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Dinner with the Dead in Moldova

Yesterday I ate my lunch with a bunch of dead people in Moldova.

Why?

Because that’s what everyone else was doing and I wanted to see how the people celebrate this holiday called “Pastele Blajinilor”.

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Hundreds of people filled this cemetery in Moldova yesterday.

This was our view as we came around a corner on our way home from a few days of ministry in Moldova yesterday. Hundreds of people crowded into this small cemetery.

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The priest made his rounds saying prayers for the dead.

Families gathered around the graves of their loved ones and ate a meal, drank some wine and enjoyed the beautiful weather. For a donation the priest would come to the grave and say a prayer for the dead, a choir of about 10 voices followed him.

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An Orthodox church overlooked this cemetery.

Although the Orthodox church does not “officialyl” recognize this holiday it is certainly not against it. This cemetery was on the territory of the local Orthodox church.

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Uneaten food is left on the grave for the dead.

The families celebrate as if their dead loved one is with them, they laugh and joke. The food is laid out on the grave and any leftovers stay there. They also sprinkle wine from the bottom of their glasses over the grave.

Will you pray with me?

  • Pray for Moldova
  • Pray for people who don’t know the hope that Jesus brings
  • Pray for churches to preach the truth gospel of grace
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I am a pastor, missionary, and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Ukraine since 2007. God blessed me with a wonderful wife and 5 amazing children! My greatest passion is to teach, encourage, and exhort others to turn to Jesus, who is Savior, Lord, and God!

  • Darlene Farlow

    Wow! This is exactly like El Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico!

    • There are similarities but I think in Mexico they celebrate it on November 1st.

  • Is this any different from Radonitsa in Ukraine?

    • I wasn’t familiar with Radonitsa but just looked it up on wikipedia. It sounds pretty similar but I haven’t really seen people here celebrate it like they do in Moldova.

      • No? I’m surprised. Maybe because you live in a big city. 🙂

        I wrote about what we noticed the first year we were here for Easter, if you’re interested:
        http://fylliska.blogspot.com/2009/04/another-difference.html

        • Thanks for sharing that post. Interesting that in Russia they actually visit the cemeteries on Easter. Yes, Ukrainians here usually visit the cemeteries on the Sunday after Easter but I’ve never heard it called Radonitsa, usually they refer to it as Pomenalnoe.

  • I think these traditions leave a lot of openings or ministry. Have you had any successes with that?

    • Certainly Easter is a really big deal here. We usually use that opportunity to do various outreaches. So far we haven’t used the week after Easter when they visit the graves for any significant ministry outreach but now you got me thinking!