The union of a man and woman is a blessed occasion and time for joy and celebration. Weddings are blessed by the Church and are considered among the holy Sacraments of the Orthodox Faith. It is our honor and joy to have your union blessed by God.
In planning your wedding, the first step is to contact the priest to reserve the date. Please do not reserve a reception hall until the church has been reserved. For the wedding to be sacramentally valid and celebrated in the Orthodox Church, the following conditions must be met:
- Weddings are to be celebrated by an Orthodox Priest and performed in the sanctuary according to the liturgical tradition of the Orthodox Church with the authorization of the Archbishop.
- In marriages of Orthodox and non-Orthodox Christians, the latter must have received a Trinitarian Baptism: in water and in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Church cannot bless the marriage of an Orthodox Christian to a non-Christian.
- A sponsor of the Orthodox Faith must be selected, which could be the best man, maid of honor, or any other person in the wedding party. However, the Sponsor (koumbaros or koumbara) must be a member of the parish and in good standing. If from another city, he or she must provide a current certificate of membership showing him/her to be an Orthodox Christian in good standing with the Church. A person who does not belong to a parish or who, if married, has not had his or her marriage blessed by the Orthodox Church, or if divorced and has not received an ecclesiastical divorce, cannot be a sponsor. Non-Orthodox persons may be members of the wedding party but may not serve as the sponsor.
- Before requesting permission from the Archbishop to perform the marriage, the priest must verify that: a) neither of the parties is already married to another person, either in this country or elsewhere; b) neither is related to the other to a degree that would constitute an impediment; c) if either or both parties are widowed, they have presented the death certificate(s) of the deceased spouse(s); d) if either or both of the parties have been previously married in the Orthodox Church, they have obtained ecclesiastical as well as civil divorce(s); e) the party or parties who are members of a parish other than the one in which the marriage is to be performed have provided a certificate declaring them to be members in good standing with that parish for the current year; and f) a civil marriage license has been obtained from civil authorities.
- No person may marry more than three times in the Church, with permission for a third marriage granted only with extreme "oikonomia."
Days When Marriage Is Not Permitted
Marriages are not performed on fast days or during fasting seasons or on the feasts of the Church, specifically: September 14 (Exaltation of the Holy Cross), December 13-25 (Nativity), January 5 and 6 (Theophany), Great Lent and Holy Week, Pascha (Easter), Pentecost, August 1-15 (Dormition Fast and Feast), and August 29 (Beheading of St. John the Baptist).
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From the Archdiocese
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
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