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Re: Marriage

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September 21, 2002 04:21AM
Greetings Ryan!

I am not very familiar with the canon law of marriage within the Orthodox Faith regarding the necessity of both parties having to be Orthodox, but I do know that the priest is unable to perform any marriage ceremony outside the Orthodox Church, ie...he is not allowed to perform a civil ceremony. I was under the impression though that if one member of the couple is Orthodox then it was permitted, but I may be wrong. It may be that the priest is not willing to allow it because it is a Holy Sacrament and should be administered only to Faithful Orthodox Christians.

My wife and I were married in a civil ceremony a couple of years prior to our being received into the Orthodox Faith, but our priest did bless our marriage in the Church immediately after our Chrismation. I also have a friend who attends our parish that was received by Chrismation but his wife would not convert to Orthodoxy. The priest however did bless his marriage with his wife as well.

I would question you as to why your future wife is or would be willing to convert to Orthodoxy, but would want to continue attending other church services outside the Orthodox Faith. It would seem that she is not really serious about converting to Orthodoxy except as a matter to be married in the Church. Personally I do not advise anyone to convert to Orthodoxy unless he or she is truly sincere in living the Faith.

Orthodoxy is a way of life and a mindset that is truly distinct from any of the Protestant or Catholic Churches. One should not enter into the Faith with the idea that if he or she does not "like it", they can always go down the street to another "church". Orthodoxy sees itself as the fullness of the Faith and that all other "forms of Christianity" are lacking in certain areas when compared to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

To list the differences of the Orthodox Faith compared to Protestant or Catholic Faiths would take an encyclopedia. Some of the more obvious differences are:
1. We believe the Eucharist contains the True Body and Blood of our Lord.
2. We do not include the "filioque clause" (and the Son) in the Nicene Creed.
3. We do not believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
4. We do not believe in the infallibility of any Bishop...especially the Pope.
5. Our priests are allowed to marry prior to ordination as priests.
6. We believe in the intercession of the Saints as well as the Blessed Theotokos.
7. We do not believe in purgatory nor indulgences.
8. We do not practice Sola Scriptura. We believe in Holy Scripture and Tradition.
9. We do not knowingly ordain women or homosexuals.

I could go on and on but like I said, the Christian Faith as practiced by the Orthodox Faithful is the fullness of the Apostolic Faith which Christ handed down to the Apostles, who in turn handed it down to the Fathers, who in turn handed it down to us, in an unbroken, verifiable, historic manner. The other "Christian Churches" can not make this claim. Roman Catholicism tries to make this claim but when the bishop of Rome decided to implement dogma and define doctrine unilaterally, he in effect became a heretic and severed himself from the Orthodox Collegial Bishops and we do not recognize him as an equal, much less the Vicar of Christ.

I would suggest that both you and your fiance go to the Priest and see if he would be willing to catechize both of you, so that you both might be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to be Orthodox.

To convert to Orthodoxy she would have to:
1. Be catechized or instructed by someone (usually the Priest) who is firmly grounded in the Faith. This can take as much as a year or more depending on how ready the person appears to understand the teachings of our Faith.
2.Then, she would have to renounce any heresies she might have adhered too, (such as the infallibilty of the Pope) depending on whether she is Roman Catholic or Protestant.
3.She will need to have the Sacrament of Confession to a Priest or Spiritual Father.
4.Then she would have to possibly be Baptized, if the Bishop does not recognize any Baptism she may have had.
5.Then she will have to be Chrismated.
6.Then she will be able to partake of Holy Communion and finally be considered an Orthodox Christian who is truly one member of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

As you can see, this is not something to be entered into lightly, or strictly as a means to an end (ie. getting married in the Church just for the sake of it). I hope I have not been too critical of you or your fiancee's motives. It is just that I was Protestant for almost 46 years and it took me the last 12 of those years reading, researching, and asking questions about Orthodoxy to become convinced that the Orthodox Faith is the True Body of Christ on earth, and all other denominations do not begin to compare to the Beauty and Splendor of the Christian Faith I now know and strive to practice.

I hope I have been of some help, please drop me a line if you need anything else addressed and I will do my best to help.

God Bless,

PS What city do you live in?
Subject Author Posted


Ryan September 20, 2002 02:54PM

Re: Marriage

Thomas September 21, 2002 04:21AM