeded but it is assumed that his ashes were scattered at sea. The topic of cremation is as taboo as taboo could be defined in Assyrian enclaves outside of San Jose. Meanwhile, in San Jose, cremating the dead is as Assyrian as dolma.
 

Kosovo1389

New member
An incomplete list of Assyrian cremations in Los Angeles include Malfono Ninos Aho and his son Enlil Aho who died a year before him of a drug overdose, both had a secular funeral and a private witness to cremation afterwards with only the family attending. The location of their ashes is unclear, but it is believe that both were scattered at sea. On 9/28/12, Rev. Rasho officiated a service on the cremated ashes of Rabi Simon Amirkhas whose resting place is at Oakwood Memorial Park (in Chatsworth, CA) at the Vista Mausoleum, column number F, niche space number 11. The mother of Amirkhas, Nina Bet-David, died in early 2016 and was also cremated.
 

Cascade

Active member
mrzurnaci said:
in our future country, we should reserve cremation for those who were executed as death penalty.
What if their family disapprove?

Normally, after a convicted felon is executed, his/her family have complete authority over the body, not the law.
 

mrzurnaci

Active member
Neon said:
What if their family disapprove?

Normally, after a convicted felon is executed, his/her family have complete authority over the body, not the law.
we'll work that out in the future lol.
 

mrzurnaci

Active member
Neon said:
Back to topic: Do you prefer to be cremated or buried?

I was hoping to donate my body for science since I won't be needing it for a while :) but 2nd choice would be buried
 
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