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Author Topic: Marriage Between Cousins In Orthodox Religion  (Read 1378 times) Average Rating: 0
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Studying_Orthodoxy
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« on: May 18, 2013, 01:52:23 AM »

Hello,

Is it possible in the Orthodox religion for a person to marry their mother's brother's daughter?

I do not plan to do this but just asking if such a marriage would be recognised by the church.
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2013, 03:51:54 AM »

As far as I know, this is prohibited by canon law.
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2013, 05:06:24 AM »

In many countries, a marriage between such close relatives is forbidden by civil law, which makes it a moot point. In Greece, for example, nothing closer than second cousins is allowed.
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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2013, 06:34:20 AM »

AFAIR, you are allowed to marry your mother's cousin child the fastest (and your mother's cousin with an approval of the bishop).
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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2013, 09:51:04 AM »

Not sure if this is helpful in any way, but in the Middle East marriage between first cousins is relatively common for both Muslims and Christians alike.
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2013, 10:36:30 AM »

Hello,

Is it possible in the Orthodox religion for a person to marry their mother's brother's daughter?

No. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, one must have "seven degrees" of separation, both in blood and in ecclesiastical relations (e.g. relationships created through being a godparent). That's the rule. Of course, one can always find exceptions to every rule.

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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2013, 10:41:11 AM »

Hello,

Is it possible in the Orthodox religion for a person to marry their mother's brother's daughter?

No. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, one must have "seven degrees" of separation, both in blood and in ecclesiastical relations (e.g. relationships created through being a godparent). That's the rule. Of course, one can always find exceptions to every rule.



Are there sources and tables for explaining this?
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« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2013, 11:03:12 AM »

Hello,

Is it possible in the Orthodox religion for a person to marry their mother's brother's daughter?

No. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, one must have "seven degrees" of separation, both in blood and in ecclesiastical relations (e.g. relationships created through being a godparent). That's the rule. Of course, one can always find exceptions to every rule.



Are there sources and tables for explaining this?

Yes, all of the major Byzantine canonists talk about it, especially Balsamon and Zonaras. The understanding of "consanguinity" came out of St Basil, but was developed with exact regulations to the seventh degree by a synodal decree in the 11th century. All of this is tied up with controversies over the nature of marriage that had rocked the Byzantine world for generations. The Stoudites eventually won the day, as they did on most things.

The primary sources are in the Syntagma of Rhallis and Potlis, and also in Grumel's Les régestes des actes du Patriarcat de Constantinople.

You can find a brief overview in English in Dr Lewis Patsavos' course packet for his intro to Canon Law: http://store.holycrossbookstore.com/006noisbn.html

It includes a table that shows how relationships of affinity are calculated.
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2013, 11:16:54 AM »

Hello,

Is it possible in the Orthodox religion for a person to marry their mother's brother's daughter?

I do not plan to do this but just asking if such a marriage would be recognised by the church.
Yes, if it is allowed by the state (most in the West don't, or didn't until recently).  The Russian Church and others perhaps won't marry cousins, but I don't know if they can deny a marriage done by an Antiochian priest.

Yes, there are canons are against it, but they are simply ignored in the Middle East, as we don't share European hang ups on this.  It's not like the canons are dogma, particularly, as here, where they contradict Scripture.
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2013, 11:26:17 AM »

Hello,

Is it possible in the Orthodox religion for a person to marry their mother's brother's daughter?

I do not plan to do this but just asking if such a marriage would be recognised by the church.
Yes, if it is allowed by the state (most in the West don't, or didn't until recently).  The Russian Church and others perhaps won't marry cousins, but I don't know if they can deny a marriage done by an Antiochian priest.

Yes, there are canons are against it, but they are simply ignored in the Middle East, as we don't share European hang ups on this.  It's not like the canons are dogma, particularly, as here, where they contradict Scripture.

Antioch keeps marrying cousins. Moscow keeps eating blood sausage.
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2013, 11:27:12 AM »

Hello,

Is it possible in the Orthodox religion for a person to marry their mother's brother's daughter?

No. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, one must have "seven degrees" of separation, both in blood and in ecclesiastical relations (e.g. relationships created through being a godparent). That's the rule. Of course, one can always find exceptions to every rule.



Are there sources and tables for explaining this?

Yes, all of the major Byzantine canonists talk about it, especially Balsamon and Zonaras. The understanding of "consanguinity" came out of St Basil, but was developed with exact regulations to the seventh degree by a synodal decree in the 11th century. All of this is tied up with controversies over the nature of marriage that had rocked the Byzantine world for generations. The Stoudites eventually won the day, as they did on most things.

The primary sources are in the Syntagma of Rhallis and Potlis, and also in Grumel's Les régestes des actes du Patriarcat de Constantinople.

You can find a brief overview in English in Dr Lewis Patsavos' course packet for his intro to Canon Law: http://store.holycrossbookstore.com/006noisbn.html

It includes a table that shows how relationships of affinity are calculated.

Thanks much.

Although, I was hoping for a handy chart to post on Facebook.  angel
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2013, 11:54:25 AM »

I heard once that Orthodoxy, unlike Islam, seems to be designed to avoid gene pool stagnation.  The fact that we aren't permitted to marry our cousins is an example.  Another example is the previously mentioned relation through godparentage,  Meaning man can't marry a women if the women's father is the man's godfather, even if they are not related by blood.

This might not seem like a lot now, but imagine being a man from a small village community.  After a few generations your options for marriage would be limited, and it would cause you to go further afield to find a wife, thus spreading the faith.  I'm not sure that spreading the faith is the intention of this prohibition, but it is a result.  I think it really helped Christianity avoid tribalism that Islam still suffers from.
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2013, 12:03:41 PM »

I heard once that Orthodoxy, unlike Islam, seems to be designed to avoid gene pool stagnation.  The fact that we aren't permitted to marry our cousins is an example.  Another example is the previously mentioned relation through godparentage,  Meaning man can't marry a women if the women's father is the man's godfather, even if they are not related by blood.

This might not seem like a lot now, but imagine being a man from a small village community.  After a few generations your options for marriage would be limited, and it would cause you to go further afield to find a wife, thus spreading the faith.  I'm not sure that spreading the faith is the intention of this prohibition, but it is a result.  I think it really helped Christianity avoid tribalism that Islam still suffers from.
Have you been to the Orthodox Church?
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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2013, 12:10:57 PM »

=(
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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2013, 12:25:19 PM »

I heard once that Orthodoxy, unlike Islam, seems to be designed to avoid gene pool stagnation.  The fact that we aren't permitted to marry our cousins is an example.  Another example is the previously mentioned relation through godparentage,  Meaning man can't marry a women if the women's father is the man's godfather, even if they are not related by blood.

This might not seem like a lot now, but imagine being a man from a small village community.  After a few generations your options for marriage would be limited, and it would cause you to go further afield to find a wife, thus spreading the faith.  I'm not sure that spreading the faith is the intention of this prohibition, but it is a result. I think it really helped Christianity avoid tribalism that Islam still suffers from.
Have you been to the Orthodox Church?

 Grin   Yes, I have been once or twice and it was lovely!  Sorry, I knew I should have clarified that this prohibition is now more of a discouragement.  It had more impact back in the day, I believe.  

I have been to predominantly migrant parishes where it seems like everyone is related.  But good times, right?
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2013, 01:25:09 PM »

This could not be possible because they do not allow banjos playing in the church during services.   If you are going to REALLY marry your cousin, you should at least have the right music in this link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tqxzWdKKu8   Cheesy
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« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2013, 01:30:16 PM »

I think that in relatively small communities, it would be hard to find someone to marry who's not some sort of family to you. I have heard it said that because of the size of the Earth's population, even as large as that is, there's no such thing as a 'seventh cousin' - we are all cousins of some degree (hence six degrees of separation). So no matter whom you marry, there's that factor. The gene pool is not infinite. In my personal opinion, marrying a first cousin (son or daughter of your uncle & aunt) is a little too close, but second or up would not be so bad; the further away in terms of degrees, the less the likelihood of genetic issues. Just a thought.
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2013, 01:31:00 PM »

AFAIR, you are allowed to marry your mother's cousin child the fastest (and your mother's cousin with an approval of the bishop).

We'd call that 2nd cousins here, and the mother's cousin would be 1st cousin once removed (With bishop approval).  (I think this is how the cousin thing works anyway LOL)

There is a chart here - http://www.genealogy.com/16_cousn.html that explains the once, twice removed thing.
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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2013, 01:32:25 PM »

Thanks, that is interesting. Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2013, 01:35:52 PM »

I think that in relatively small communities, it would be hard to find someone to marry who's not some sort of family to you. I have heard it said that because of the size of the Earth's population, even as large as that is, there's no such thing as a 'seventh cousin' - we are all cousins of some degree (hence six degrees of separation). So no matter whom you marry, there's that factor. The gene pool is not infinite. In my personal opinion, marrying a first cousin (son or daughter of your uncle & aunt) is a little too close, but second or up would not be so bad; the further away in terms of degrees, the less the likelihood of genetic issues. Just a thought.

I agree with you completely.  There is just a point where somebody is not family anymore.  We all probably have thousands of 7th cousins.  Many states have a law of 3rd cousins can be married.  1st I think that would be really disgusting and just too close.

Then again, I'd be curious of what an EO bishop, or any of you would think about this situation:   Grin
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« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2013, 01:41:24 PM »

Zaphod Beeblebrox, in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, became his own grandfather, because of a very special accident with a time machine... it takes some explaining. Wink
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« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2013, 02:56:11 PM »

Does the practice of cousin marriage in Arab Orthodoxy pre-date Islam, or is it the result of Islamic influence? Or is it due to the relatively small Orthodox population?
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« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2013, 03:04:27 PM »

Or is it due to the relatively small Orthodox population?
Probably not.
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« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2013, 03:06:44 PM »

Does the practice of cousin marriage in Arab Orthodoxy pre-date Islam, or is it the result of Islamic influence? Or is it due to the relatively small Orthodox population?
No, it predates Islam.  And the canons the Greek adopted.
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« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2013, 03:07:32 PM »

Does the practice of cousin marriage in Arab Orthodoxy pre-date Islam, or is it the result of Islamic influence? Or is it due to the relatively small Orthodox population?
No, it predates Islam.  And the canons the Greek adopted.

Do you have a reference?
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« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2013, 09:27:23 PM »

This could not be possible because they do not allow banjos playing in the church during services.   If you are going to REALLY marry your cousin, you should at least have the right music in this link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tqxzWdKKu8   Cheesy

It could really get much worse:
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« Reply #26 on: May 18, 2013, 09:33:28 PM »

Hello,

Is it possible in the Orthodox religion for a person to marry their mother's brother's daughter?

I do not plan to do this but just asking if such a marriage would be recognised by the church.
Yes, if it is allowed by the state (most in the West don't, or didn't until recently).  The Russian Church and others perhaps won't marry cousins, but I don't know if they can deny a marriage done by an Antiochian priest.

Yes, there are canons are against it, but they are simply ignored in the Middle East, as we don't share European hang ups on this.  It's not like the canons are dogma, particularly, as here, where they contradict Scripture.

Antioch keeps marrying cousins. Moscow keeps eating blood sausage.

Even the Byzantines ignored the seventh degree most of the time. But the Apostolic Canons (from Antioch, btw) forbid to the third and Trullo forbids to the fourth.

There is a 19th century Russian ruling that lays aside any pretension to the seventh degree, but marriages up to the fourth are absolutely forbidden (per Trullo).
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« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2013, 11:08:05 PM »

Hello,

Is it possible in the Orthodox religion for a person to marry their mother's brother's daughter?

I do not plan to do this but just asking if such a marriage would be recognised by the church.
Yes, if it is allowed by the state (most in the West don't, or didn't until recently).  The Russian Church and others perhaps won't marry cousins, but I don't know if they can deny a marriage done by an Antiochian priest.

Yes, there are canons are against it, but they are simply ignored in the Middle East, as we don't share European hang ups on this.  It's not like the canons are dogma, particularly, as here, where they contradict Scripture.

Antioch keeps marrying cousins. Moscow keeps eating blood sausage.

Either option seems icky....
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« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2013, 12:30:38 AM »

Hello,

Is it possible in the Orthodox religion for a person to marry their mother's brother's daughter?

I do not plan to do this but just asking if such a marriage would be recognised by the church.
Yes, if it is allowed by the state (most in the West don't, or didn't until recently).  The Russian Church and others perhaps won't marry cousins, but I don't know if they can deny a marriage done by an Antiochian priest.

Yes, there are canons are against it, but they are simply ignored in the Middle East, as we don't share European hang ups on this.  It's not like the canons are dogma, particularly, as here, where they contradict Scripture.

Antioch keeps marrying cousins. Moscow keeps eating blood sausage.

Even the Byzantines ignored the seventh degree most of the time. But the Apostolic Canons (from Antioch, btw)
a Greek city.
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« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2013, 12:38:41 AM »

Does the practice of cousin marriage in Arab Orthodoxy pre-date Islam, or is it the result of Islamic influence? Or is it due to the relatively small Orthodox population?
No, it predates Islam.  And the canons the Greek adopted.

Do you have a reference?
just off hand, Byzantium and the Arabs in the sixth century II
 By Irfan Shahîd
http://books.google.com/books?id=js30HODt2aYC&pg=PA123&lpg=PA123&dq=cousin+marriage+ghassanids&source=bl&ots=ZBS0Z6byWr&sig=DieTIjEQt-gb68ZITZClJmy42hA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=lVeYUZrvFYjLqgGEx4D4Cw&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=cousin%20marriage%20ghassanids&f=false
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« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2013, 12:39:46 AM »

Hello,

Is it possible in the Orthodox religion for a person to marry their mother's brother's daughter?

I do not plan to do this but just asking if such a marriage would be recognised by the church.
Yes, if it is allowed by the state (most in the West don't, or didn't until recently).  The Russian Church and others perhaps won't marry cousins, but I don't know if they can deny a marriage done by an Antiochian priest.

Yes, there are canons are against it, but they are simply ignored in the Middle East, as we don't share European hang ups on this.  It's not like the canons are dogma, particularly, as here, where they contradict Scripture.

Antioch keeps marrying cousins. Moscow keeps eating blood sausage.

Either option seems icky....
depends what your cousin looks like.
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« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2013, 12:51:19 AM »

What about cousins from one side of the family marrying cousins from the other side? There is no incest involved from a genetic standpoint, but I know that the Church views family in a spiritual sense as well and may condemn it. I once heard a story about this one guy who fell in love with the sister of his brother's wife and wanted to marry her, but her parents were Greek Orthodox and said that the Church wouldn't allow such a marriage to occur and the guy ended up committing suicide.
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« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2013, 01:06:40 AM »

Zaphod Beeblebrox, in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, became his own grandfather, because of a very special accident with a time machine... it takes some explaining. Wink
Sounds like a Ray Stevens song, "I'm My Own Grandpa", where Ray marries a widow whose daughter then marries Ray's dad. One of the funniest songs I've ever heard! laugh
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« Reply #33 on: May 19, 2013, 01:25:53 AM »

Hello,

Is it possible in the Orthodox religion for a person to marry their mother's brother's daughter?

No. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, one must have "seven degrees" of separation, both in blood and in ecclesiastical relations (e.g. relationships created through being a godparent). That's the rule. Of course, one can always find exceptions to every rule.



Are there sources and tables for explaining this?

Yes, all of the major Byzantine canonists talk about it, especially Balsamon and Zonaras. The understanding of "consanguinity" came out of St Basil, but was developed with exact regulations to the seventh degree by a synodal decree in the 11th century. All of this is tied up with controversies over the nature of marriage that had rocked the Byzantine world for generations. The Stoudites eventually won the day, as they did on most things.

The primary sources are in the Syntagma of Rhallis and Potlis, and also in Grumel's Les régestes des actes du Patriarcat de Constantinople.

You can find a brief overview in English in Dr Lewis Patsavos' course packet for his intro to Canon Law: http://store.holycrossbookstore.com/006noisbn.html

It includes a table that shows how relationships of affinity are calculated.

What was St. Basil's reasoning?
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« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2013, 06:41:25 AM »

Hello,

Is it possible in the Orthodox religion for a person to marry their mother's brother's daughter?

No. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, one must have "seven degrees" of separation, both in blood and in ecclesiastical relations (e.g. relationships created through being a godparent). That's the rule. Of course, one can always find exceptions to every rule.



Are there sources and tables for explaining this?

Yes, all of the major Byzantine canonists talk about it, especially Balsamon and Zonaras. The understanding of "consanguinity" came out of St Basil, but was developed with exact regulations to the seventh degree by a synodal decree in the 11th century. All of this is tied up with controversies over the nature of marriage that had rocked the Byzantine world for generations. The Stoudites eventually won the day, as they did on most things.

The primary sources are in the Syntagma of Rhallis and Potlis, and also in Grumel's Les régestes des actes du Patriarcat de Constantinople.

You can find a brief overview in English in Dr Lewis Patsavos' course packet for his intro to Canon Law: http://store.holycrossbookstore.com/006noisbn.html

It includes a table that shows how relationships of affinity are calculated.

What was St. Basil's reasoning?

It's a mainstay of Roman law dating back centuries before St Basil. He draws the principle out of the OT too. All Indo-European civilizations have the same basic principle; it just gets extended to spiritual relationships, and then extended to further degrees in the 7th to 11th centuies.

I believe one finds similar principles in the various Syriac traditions. Wouldn't be surprised if it's in the Coptic tradition too. It's not just a Greek thing. However, it is true that the modern Middle East doesn't follow a lot of the broader canonical tradition, including things related to intercommunion, ordination, marriage, etc.
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« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2013, 07:03:42 AM »

In many countries, a marriage between such close relatives is forbidden by civil law, which makes it a moot point. In Greece, for example, nothing closer than second cousins is allowed.

The Macedonian Family Law has the same decision as the Greek one. And from what I know, most of the Balkans have the same solution.
But, from what i read, the doctors here are against this norm , stating that even this can have consequences on the children coming from that marriage and demand that nothing closer than third cousins should be allowed.
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« Reply #36 on: May 19, 2013, 11:25:52 AM »

copts can marry their cousins (first cousins).
my close friend did it, and it was not a big deal at all.
 Cool
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« Reply #37 on: May 19, 2013, 11:33:29 AM »

Yuck ^
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« Reply #38 on: May 19, 2013, 12:48:26 PM »

copts can marry their cousins (first cousins).
my close friend did it, and it was not a big deal at all.
 Cool

I should clarify: I wouldn't be surprised if Coptic sources in the past forbade it.
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« Reply #39 on: May 19, 2013, 04:08:07 PM »

What about cousins from one side of the family marrying cousins from the other side? There is no incest involved from a genetic standpoint, but I know that the Church views family in a spiritual sense as well and may condemn it.
I don't know about Orthodoxy, but in my non-Orthodox family, here's the relationship between my brother and his wife: they have an aunt and uncle in common. The uncle is my mother's brother, and the aunt is her mother's sister, so yes, they have two cousins in common (the children of that aunt and uncle, of course) but are otherwise entirely unrelated to each other biologically. BTW, it was that aunt and uncle who played matchmaker. They did a wonderful job. Brother and wife have been married 25 years and are entirely devoted to each other.
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« Reply #40 on: May 19, 2013, 04:27:41 PM »

Hello,

Is it possible in the Orthodox religion for a person to marry their mother's brother's daughter?

No. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, one must have "seven degrees" of separation, both in blood and in ecclesiastical relations (e.g. relationships created through being a godparent). That's the rule. Of course, one can always find exceptions to every rule.



Are there sources and tables for explaining this?

Yes, all of the major Byzantine canonists talk about it, especially Balsamon and Zonaras. The understanding of "consanguinity" came out of St Basil, but was developed with exact regulations to the seventh degree by a synodal decree in the 11th century. All of this is tied up with controversies over the nature of marriage that had rocked the Byzantine world for generations. The Stoudites eventually won the day, as they did on most things.

The primary sources are in the Syntagma of Rhallis and Potlis, and also in Grumel's Les régestes des actes du Patriarcat de Constantinople.

You can find a brief overview in English in Dr Lewis Patsavos' course packet for his intro to Canon Law: http://store.holycrossbookstore.com/006noisbn.html

It includes a table that shows how relationships of affinity are calculated.

What was St. Basil's reasoning?

It's a mainstay of Roman law dating back centuries before St Basil. He draws the principle out of the OT too. All Indo-European civilizations have the same basic principle; it just gets extended to spiritual relationships, and then extended to further degrees in the 7th to 11th centuies.

I believe one finds similar principles in the various Syriac traditions. Wouldn't be surprised if it's in the Coptic tradition too. It's not just a Greek thing. However, it is true that the modern Middle East doesn't follow a lot of the broader canonical tradition, including things related to intercommunion, ordination, marriage, etc.
They do stick to the canons of one bishop per city.  As for the cousin marriage hang up, it never followed the Indo-Europeans in that.
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« Reply #41 on: May 19, 2013, 05:01:42 PM »

yes, why do some cultures find it bad and others ok?
i used to think it was bad coz i was brought up in a culture that has european influence (too close genetically) but it is allowed in the old testament.
so i stopped being biased against it when i realised i did not have a good reason to condemn it.
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« Reply #42 on: May 19, 2013, 06:54:42 PM »

Zaphod Beeblebrox, in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, became his own grandfather, because of a very special accident with a time machine... it takes some explaining. Wink
Sounds like a Ray Stevens song, "I'm My Own Grandpa", where Ray marries a widow whose daughter then marries Ray's dad. One of the funniest songs I've ever heard! laugh

PtA,

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Do it in an hour throughout the week or so and thank me for forever.

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EDIT: DONT GOOGLE ANYTHING ABOUT IT UNTIL AFTER READING!!!!!!!!!!!!
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« Reply #43 on: May 19, 2013, 06:56:33 PM »

My family is already screwed up enough on its own. The last thing we need is for two of us to screw up even more together. Best off marrying someone from a somewhat greater family that can perhaps enlighten mine Smiley
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« Reply #44 on: May 19, 2013, 06:59:04 PM »

My family is already screwed up enough on its own. The last thing we need is for two of us to screw up even more together. Best off marrying someone from a somewhat greater family that can perhaps enlighten mine Smiley

Look up the second rule of plumbing.

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