Byzantines commemorated their deceased through funerary and burial rituals that prepared the departed for the transition from the earthly life to the life hereafter. The funeral rite was observed immediately after a person's death. It included the preparation of the body and soul at the home of the deceased, the funeral procession, funerary ceremonies at church and grave site, and finally, burial. The body was washed with water, vinegar, and spices, and anointed with perfume. It was clothed in white linen, dressed appropriately, and displayed on a couch facing east; the eyes and mouth were closed. The body of a lay person was placed in a room or a vestibule of a house. Monks and clergy were placed in a coffin in the narthex of the church. Candles and incense were burned alongside the corpse. During this time family and friends would come to say farewell to the deceased. Psalms were read over the body to prepare the soul for departure and protect it against demons. Although customs vary, in warmer climates it was common to bury on the first day after a person's death.
The corpse was carried in procession accompanied with candles and burning incense to a burial place. First, a funeral ceremony was performed in a church; the ceremony at the tomb included a farewell and prayers for the salvation of the soul of the deceased and the pardon of sins. Mourners expressed their grief through exaggerated gestures of lamentation and sorrowful utterances. This can be seen in the narthex fresco in the church at Sopocani of the funeral of Anna Dandolo, mother of the Serbian King Uros I,1265. Here a group of men is shown grieving. One holds a handkerchief next to his face. High ranking clergy and wealthy donors, such as emperors and members of aristocratic families, were typically buried in the church naos or narthex while ordinary people and monks were buried in the cemetery. Tombs, arcosolia, or sarcophagi were common places of burial. According to Christian custom, the deceased were commemorated on the third, ninth, and fortieth day after death.