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Author Topic: Divorce & Remarriage  (Read 8255 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jenny
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« on: June 14, 2003, 06:31:46 PM »

Hi everyone,

I'm reading a book entitled These Truths We Hold given to me by the Orthodox priest at the church I've been attending.   In the section on Divorce and Remarriage, it says: "The Holy Orthodox Church does, however, permit divorce and remarriage, quoting as her authority the words of the Savior: For your hardness of heat Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.  And I say to you:  Whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."

Even if, based on this passage, divorce is allowed, it doesn't say anything about remarriage.  Why does the Orthodox church allow remarriage?  Also, there are other passages (such as in 1 Corinthians 7) that seem to say that there should be no divorce.

The book also says that divorce is an exceptional, but necessary concession to human weakness and that second and third marriages are permitted, but more than that is strictly forbidden.   Why would second and third marriages be permitted if divorce should be so exceptional?  

I'm really trying to understand the Orthodox position.  I have been thinking about talking to the priest about becoming a catechumen, but this issue is bothering me.  

I would really appreciate any insights anyone might have.

Thanks!

God Bless,

Jenny
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2003, 08:32:04 PM »

The Church makes concessions to human weakness through divorce and 2nd and 3rd marriages. A priest, however, may not remarry.

The second and third marriages have been considered in holy tradition (see St. John Chrysostom, for example) as being preferable to the temptation of living alone since St. Paul says that, celibacy being the exception for very holy, married life is allowed for the rest who are not able to live such a life(Corinthians 7:2, 9).

Also, St. Paul gives reasons for divorce, such as a spouse being a hindrance to someone who has embraced the faith after marrying. Divorce is not the first option, since the unbeliever can be converted, but if he/she is a stumbling block, then it is permissable.

Marriage is also a sacrament conferred through the priest on to the couple. If one of them does not respond properly to God's grace, then it is understandable due to human weakness and the marriage should not be continued as falsehood.

St. John Chrysostom, however, said that the couple should remain together for a short while longer in order for their lives to be sorted out, especially for the benefit of the woman who would be in a rough position all alone; he also believed that by staying together, reconcilliation could occur.

In the Orthodox Church, the second and third marriage services take a very penitential character. Those who undergo the service are expected to stay together this time around, and like you said, it is very exceptional.

Matt
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2003, 11:25:13 PM »

Jenny,

The early Church held to one marriage period, whether it ended by divorce or death.

Then they made one concession for the reasons Matt outlined above.

Sometimes people had two spouses die before they had children.  In that one instance (usually) the third marriage was allowed.

They figured I guess that if three times didn't work that was all the chance one got.

Meyendorff explains this issue well in his book, Byzantine Theology.  Have you seen it?

anastasios
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2003, 08:44:53 AM »

The Church makes concessions to human weakness through divorce and 2nd and 3rd marriages. A priest, however, may not remarry.

The second and third marriages have been considered in holy tradition (see St. John Chrysostom, for example) as being preferable to the temptation of living alone since St. Paul says that, celibacy being the exception for very holy, married life is allowed for the rest who are not able to live such a life(Corinthians 7:2, 9).

Also, St. Paul gives reasons for divorce, such as a spouse being a hindrance to someone who has embraced the faith after marrying. Divorce is not the first option, since the unbeliever can be converted, but if he/she is a stumbling block, then it is permissable.

Marriage is also a sacrament conferred through the priest on to the couple. If one of them does not respond properly to God's grace, then it is understandable due to human weakness and the marriage should not be continued as falsehood.

St. John Chrysostom, however, said that the couple should remain together for a short while longer in order for their lives to be sorted out, especially for the benefit of the woman who would be in a rough position all alone; he also believed that by staying together, reconcilliation could occur.

In the Orthodox Church, the second and third marriage services take a very penitential character. Those who undergo the service are expected to stay together this time around, and like you said, it is very exceptional.

Matt

Hi Matt,

I understand that there is a lot of temptation in living alone, and Paul says that it is better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Cor 7:9), but what about our Lord's statement: "Whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."  If the Church allows a person to divorce and remarry for reasons other than unchastity, then wouldn't the person be living an adulterous life?

Regarding the priest not being able to remarry.....can a man be a priest if he is divorced (but not remarried)?

Thanks.

God Bless,

Jenny
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Jenny
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2003, 08:47:22 AM »

Jenny,

The early Church held to one marriage period, whether it ended by divorce or death.

Then they made one concession for the reasons Matt outlined above.

Sometimes people had two spouses die before they had children.  In that one instance (usually) the third marriage was allowed.

They figured I guess that if three times didn't work that was all the chance one got.

Meyendorff explains this issue well in his book, Byzantine Theology.  Have you seen it?

anastasios

Hi Anastasios,

I haven't seen it.  I'd like to read it, though.  Where can I get a copy?

Very interesting about the early church's practice about one marriage, even when a spouse had died.

God Bless!

Jenny
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2003, 11:53:50 AM »

St. Paul does not contradict Our Lord because he was appointed by Him to expound on His teaching.

St. Paul (and St. John Chrysostom et al.) saw marriage working in harmony because it must lead the entire family to salvation. If that harmony is not maintained and it is ungodly, then it should not continue, even if it's one's "duty" to "follow" what Our Lord said (Duty being a corrupted virtue).

I believe the St. Matthew passage is Our Lord explaining that marriage is not a legal contract, but rather it is something from God. You should consult further with a priest or in a book (such as Meyendorff) about these matters; remember that Scripture does not contradict.

I hope you enjoy Byzantine Theology. I loved it! God bless you!

Matt


PS: Nik informs me that a divorced man may not enter the clergy, even as reader, unless it occured before he became Orthodox and was not a sacramental marriage.
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Jenny
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2003, 04:52:14 PM »

St. Paul does not contradict Our Lord because he was appointed by Him to expound on His teaching.

St. Paul (and St. John Chrysostom et al.) saw marriage working in harmony because it must lead the entire family to salvation. If that harmony is not maintained and it is ungodly, then it should not continue, even if it's one's "duty" to "follow" what Our Lord said (Duty being a corrupted virtue).

I believe the St. Matthew passage is Our Lord explaining that marriage is not a legal contract, but rather it is something from God. You should consult further with a priest or in a book (such as Meyendorff) about these matters; remember that Scripture does not contradict.

I hope you enjoy Byzantine Theology. I loved it! God bless you!

Matt


PS: Nik informs me that a divorced man may not enter the clergy, even as reader, unless it occured before he became Orthodox and was not a sacramental marriage.  

Hi Matt!

Thanks for the info!  I will definitely talk to the priest at church and get the book.

Thanks to Nik for the info on divorced priests!

God Bless!

Jenny
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2003, 04:54:45 PM »

Nik may only be partially correct here. I believe if a man is abandoned by his spouse his bishop may accept him (provided the divorce was not his fault).

Jenny, the book may be out of print now; check www.light-n-life.com.  It's called "Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes" by John Meyendorff, Fordham University Press, 2nd edition.

anastasios
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2003, 05:01:39 PM »

Nik may only be partially correct here. I believe if a man is abandoned by his spouse his bishop may accept him (provided the divorce was not his fault).

Jenny, the book may be out of print now; check www.light-n-life.com.  It's called "Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes" by John Meyendorff, Fordham University Press, 2nd edition.

anastasios

I just checked and they do have it!  Thanks, Anastasios!

And thanks for the additional info on divorced priests.  

God Bless,

Jenny
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« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2003, 02:49:54 PM »

If you examine the Gospel quote, it actually says that the remarriage after divorce would be adultery unless there is some kind of "unchastity" (others translate more broadly as "adultery") in hte marriage, in which case it implies that a remarriage after a divorce resulting from adultery would not be, itself, adulterous.

Looking at this broadly, priests will tell you that there are few marriages that fail without some kind of adultery.  That adultery can be the sexual kind, or it can be other kinds of adulteries -- like the adultery of substance abuse, the adultery of workaholicism, the adiultery of selfishness and narcissism, etc.  Most marital problems can be traced to some kind of "infidelity" in one or both spouses ... in the sense that the spouse prefers someone or something else to their spouse, and "cheats" on their spouse (with another person, with their work, with their selfishness, with their physical addictions, etc.).  So most marriages that end in divorce end there due to some form of adultery, viewed broadly.

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« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2003, 02:59:15 PM »

I realize that this is an Eastern Orthodox board, and that I'm a guest here, so I'd just like to throw this out for interest's sake, not by means of judgment or argument.  This one of the big issues that divide the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox.  In the OO Church, a divorce will only be granted in the case of adultury (ie one spouse has intercourse with someone who is not thier spouse), and only after attempts at reconciliation have failed.  Substance abuse, abuse, workaholism, etc, are not acceptable reasons.  In the case of abuse it is common for the couple to be separated, and often the abuser will then seek marriage in another Church and the abused will then be free to remarry if they chose, although many do not.  In my limited understanding, the reason for this is that it is sex which completes the union between the two, which completes the process of making them one flesh that is beguin by the coming down of the Holy Spirit at the Liturgy.  Sex is a powerful source of unity for the couple, and of blessing from God.  Sex is also the thing which has the power to break the bond between spouses that it creats, when it is misused in adultury.  It is the one thing that has the power to make the two one, and to make the one two, through sinful misuse.  So it's not that we say that the abused party for example should stay without their spouse as punishment or because it's fair... but because they consented to become one flesh, and whatever the consequenses to has literally be done, and we cannot chose to undo it.  Many people lead full lives, close to God in separation without receiving divorce to be able to remary.  Remarrying if the other couple has not commited adultury is in itself adultury since the two are still one flesh.
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« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2003, 04:48:07 AM »

I did not realise that this was an EO, OO issue. I'm not sure that Brendan's post is an accurate portrayal of the EO position. I certainly have never heard adultry described in such broad terms as Brendan describes.

Brendan, do you have any references that I could read that show this to be the generally accepted stance of the EO church? It would be much appreciated.

John
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« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2003, 06:41:13 PM »

This is not an Eastern Orthodox board; it is an Orthodox board.  Wink

With that said, I too have not heard adultery defined so broadly before, although I can certainly understand such reasons being among those for which the Church *might* (does anyone know of any official reasons other than adultery for which the Church would allow divorce and possibly remarriage?) allow this.
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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2003, 07:36:33 PM »

This is not an Eastern Orthodox board; it is an Orthodox board.  Wink

With that said, I too have not heard adultery defined so broadly before, although I can certainly understand such reasons being among those for which the Church *might* (does anyone know of any official reasons other than adultery for which the Church would allow divorce and possibly remarriage?) allow this.  

AFAIK, homosexuality of one of the spouses (which usually indicates infidelity anyway) can be a reason, as well as physical, mental and/or emotional abuse.   These are decided on a case-by-case basis in EOxy, and there is no carte-blanche permission given to divorce and remarry.  The reasons, from what I can see, seem to parallel fairly closely the grounds for annulment used in the RCC.

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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2003, 12:11:01 AM »

The existence of EO divorce was a big stumbling block for me in accepting Orthodoxy.

Then I found something on the web that clinched it - I wish I could remember the web page.  However, the phrase it used was "The Orthodox Church allows only three attempts to contract a sacramental marriage".

I realize the language has a scholastic ring to it, but I believe it was a ROCOR source, and looking at the document in its entirety, seemed to be thoroughly Orthodox.

In any event, it did indicate that something was awry in the marriage that impeded (sorry for the Latinism) its sacramental character.

Viewed through this lens, Orthodox divorce became acceptible to me (like Orthodoxy needed my permission...).

Just my 2 kopecks...
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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2003, 09:48:32 AM »

Note the following from the OCA’s website, from the OCA’s Director of Communications, Fr. John Matusiak:

“Q: But, unless I am mistaken, Jesus said that unless the divorce is because of adultery (Mt 5:31-32), or it is because a non-believer wants out of the marriage (I can't find the source), the divorcees cannot remarry.
Please explain this to me!

A: Thank you for your enquiry concerning answers which had been previously offered with regard to second and third marriages and the world’s Orthodox population.

Of course I am aware that Christ’s scriptural injunction admits adultery as the only reason for divorce. The question that I had answered involved the contemporary practice of the Orthodox Church rather than the scriptural injunction. I have been a priest for nearly 25 years. I have seen quite a number of couples seek divorces. I have never seen a case that did not involve adultery --¡ whether it be a case of giving oneself over to another person, or to another thing, such as alcohol, drugs, work, etc. One can surely put their spouse in a secondary position as a result of becoming infatuated, obsessed and/or controlled with/by another person; one can also surely put their spouse in a secondary position as a result of becoming infatuated, obsessed and/or controlled with/by power, wealth, addictions, careers, etc.

In the answer that was given the principle of economia ("the Church, in its concern for the salvation of its people") was being emphasized.”

http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q-and-A_OLD/Divorce-and-Remarriage-2.html
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« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2003, 12:09:37 PM »

Note the following from the OCA’s website, from the OCA’s Director of Communications, Fr. John Matusiak:

I have seen quite a number of couples seek divorces. I have never seen a case that did not involve adultery --¡ whether it be a case of giving oneself over to another person, or to another thing, such as alcohol, drugs, work, etc. One can surely put their spouse in a secondary position as a result of becoming infatuated, obsessed and/or controlled with/by another person; one can also surely put their spouse in a secondary position as a result of becoming infatuated, obsessed and/or controlled with/by power, wealth, addictions, careers, etc.

I don't agree with this. Adultery is NOT something as simple as "putting your spouse second".  Adultery is having a sexual relationship with another person. Period.

I think the GOA is being way too liberal here.

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« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2003, 04:42:13 PM »

NDHoosier:

It is my understanding that while one may have up to three chances at marriage, only the first is sacramental.  All others are concessions and are only a blessing to be faithful to one person, not a sacramental union (hence the absence of crowning, even if some priests do it anyway).

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« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2003, 04:51:53 PM »

NDHoosier:

It is my understanding that while one may have up to three chances at marriage, only the first is sacramental.  All others are concessions and are only a blessing to be faithful to one person, not a sacramental union (hence the absence of crowning, even if some priests do it anyway).

anastasios

In order for a Crowning to take place at a second or third Marriage Service, the blessing of the bishop is required and it must be the *first* marriage for one of the spouses.

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« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2003, 04:52:52 PM »

Quote
It is my understanding that while one may have up to three chances at marriage, only the first is sacramental.  All others are concessions and are only a blessing to be faithful to one person, not a sacramental union (hence the absence of crowning, even if some priests do it anyway).

I've read that before. But if they're not sacramental marriages, and if the first spouse is still alive, how is that different from approved concubinage?
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« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2003, 05:45:31 PM »

Serge,

The whole idea is that only the first marriage is a sacrament since a sacrament cannot be undone.  Since prohibiting a second marriage could then lead to fornication, etc., the Church sees fit to bless living with one partner, but does not hold this union up to the level of the first marriage as it is only a concession, and since the person is still technically married sacramentally to someone else.

That's why one has to technically undergo penance in order to enter the second marriage, because they are in effect sinning for having entered another union, but it is felt that at least they won't be out cruising the streets, etc., and at least they will have a chance to grow as Christians (and we are assuming that the divorce was not their fault--THEY were the ones cheated on; the cheater cannot enter another marriage I am told).

This is probably not the best answer.

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« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2003, 06:25:21 PM »

Also, I had read that it is only recognized as a sacramental marriage by the Church if it is performed by an Orthodox Priest.

Is that true?

I hope so, cause this is my second marriage. The first one was in a Methodist church and lasted 18 years.

This time I was married at St Sophia GOA and have a license from the GOA. Interestingly, on the license it says that this is my first marriage. Niki (my wife) had never been married before.
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« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2003, 10:25:50 PM »

anastasios,

Sorry, but - not knocking you - that sounds like the copout some Anglican priests give homosexuals (according to Dr Jeffrey John) - 'Well, if you can't be celibate, find somebody and don't be promiscuous.'

TomS,

Correct. Eastern Orthodox believe only an Eastern Orthodox priest can perform a sacramental marriage.
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« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2003, 01:15:52 PM »

"Eastern Orthodox believe only an Eastern Orthodox priest can perform a sacramental marriage."

Right.  But for converts who enter the Church, the previous non-Orthodox marriage is "sacramentalized" upon reception into the Orthodox Church if both spouses are converting.  If only one spouse is converting, I'm not sure what the position of the various jurisdictions is ... does anyone know?
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« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2003, 01:48:35 PM »

anastasios,

Sorry, but - not knocking you - that sounds like the copout some Anglican priests give homosexuals (according to Dr Jeffrey John) - 'Well, if you can't be celibate, find somebody and don't be promiscuous.'


Right, it does sometimes strike me too a bit as such but it also is a recognition that humans are fallen and that one can't always keep things in a tight framework--the difference between a man and a woman being given such a blessing and two men or two women is that the former act is not objectively sinful while the latter is, I think.  I'll try to pull out some writings on the issue if I can find the time, as others can probably phrase things better than I.

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« Reply #25 on: June 23, 2003, 06:32:31 PM »

I had a chance to speak with the priest, Father Philip, at the parish I've been attending about divorce and remarriage.  He started off by stating that the Orthodox Church views marriage as holy and a sacrament, and divorce is a sin.  While the church does allow for divorce and remarriage,  it is not an easy.  In order to be remarried in the Orthodox church, you must have an ecclesiastical divorce granted for the first marriage.  This involves permission from the bishop after a process of meeting with your priest or a tribunal.  Every effort to save the first marriage must be made.  If all attempts to reconcile were exhausted, then a divorce is usually granted.  Part of the remarriage ceremony is penitential in nature.  

Father Philip said that the goal of the church is leading people on the path of salvation.  He mentioned Paul's statement that it is better to marry than to burn.   The Church views remarriage as helping people to get back on the path to salvation after falling.  

He did say one thing that bothered me, though.  He said allowing divorce and remarriage is sometimes a "necessary evil."   I don't see how the Church can view any evil as necessary.

I did not get a chance to ask him why three marriages are allowed and no more.   Why not only two marriages?

I certainly understood that the Orthodox do not take divorce lightly.  Father Philip said that he had been a priest for 16 years before a couple he married were divorced.  He also said that he had read that of all religious bodies (Christian and non-Christian), the Orthodox Church had the lowest rate of divorce.

I realize that practically speaking, there aren't many divorces in the Orthodox church, but I'm still not sure I understand making "concessions" for divorce/remarriage.  I can't fathom being sacramentally married to one person while having a marriage blessed in the church to someone else.

Something in my brain/heart is not allowing me to accept this.  I really don't want this to be a stumbling block to entering the Orthodox Church.


Jenny
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« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2003, 10:48:17 PM »

Jenny,

You can't expect to agree with absolutely EVERYTHING that a church teaches.

I am a Southern Baptist convert to Orthoodoxy, and although I understand the Veneration of the Theotokos, I think that sometimes the words addressed to her border on Worship - which I have a problem accepting. Even now, I do not cross myself, like most Orthodox, when the Theotokos is mentioned in the Liturgy.

I believe that there are not many divorces in the Orthodox Church because when you go through the marriage ceremony, it is really impressed upon you that this IS a sacrament. A promise to GOD that you will treat this marriage with the honor, respect of a Sacrament. I will never forget the reverence of that ceremony. When the Priest blesses the both of us and says 3 times to each "The servant of GOD (name) is betrothed to the servant of GOD (name). In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit". When the Priest was doing that I was saying to myself "Whooo! This is SERIOUS"

In the Protestant marriage ceremony it is about promises made in and to the flesh.

When I got married I was not yet Orthodox, but the marriage ceremony was so beautiful and so sacred that that was a major pull toward my conversion.

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« Reply #27 on: June 24, 2003, 08:12:59 AM »

"I am a Southern Baptist convert to Orthoodoxy, and although I understand the Veneration of the Theotokos, I think that sometimes the words addressed to her border on Worship - which I have a problem accepting. Even now, I do not cross myself, like most Orthodox, when the Theotokos is mentioned in the Liturgy."

I believe that making the sign of the cross when St. Mary is mentioned is popular piety and not proper.  Just like when we receive Communion everyone crosses themselves but that is not proper, we are receving the Son so it makes no sense to invoke to Trinity.  So I wouldn't include that in stuff about Orthodoxy you cannot accept.  I would be very curious to hear examples of what words you object to.
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« Reply #28 on: June 24, 2003, 09:56:18 AM »

"I am a Southern Baptist convert to Orthoodoxy, and although I understand the Veneration of the Theotokos, I think that sometimes the words addressed to her border on Worship - which I have a problem accepting. Even now, I do not cross myself, like most Orthodox, when the Theotokos is mentioned in the Liturgy."

Just like when we receive Communion everyone crosses themselves but that is not proper, we are receving the Son so it makes no sense to invoke to Trinity.  

Yet the Trinity is undivided and one in substance.  Yes, we received the deified humanity of Christ in the Eucharist but since we are not Nestorians we immediately relate that to the divine reality.

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« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2003, 09:58:24 AM »

Tom,

I too get jittery every once and awhile at some of the devotions to the Theotokos but as long as I remember "this is in a secondary, mediatorial sense" it just jives.  I personally don't have a problem crossing myself and bowing at the "through the interecessions of the Theotokos" parts of the liturgy in that she is the Godbearer, but I understand and respect your not doing so, and don't think that makes you "less Orthodox."  You call her Theotokos and venerate her, that's good enough for me.

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« Reply #30 on: June 24, 2003, 10:02:32 AM »

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I believe that making the sign of the cross when St. Mary is mentioned is popular piety and not proper.

Right. As Bishop Kallistos (Ware) writes in The Orthodox Church, it's not set in stone when one must cross oneself in church - it's all immemorial custom and as the Spirit moves you, though there are times when, according to custom, almost everybody crosses themselves at the same time. All part of the wonderful balance between the exacting ritualism and the homey informality both found in the Orthodox tradition.

Quote
Just like when we receive Communion everyone crosses themselves but that is not proper, we are receving the Son so it makes no sense to invoke the Trinity.
 

I've never heard this objection before. ISTM God is God, and since the cross is a symbol of the Son (His death on the cross) as well as the Trinity, doing so before receiving makes sense to me.

I have read the objection from Canon Hugh Wybrew that, thanks to the Christological controversies in the early Church that shaped the Byzantine Rite, trinitarian invocations are stuck in places where they're not (to use that overused, very ’90s word) 'appropriate' (but not heretical, of course), such as in the doxology at the end of the Our Father, as it's a prayer addressed specifically to one Person.

Quote
So I wouldn't include that in stuff about Orthodoxy you cannot accept.  I would be very curious to hear examples of what words you object to.

I think at face value some traditional prayers, both Western Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, can easily be misconstrued by Protestants as mariolatrous - for example, 'Through the Mother of God have mercy on us' (there is one Mediator between God and man) and most especially 'Most holy Mother of God, save us' (she is not our saviour). Of course all approved traditional prayers are orthodox but they must be understood in the larger context of our theology; IOW, they require some ’splaining.

I'd be interested to hear your examples too, TomS, not to criticize you, but so the learned here can better explain to us both what they really mean.
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« Reply #31 on: June 24, 2003, 10:25:16 AM »

I'd be interested to hear your examples too, TomS, not to criticize you, but so the learned here can better explain to us both what they really mean.

Of course. I will look tonight when I get home.

I read something in one of the prayer services the other night that I had to go back and reread, cause it was so surprising. I hope I can remember where it was!
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« Reply #32 on: June 24, 2003, 10:59:15 AM »

I do not believe disagreeing with the Church is a good policy. Even if we think we are in the right and our "reason" tells us so. The Church is here to save our souls and in order to do so, we must be entirely obedient. Perhaps that doesn't jive with what the world today believes, but the world cannot save you.

In the Orthodox Veneration of Mary, St. John Maximovitch has a great story about a western convert who didn't believe the tradition of the Dormition of the Theotokos, especially the part about the Apostles being brought together on clouds, but he was made to believe because of the simplicity of Russian nuns with whom he spoke.

The lesson of the story is that we are to become like children and accept everything the Church teaches, and if we see contradiction, we should look in ourselves before we blame the Church. If we truly believe the Church is the divine institution--the very portal of heaven established by Jesus Christ--then we should not be so little in faith as to question her traditions that have been passed down from the Apostles. This is especially true with people who read the Bible outside of the context of the Church.

Of course, I believe it is important to question Church leaders who are clearly in violation of her tradition (i.e. the Phoenix RC bishop case, etc.), but not her venerable traditions. I know I struggle with things at times, but in the end there is only life in the Trinity.
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« Reply #33 on: June 24, 2003, 11:27:44 AM »

Frobisher,

Christians have always disagreed about what the Church teaching IS, not just disagreeing with what "everyone knows" to be THE Church teaching, and there are often several strains of thought that are acceptable since Orthodoxy doesn't overdogmatize.

If we just fall into the simplicity idea put forth by St. John Maximovitch we are liable to become rote religionists and not accept Orthodoxy for ourselves as an organic part of our being.

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« Reply #34 on: June 24, 2003, 11:28:24 AM »

The role of the Theotokos is paramount to our common Christian faith.

Remember, it was through the Theotokos that the Word became flesh. As such, the Mother of God plays a unique role in the salvation of mankind.

Often times Orthodox cross themselves after each petition in a litany. Just because we don't invoke the trinity at each petition doesn't mean crossing oneself isn't a valid expression of belief or faith.

As you grow in faith, you will see the brilliance, the beauty, and the importance that our most holy mother of God plays in our lives. She is not only the Mother of God, but also our Mother here on Earth. She is worthy of veneration and honor as such, after all she is closest to her Son, our God.

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« Reply #35 on: June 24, 2003, 02:41:48 PM »



Yet the Trinity is undivided and one in substance.  Yes, we received the deified humanity of Christ in the Eucharist but since we are not Nestorians we immediately relate that to the divine reality.

anastasios

I was just picking a random example of somthing that everyone does, but which isn't called for by the rubrics.  Maybe it is in other traditions, but it isn't in mine at least.  I wasn't trying to say it's horrible, unimaginable, sinful, stupid, or anything else like that to do it, just that when we're bothered by some practice, we should distinguish between what is Orthodox, and what is popular running in parallel, because one we must accept, and the other we don't need to.  Basically the point I was trying to make (although clearly failed to), is that if you don't cross yourself at these times, it's not not accepting something about the Church, it's just not doing a popular practice which is in no way binding.  So it should be left out of a consideration of "can I accept everything about the Church".
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« Reply #36 on: June 24, 2003, 02:55:07 PM »

Jonathan,

Thanks for the clarification; it makes sense.

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« Reply #37 on: June 24, 2003, 04:26:09 PM »


I was just picking a random example of somthing that everyone does, but which isn't called for by the rubrics

AFAIK "crossing" oneself is not called at all "by the rubrics."
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« Reply #38 on: June 24, 2003, 04:38:16 PM »

Strange, Bp Tikhon sent me a three page email telling me when "the rubrics" call for crossing oneself.  I will have to dig it out and see if he specifies what "the rubrics" are.

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« Reply #39 on: June 24, 2003, 04:41:34 PM »

I will like to see that when you find it.  I would almost bet money rubrics = custom.
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« Reply #40 on: June 24, 2003, 04:42:30 PM »


I was just picking a random example of somthing that everyone does, but which isn't called for by the rubrics

AFAIK "crossing" oneself is not called at all "by the rubrics."

Ok, maybe I picked the wrong word, do you know what I meant though?

Maybe a better example, I don't know how other Churches do it, but when we receive Communion we immediately place a cloth over our mouths and keep it there until we're finished.  The reason for this is that it dates back to the time when we received in the hand and the priest placed the Body in the cloth which would then be raised to the mouth.  Apparently some people have found this weird & not wanted to do it... people will then run at you and yell at you to do it because it's the popular piety and everyone thinks you have to do it, but you don't, you're in no way less Orthodox if you don't do it, it's just a practice that has run in parallel to the Church, but it's not in itself Orthodox, it's just something people do that is not necessary.  If we reject addon's like this, it's ok, and we shouldn't consider them in a consideration of can I accept everything the Church teaches unless we have a problem with other people doing them.
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« Reply #41 on: June 24, 2003, 08:12:36 PM »

Anastasios, I would be interested in seeing those rubrics myself.  I could use help in that area.  Bishop Tikhon is my bishop, and he does *know* the rubrics.  I miss reading his posts on the Indiana List and Orthodox Forum (on yahoo groups) a lot, but my priest doesn't want me on those two lists.  I was really surprised when I met him a couple of years ago in Billings, MT, when he came for the weekend for the parish's patronal feast day.  He is very quiet and seems a little shy.
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« Reply #42 on: June 24, 2003, 10:46:26 PM »

Anastasios, I would be interested in seeing those rubrics myself.  I could use help in that area.  Bishop Tikhon is my bishop, and he does *know* the rubrics.  I miss reading his posts on the Indiana List and Orthodox Forum (on yahoo groups) a lot, but my priest doesn't want me on those two lists.  I was really surprised when I met him a couple of years ago in Billings, MT, when he came for the weekend for the parish's patronal feast day.  He is very quiet and seems a little shy.  

He might come across that way in person, Katherine, but on the Internet, Vladyka TIKHON has a vast other diocese in cyberspace where he freely speaks his mind, no holds barred!  Grin

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« Reply #43 on: June 24, 2003, 11:00:14 PM »

Hypno-Ortho,

Now you know why I was so surprised when I met Bishop Tikhon in person.  I know he is not like that on the internet.  I think the main reason Fr. would prefer that I stay off Indiana List and Orthodox Forums is because they are so contentious and I am an intense and passionate person so he thinks it's better for me to avoid those lists.  I have to admit that I have fallen a few times and read them anyway.   Then I have to take that to confession.

I always learned a lot reading Vladyka's posts, and I have to admit that his rebukes are deserved, though I'm glad that one of those has never been aimed at me!
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« Reply #44 on: June 24, 2003, 11:10:31 PM »

Hypno-Ortho,

Now you know why I was so surprised when I met Bishop Tikhon in person.  I know he is not like that on the internet.  I think the main reason Fr. would prefer that I stay off Indiana List and Orthodox Forums is because they are so contentious and I am an intense and passionate person so he thinks it's better for me to avoid those lists.  I have to admit that I have fallen a few times and read them anyway.   Then I have to take that to confession.

I always learned a lot reading Vladyka's posts, and I have to admit that his rebukes are deserved, though I'm glad that one of those has never been aimed at me!


OTOH, it's great when he stands behind you if you're unfairly "cyber-mob" attacked.  He did this for me once, and I remain in His Grace's debt for his fairness.

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« Reply #45 on: June 25, 2003, 11:01:41 AM »

Strange, Bp Tikhon sent me a three page email telling me when "the rubrics" call for crossing oneself.  I will have to dig it out and see if he specifies what "the rubrics" are.

anastasios

anastasios,

It would be interesting to know what these "rubrics" are taken from.  Just to be clear, rubrics are AFAIK the indications within the liturgical texts (set apart by color, type size or placement) for actions of the celebrant/con-celebrants, reader and choir; sometimes they are in a prologue location, I suppose any such ritual indication from the Typikon would also be a rubric which is where I expect anythink like this would be.  

In almost all of the books I have seen indications for the peoples' actions (meaning non-choir/reader) are absent.  Even in collections such as the numerous Zborniki out there which contain the divine liturgy, most (even the GC ones) don't have any signal when to cross oneself or bow or kneel or otherwise -- and these are without a doubt for the people as they do not contain the priest's "private prayers."  

I posted this question on two lists I participate in and have received a few replies, one referred me to the Jordanville Prayerbook and another to the "Abridged Typikon" but both of these are problematic.  The Abridged Typikon seems to be from an Ukaz from the Moscow Patriarchate and does not reflect the actual Slavonic (Synodal) Typikon and the instructions in the Jordanville Prayerbook are even more problematic according to the information I have received.  

Even the private prayerbooks in use today that I have seen (and I have seen tons lately) do not have much indication other than about washing ones face before praying on arising and about the sign of the cross over the bed and kissing the cross on going to sleep.  I admit my ignorance about Greek usage so I queried a member of the GOA about this, he says the Greek books don't have any rubrics for the people and that private prayerbooks may but he does not think so.  Of course, "pew books" may have some indications, these could be called rubrics but I wont call them that just yet.  

One thing for sure, the Old Believers' books (whatever they may be) most surely would have true rubrics for the people and, by our standarsd, complex and demanding ones.

Tony

PS:  An exception is that there are definitely rubrics for the people in the pre-sanctified, in the Slavonic books it says that the people in the church kneel and stand alternately at the "Da ispravitsya/Let my prayer arise," while it is certainly custom to kneel or prostrate I can't find the same rubric or another rubric for the people for the "Nyne sily/Now the powers."  Can someone else?
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« Reply #46 on: July 06, 2003, 11:08:09 PM »

Jenny,

Quote
I understand that there is a lot of temptation in living alone, and Paul says that it is better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Cor 7:9), but what about our Lord's statement: "Whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."  If the Church allows a person to divorce and remarry for reasons other than unchastity, then wouldn't the person be living an adulterous life?

i)  Taking for granted that our Lord's saying on divorce was as absolutist as say, the Roman Catholics interpret it, it's obvious the Church was practicing leniency in this matter early on - for there is no other way of explaining St.Paul's recommendation of economy in this matter (the so called "Pauline privilege.")  There is nothing inherent to our Lord's command, that allows for the "Pauline privilege" - certainly St.Paul himself would have viewed use of the privilege to be far less than the ideal laid out by the Saviour Himself.  Yet, out of condescension, it is allowed.  Viewing the matter this way, the "economy" allowed by the Orthodox Church throughout the ages is not a scandal, since it is something with roots in the ministry of the Apostles themselves.

ii) While Roman Catholics will often polemically beat Orthodox Christians over the head for their "laxity" on the divorce issue, it's worth pointing out that all "ancient churches" (Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, etc.) practice various forms of "economy" on different subjects.  For example, I can say quite certainly that the RCC accepts in most cases penances for grave offences which many ancient Christian pastors would have considered outright scandalous.  However, it comes down to the question of just how much the Church can tolerate, if the choice is between losing a soul to the world, or keeping them in the Church but allowing what is certainly below the ideal.  The answer, depending on the subject, differs between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.  Given this, finger pointing is really out of the question.

iii) A worthwhile study is the relationship between the Mosaic "allowance" for divorce and remarriage, and the Christian "hardline" on the subject - a comparison of Deuteronomy 24, and St.Matthew 19.  The two are actually not as far apart as some may think.  For example, the Torah only strictly allowed for divorce in the case of the husband finding something "idencent" (hebrew - ervah) in his wife after their marriage was consumated.  This is probably the word "porneia" (used in the Greek of St.Matthew 19:9) was intended to translate.  The issue between our Lord and the Pharisees, was actually in part a dispute which was already going on in Judaism at the time.  The more lax school of thought (embodied by the Pharisees, and which eventually won out and became normative in what we now know as "Orthodox Judaism") basically says that if a husband is displeased with his wife, he can write her a bill of divorce and send her off.  This is a very loose (and quite disingenous) interpretation of ervah, which clearly refers to "indencency" involving sexuality (since it has it's etymological roots in the idea of "nakedness"...and in Hebrew, to speak of someone seeing another's "nakedness" was euphemistic for sexual relations of some kind).  OTOH, were more strict Jewish jurists, who understood "ervah" the way our Saviour taught - to refer to some kind of sexual indescretion, and this being the only just allowance for a divorce.  Even the idea that the woman is made somehow impure by a divorce is not new to our Lord - in Deuteronomy 24:4, it says quite clearly that a man who divorces a woman cannot take her back after she's remarried, because she has become "defiled" (hebrew - taw-may).  So our Lord was not teaching anything new, per se.  The Tanakh (the Bible accepted by the Jews) itself says quite plainly that God "hates" divorce, which obviously means it's allowance (even without taking our Lord's saying on the subject into consideration) is purely a condescension to human weakness.

What has changed in the Christian context, is simply how "acceptable" this allowance for remarriage (which exists because of the "hardness of hearts") is.  Christ robs us of any illusions that divorce is "ok", the simple breaking of a legal contract, that women are chattle that can be dismissed when we get sick of them.

What I would like to ask Catholics who have a problem with the Orthodox Church's allowance for ecclessiastical divorce and remarriage, is whether "hardness of heart" has disappeared?  Just because we call ourselves Christians, does it mean that such no longer exists?

Tom S,

Quote
I am a Southern Baptist convert to Orthoodoxy, and although I understand the Veneration of the Theotokos, I think that sometimes the words addressed to her border on Worship - which I have a problem accepting. Even now, I do not cross myself, like most Orthodox, when the Theotokos is mentioned in the Liturgy.

To borrow a saying from a Roman Catholic saint (I believe it was Louise de Montfort), "you cannot honour or love our Lady too much, for no honour or devotion you can show her will ever come close to that showered upon her by our Lord Jesus Christ" (I'm sure that's paraphrased, but it makes the same point.)

None of the Saints is revered just because we think they're "swell" - Orthodoxy is not some quasi-polytheistic cult, with a "supreme god" and plenty of lesser divinities of varying powers.  Rather, we venerate the Saints, because they are tabernacles of God - their relics are divinized, their souls radiating the uncreated energies of God.  The Saints are Saints, because they bear God.  "God is glorified in His Saints" as the saying goes.

The Mother of God enjoys a type of veneration then, which is incomparable even to that of other great Saints.  Indeed, to a great extent Old Testament archetypes which can viewed as symbolical of the sacred humanity of our Lord, are just as apt types of the Blessed Virgin - whether it be the Temple/Tabernacle of the Israelites, or most particularly, the Ark of the Covenant.  These physical objects were supremely reverenced by the Israelites, with the understanding they were unique bearers of the Divine Presence, the glory of God, known in Hebrew as "shekinah".  If anything, the intimacy which the Blessed Virgin enjoys with God, is incomparably closer "to the source" than either of these physical edifaces ever was.  Thus, far more worthy is She of our veneration and love.

Simply put, one cannot love and venerate the Holy Mother, and not glorify God at the same time.  It's simply impossible.  The only way to do such, would be to cease to venerate the Virgin, but some other being under the guise of our Lady (as some neo-pagans do, when they co-opt the image of the Blessed Virgin, but blaspheme it by using it as a guise by which they can worship their "goddess").  On the other hand, one cannot venerate the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, the chosen vessel of our salvation, the Mother of all believers, the historical, real, Blessed Virgin, and err with "too much" love and devotion...unless you can laud Her with something better than the honours and titles God Almighty has bestowed on Her.

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« Reply #47 on: May 03, 2007, 01:00:43 PM »

I know, I know, what an issue to start my interaction here on.  Roll Eyes Smiley

I suppose I should add first that if this is the wrong forum for such a discussion I am sorry and ask the staff to kindly direct me in the appropriate placement of such. I ain't sure where diverse theologies are s'poused to transpire.

At any rate I am not looking so much for debate as I am discussion. I am curious what the Orthodox understanding of Christian teaching is in regards to divorce, etc.

Here is a snippet of my understanding and interpretation of the NT on such issues:


I think divorce, generally speaking, is wrong. It is never prescribed by God. But it is permitted in some cases. Jesus teaches us that one may divorce because of infidelity to the marriage.

Paul (in Corinthians 7) lays down the principle that when an unbelieving spouse does not wish to dwell (i.e. remain married and/or perhaps more broadly to live together peacefully) with their spouse then a believer is permitted to divorce in such cases. To me that principle covers several scenarios (i.e. physical or sexual abuse, abandonment, etc.).

However, there is nothing explicit in Scripture ever permitting remarriage after divorce except in the case of death of one's spouse OR  (of consequence) if one is in a civil union with someone who has wrongly divorced and married again outside of Biblical sanction.

The only passage that even suggests remarriage is possible following a divorce from a legitimate marriage is the exception clause by Jesus in Matthew. There can be a strong argument made that Christ is implicitly permitting both divorce and remarriage in such cases. But again, it is not explicit. And the rest of NT Scripture fails to confirm the notion (IMO). So, I personally believe divorce is permitted in some cases from a valid marriage -- but remarriage is not permitted so long as one's spouse is living.

What do you think?

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« Reply #48 on: May 03, 2007, 01:04:37 PM »

I'll leave it to the Orthodox to explain their position of allowing divorce and remarriage up to three times, but your position is quite close to the Catholic position---separation can be justified, but re-marriage is not possible so long as the spouse lives.
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« Reply #49 on: May 03, 2007, 01:14:48 PM »

There have been many threads on this topic over the years. Perhaps you can do a search and read some of them?

For now, here's part of an article by Fr. Ted Stylianopoulos. It covers the basics of the Orthodox position. Much more could be said, most especially that the Church's primary concern is the salvation of everyone, including people whose marriages have fallen apart. Thus, our canonical tradition is applied by the Bishop on a case by case basis with this in mind.

Quote
The Orthodox Church views marriage as a holy union between a man and a woman that is established and blessed by God. Marriage therefore is 'a bond of a covenant that may not be broken,' according to the words of the sacrament. And yet the Church, for certain grave reasons, permits divorce and remarriage. This seemingly paradoxical position arises out of, on the one hand, respect for biblical teaching and, on the other, compassionate concern for human weakness.

The authority for the unbreakable character of marriage is Christ himself. In Mark 10:6-8, Jesus rejects divorce allowed by the Mosaic Law (Dt 24-14) and appeals to God's order of creation: 'God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh' (Gn 1:27; 2:24). Then he commands: 'What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder' (Mk 10:9). The same teaching is found among the radical standards of conduct proclaimed in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:31-33). These principles are intended for all those who accept Christ's saving message and commit themselves to live by the reality of God's kingdom revealed by Christ.

The Orthodox tradition has always fostered the ideal of the permanency of marriage on the basis of Christ's teaching. For example, the great Church Father, John Chrysostom (fourth century), writes, 'Both by the manner of creation and by the manner of [new] lawgiving, Christ showed that one man must dwell with one woman continually and never break off from her.' In his book 'Against Remarriage,' Chrysostom goes as far as to counsel widows and widowers themselves not to remarry but to remain faithful to their deceased spouses and honor their memory.

However, because of human frailty, not all people can uphold the ideal of the permanency of marriage. And the radical principles of the Sermon on the Mount must ultimately be interpreted in the light of the Gospel, not law. In cases of moral failure, the Gospel requires that we respond to people with compassion and forgiveness, not judgment and condemnation. According to the Gospel of Matthew, divorce can occur for reasons of 'unchastity' (porneia, literally 'fornication'), probably referring to sexual misconduct (Mt 5:32; 19:9). Similarly, though St. Paul mentions the standard of Christ's strict teaching about marriage, nevertheless he accommodates his pastoral instructions to human weakness, including the possibility of separation and divorce (1 Cor 7:10-15). In this spirit, the Orthodox Church has developed the principle of 'economy' (oikonomia, meaning 'flexibility'), by which it permits divorce and subsequent remarriage. But it does so only in the context of individual pastoral guidance, and for grave reasons such as abandonment, permanent insanity, adultery, forcing the spouse into prostitution, or endangering the life of the spouse. In such cases, it is not that the Church 'dissolves' a marriage by granting a divorce, but rather that the Church officially acknowledges and certifies that a marriage has already tragically failed. The Church acts by God's mercy to recognize the failed marriage and to allow the possibility of another in order to forestall worse moral consequences.
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« Reply #50 on: May 03, 2007, 01:28:30 PM »

There have been many threads on this topic over the years. Perhaps you can do a search and read some of them?

For now, here's part of an article by Fr. Ted Stylianopoulos. It covers the basics of the Orthodox position. Much more could be said, most especially that the Church's primary concern is the salvation of everyone, including people whose marriages have fallen apart. Thus, our canonical tradition is applied by the Bishop on a case by case basis with this in mind.



I suppose a search would be good. But then it kind of takes away from the fun if fresh interaction and actual dialog (especially for someone with no foreknowledge of your position, such as I) is intended.  Wink Cheesy

Thank you for the quote. And as to the intent of looking after the welfare and salvation of every once concerned, I whole heartedly agree with that.
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« Reply #51 on: May 03, 2007, 01:37:52 PM »

I'll leave it to the Orthodox to explain their position of allowing divorce and remarriage up to three times, but your position is quite close to the Catholic position---separation can be justified, but re-marriage is not possible so long as the spouse lives.

Meaning, in the Catholic Church one needs to get an annulment if one's spouse is living.
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« Reply #52 on: May 03, 2007, 03:16:26 PM »

I think divorce, generally speaking, is wrong. It is never prescribed by God.

Read Deuteronomy 24, and I think you may find your latter statement doesn't stand up.
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« Reply #53 on: May 03, 2007, 04:29:44 PM »

I think divorce, generally speaking, is wrong. It is never prescribed by God. But it is permitted in some cases. Jesus teaches us that one may divorce because of infidelity to the marriage.

Check out the Gospels according to St. Mark 10:10-11 and St. Matthew 19:9.  Christ himself gives the conditions for divorce and when it is acceptable.  It is clearly not a carte blanche endorsement for whatever reason like society tells us divorce can/should be.
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« Reply #54 on: May 03, 2007, 04:53:49 PM »

Read Deuteronomy 24, and I think you may find your latter statement doesn't stand up.

How so? God permitted divorce ... but He did not prescribe it. Did he?
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« Reply #55 on: May 04, 2007, 12:06:35 PM »

How so? God permitted divorce ... but He did not prescribe it. Did he?

I guess I don't see the importance of the distinction.  Does God permit evil?  That's what you should ask.
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« Reply #56 on: May 23, 2007, 12:44:05 AM »

How so? God permitted divorce ... but He did not prescribe it. Did he?

 Hi Cleopas,

 To permit something is to allow it; to prescribe something is to lay down a rule, to dictate, or to lay down as a guide, direction, or rule of action. God wouldn't go about telling us how to do something correctly (prescribing) if He didn't allow it in the first place (permitting).

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« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2007, 10:31:46 PM »

Recently I have come across a few mentions (most recently by a commentator on Ancient Faith Radio) of the verse in the Gospel according to St. Matthew where Jesus says "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."  I know that many western Christians view this as meaning that the "marriage contract" is broken at physical death, freeing the remaining partner to marry again without worry.  I was surprised, though, to hear a form of this view coming from an Orthodox source.  I have always understood the Orthodox teaching on marriage and the afterlife to be (from Fr Thomas Hopko):

Quote
So, for those who love truly, the savior and accomplisher of their love is Christ. He gives every virtue and every fruit of the Spirit. He allows them to grow ever more perfectly one. He allows them to live and to love for eternity in the Kingdom of God. A marriage in Christ does not end in sin; it does not part in death. It is fulfilled and perfected in the Kingdom of heaven.

Similarly, Bishop Kallistos (Ware), from an essay about the Orthodox view of death and the future life:

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There is a Russian lady in the Orthodox community at Oxford who strongly objects to being called a widow.  Although her husband died many years ago, she insists: "I am his wife, not his widow."  She is right.

My understanding is that the toleration of remarriage for widows is a concession to our fallen nature.  I have also read that the Church did not even bless second marriages at all until around the 10th century.  Is it correct to think of marriage as something intended to be eternal (though not necessarily in its earthly form), while second and third marriages are earthly concessions?
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« Reply #58 on: August 15, 2007, 03:09:48 PM »

My understanding is that the toleration of remarriage for widows is a concession to our fallen nature.  I have also read that the Church did not even bless second marriages at all until around the 10th century.  Is it correct to think of marriage as something intended to be eternal (though not necessarily in its earthly form), while second and third marriages are earthly concessions?

This is the way I have understood it as well.  However, I am definitely not an expert. 

There is a parable about this in scripture...but i'm having problems finding it.  If someone can help out that would be great. 

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« Reply #59 on: December 03, 2007, 12:59:09 PM »

I'm resurrecting this thread due to the recent interest in the question of marriage in the afterlife. Please read this thread carefully before posting, as many of your questions may have already been answered. Also, please use this existing thread for discussion of this issue rather than creating new ones. Thank you.

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« Reply #60 on: November 30, 2010, 06:23:16 PM »

...it's obvious the Church was practicing leniency in this matter early on - for there is no other way of explaining St.Paul's recommendation of economy in this matter (the so called "Pauline privilege.")
From a historical point of view, is there any documentation showing that in early times, the Orthodox (or Eastern part of the Catholic Church) allowed divorce for serious reasons and Rome did not object. I am thinking of documentation which would go back more than 1000 years, such as declarations from the Fathers, or early decisions of the local Churches, etc.
Thanks a lot.
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« Reply #61 on: November 30, 2010, 07:42:57 PM »

...it's obvious the Church was practicing leniency in this matter early on - for there is no other way of explaining St.Paul's recommendation of economy in this matter (the so called "Pauline privilege.")
From a historical point of view, is there any documentation showing that in early times, the Orthodox (or Eastern part of the Catholic Church) allowed divorce for serious reasons and Rome did not object. I am thinking of documentation which would go back more than 1000 years, such as declarations from the Fathers, or early decisions of the local Churches, etc.
Thanks a lot.

St. Vladimir divorced all his wives (as opposed to keeping the first, which is the practice the Vatican has mandated at least since Trent) to marry the Emperor's sister. I don't recall any objection at all. Eupraxia of Kiev divorced the Emperor Henry with Pope Urban's approval, but that is only 900 years ago.

Other, earlier material exists, but I'd have to go dredge it up.  Besides council decisions, etc. you would have to look at divorces of the upper clases: lower class divorces are documented in papyri etc., but nothing that Rome would comment on.
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« Reply #62 on: November 30, 2010, 09:01:23 PM »

...it's obvious the Church was practicing leniency in this matter early on - for there is no other way of explaining St.Paul's recommendation of economy in this matter (the so called "Pauline privilege.")
From a historical point of view, is there any documentation showing that in early times, the Orthodox (or Eastern part of the Catholic Church) allowed divorce for serious reasons and Rome did not object. I am thinking of documentation which would go back more than 1000 years, such as declarations from the Fathers, or early decisions of the local Churches, etc.
Thanks a lot.

St. Vladimir divorced all his wives (as opposed to keeping the first, which is the practice the Vatican has mandated at least since Trent) to marry the Emperor's sister. I don't recall any objection at all. Eupraxia of Kiev divorced the Emperor Henry with Pope Urban's approval, but that is only 900 years ago.

Other, earlier material exists, but I'd have to go dredge it up.  Besides council decisions, etc. you would have to look at divorces of the upper clases: lower class divorces are documented in papyri etc., but nothing that Rome would comment on.
Thank you kindly, Isa, for this. I'll look up the references you have given. In the meantime, I found this:
according to St. Epiphanius of Cyprus (d403) , “He who cannot keep continence after the death of his first wife, or who has separated from his wife for a valid motive, as fornication, adultery, or another misdeed, if he takes another wife, or if the wife takes another husband, the divine word does not condemn him nor exclude him from the Church or the life; but she tolerates it rather on account of his weakness” (Against Heresies).
I am looking for more documentation along the lines of what was declared by St. Epiphanius. In the meantime,
Do you have a link handy for the case where Eupraxia of Kiev divorced the Emperor Henry with Pope Urban's approval?

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