THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: St. George Church Arthunkal at Cherthala in the Alappuzha district has decided to do away with coffins to make funerals more environmentally friendly.
The decision follows year-long parleys, talks and discussions. The Latin Church, which is close to the coast, had difficulty with plastics that were discovered while excavating a tomb.
Around 950 families who belong to this illustrious Church were considered by the Church officials in addition to the parishioners who raised the problem with them.
The first funeral without a coffin was held last Thursday, one year after the Pastoral Council first brought up the issue. The first funeral without a coffin was held last Thursday, an year after the Pastoral Council first brought up the issue
The body will be wrapped in a cloth and buried at the bottom of a flower-decorated cemetery after the funeral service.
"The failure of some bodies that arrive wrapped in plastic sheets to decompose into the earth causes issues for the Church officials. The same is true of various types of wood that are employed in the construction of coffins. Due to the unique soil characteristics in the location, and the fact that the sea is only 400 metres from the Church cemetery, the decomposing process is slowed down. In some cases, even after five years, bodies wrapped in plastic sheets have not decomposed. With the new procedure, we anticipate never having to deal with this problem again "Tomy remarked and noted that three funerals were held just last week, all of which followed the new protocol.
The new approach, according to Tomy Alasheril, convener of the St. George Church Central Committee, improves the environment, solves the problem of limited space, and ensures that the dead are treated equally without elaborate caskets. "Only the wrapping fabric and flowers will be buried with the body. A body will rot after a shroud burial in 18 months "says Mr. Alasheril, the Cherthala South grama panchayat's head of the Health Standing Committee. The Cochin diocese is responsible for St. George Church in Arthunkal.