IT WAS an act of kindness from a community as strangers gathered to attend a funeral for an asylum seeker whose death has left her 10-year-old son an orphan.

However, the son of the Georgian woman known only as Ana to protect the boy's identity is now facing an uncertain future as when she died his mother was awaiting the outcome of an appeal for asylum.

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The boy, who has lived in Glasgow since he was three, is being cared for by relatives and social services are aware of the case after the death of his 35-year-old mother who had suffered from a long illness.

The family's heart-wrenching plight prompted clergy of different faiths to join together to hold a service in Springburn.


Father McGrath and Mr Casey and have set up an appeal to raise money to support the Ana's son and have raised £700 so far.

The Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church in Glasgow arranged a Georgian Orthodox Church style-service to enable the boy and his family to grieve and say goodbye to Ana, who was born and raised in the former Soviet republic on the border of Europe and Asia which has an uneasy relationship with Russia,

Around 40 people, including residents, representatives from the community council and a primary school, attended the ecumenical service at Springburn Parish Church to pay their respects.

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Rev Brian Casey, Springburn Parish Church minister, said Ana's son was “the centre of her life”.

He said: “Ana’s death is tragic and very sad but we were so glad to be able to give that Glasgow welcome to her family.


“Irrespective of people’s faith or creed, we are here to serve them in the way Christ served people of the Jewish faith or no faith."

The Church of Scotland has spoken out against the growing scandal of funeral poverty for many years and is campaigning for an end to the postcode lottery of burial and cremation charges and the introduction of state assistance for those particularly in need.

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The service on Friday co-led by Father John McGrath, parish priest of St Aloysius Church in Springburn, included Georgian Orthodox Church traditions such as the recital of the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ.

Incense was burned in a Thurible, a metal censer suspended from chains.

The aromatic material is understood by the Orthodox Church as symbolising the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of the Saints rising to heaven.

Mourners, who also included members of the Georgian community in Glasgow, held lit candles.

One of Ana’s favourite songs, Shape of You by Ed Sheeran, was played against a backdrop of a poignant set of photographs of the translator, who was fluent in four languages, and her son.

Father McGrath said: "It was a great honour to be invited to help the family because some of the symbols we use in the Catholic faith resonate more with them.

“In circumstances of when people feel marginalised, when there is a limitation of language, it is important to make people feel they are part of a wider Christian family."

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David Bradwell, co-ordinator of Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees, said: “Marking a death – and remembering a life – with dignity and respect are things which we would all hope for ourselves and our loved ones.

“It is sad to think of young people dying, especially when they are alone or away from family support nearby.

“The role of the Church to offer compassion and understanding is so important.

“The Church will ask no questions about immigration status or ability to pay, but offers a loving community of prayer and support showing our commitment to respecting dignity in death as well as life.”