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Author Topic: OCA weddings  (Read 2845 times) Average Rating: 0
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chrissy9120
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« on: June 21, 2008, 09:23:35 PM »

Hi everyone!   Smiley

Can anyone give me a description of what an OCA wedding looks like (maybe a description of a service, special symbols/traditions that are done before, during, and after the ceremony, etc.)?  How similar is it to a typical American wedding?  For example, is there a wedding party?

The only idea I have in my head comes from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but that was a Greek Orthodox wedding.  I have searched YouTube but I haven't been able to find any video clips. 

Thank you in advance!
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2008, 10:27:31 PM »

Hi Chrissy, and welcome to the forum!  Try searching for the term "wedding" here; we've had a few different things on weddings.  Here's one video on YouTube from an OCA church, but it's a little out of order:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKsd6bQechE.  The best resource, I think, is John Meyendorff's Marriage: An Orthodox Perspective.  The book has a copy of the marriage service in the back, if I recall, and it explains each part's significance.

My husband (YtterbiumAnalyst) and I were just married last April in an OCA parish.  It's nothing at all like the typical American wedding, in my opinion.  Smiley  There can be a wedding party, though we opted to have only one bridesmaid and one groomsman.  We decided to have a more traditionally Orthodox wedding, though our priest offered to have my dad walk me through the narthex (sort of a walking down the aisle alternative).  Since I'd never seen an Orthodox wedding until then, I wanted it to be more traditional than trying to put our own spin on it.

The wedding in MBFGW was interesting... I'm not sure if that's typical of Greek weddings, though.  I thought it looked a little Hollywood-ized, so I wouldn't trust it to be accurate.  Tongue

It's getting a little late for me, but I'll post more details about our wedding tomorrow, if you like.  Definitely check out Meyendorff's book, though.  It will answer most of your questions.  Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2008, 11:00:40 PM »


The wedding in MBFGW was interesting... I'm not sure if that's typical of Greek weddings, though.  I thought it looked a little Hollywood-ized, so I wouldn't trust it to be accurate.  Tongue

I have been to many Greek weddings. The movie was accurate. My sister married a Greek and her wedding party was huge with a long table (like the movie). Three to four hundred people in attendance is the average wedding size. And my sister's father-in-law gave them a piece of property as a wedding gift.
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2008, 11:05:01 PM »

This is a great time of year to actually see one being done, most parishes seem to have a wedding every week in July. I am sure if you asked the priest from the local OCA parish when his next wedding is he would be happy to let you know and let you come and watch.
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2008, 11:36:05 PM »

I am going to an OCA wedding tomorrow!

Anyways, in comparison to the Greek wedding in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (we have to start somewhere!), an OCA wedding would best be described as smaller, quieter, and more traditional.  There is no organ music, no wedding procession like you have in the West.  The wedding begins in the back of the Church with prayers, and then moves to the middle without much ceremony.  OCA weddings, as per Russian tradition, normally use actual crowns instead of flower wreathes for the crowning of the bride and groom.  At all of the OCA weddings I have been to there was just a best man and maid of honour, no other attendants.  The only other differences I can think of are just differences between the OCA and the Greek church in general...

Also, weddings in the OCA would differ from a normal American wedding in that the couple really doesn't get to decide much of anything in the service, it is all pretty standard. There are no wedding vows like you have in the West, which is because of differences in the theology of marriage between the Orthodox Church and other churches.
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2008, 02:45:50 AM »


The wedding in MBFGW was interesting... I'm not sure if that's typical of Greek weddings, though.  I thought it looked a little Hollywood-ized, so I wouldn't trust it to be accurate.  Tongue


And the wedding in 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' was in a Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Toronto, ON.  Betcha didn't know that Jeopardy question and answer? 
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2008, 05:05:43 AM »

I hope this question isn't considered off topic, but I've wondered; does anyone know why the Slavic Orthodox service (and Antiochian) has formal questions of the Bride and Groom during the service, "Do you of a free will and unconstrained spirit, take unto thyself...?"  The Greek practice typically doesn't have the question; one of the service translations does have the traditional American marriage service question, "Do you ____ take this women ____ to be your, etc."  The question is not typically used in Greek practice, though it exists in the Greek language service book.  When it is used, it is at the beginning of the Betrothal Service, before "Blessed is our God..."
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2008, 09:25:17 AM »

And the wedding in 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' was in a Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Toronto, ON.  Betcha didn't know that Jeopardy question and answer? 

And I read somewhere that the exterior of the church shown on the movie is yet a different church- a Russian Orthodox Church in Toronto, ON.  Smiley

Also, re. the OP, all the weddings I have attended begin with the Betrothal service with the rings (actually, if I understand correctly, the rings the bride and groom wear are bethrothal rings, not wedding rings), at the back of the church. The couple are then lead up to the centre of the church for the crowning ceremony. The couple's hands are bound together at some point with a scarf by the priest and they are led around in a circle with the priest  and their attendants in the rear holding the crowns aloft over the couple's heads. The couple share wine from a common cup.  It's such a beautiful service.
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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2008, 12:47:53 PM »

And I read somewhere that the exterior of the church shown on the movie is yet a different church- a Russian Orthodox Church in Toronto, ON.  Smiley

LoL!  I remember the first time I walked up to the parish, I was thinking, why does this look so familiar.   laugh
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« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2008, 03:47:45 PM »

I hope this question isn't considered off topic, but I've wondered; does anyone know why the Slavic Orthodox service (and Antiochian) has formal questions of the Bride and Groom during the service, "Do you of a free will and unconstrained spirit, take unto thyself...?"  The Greek practice typically doesn't have the question; one of the service translations does have the traditional American marriage service question, "Do you ____ take this women ____ to be your, etc."  The question is not typically used in Greek practice, though it exists in the Greek language service book.  When it is used, it is at the beginning of the Betrothal Service, before "Blessed is our God..."

Maybe just a difference in small tradition. 
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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2008, 08:57:20 PM »

The question  Do you have a good an unconstrained will..... as found in the Slavic books (and Antiochian in North American who's services, especially occasional services are influenced by St. Vladimir's seminary) seems to be a Catholic influence which infiltrated the Russian Church in the 16th century.

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« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2008, 09:52:30 PM »

Quote
I hope this question isn't considered off topic, but I've wondered; does anyone know why the Slavic Orthodox service (and Antiochian) has formal questions of the Bride and Groom during the service, "Do you of a free will and unconstrained spirit, take unto thyself...?"  The Greek practice typically doesn't have the question; one of the service translations does have the traditional American marriage service question, "Do you ____ take this women ____ to be your, etc."  The question is not typically used in Greek practice, though it exists in the Greek language service book.  When it is used, it is at the beginning of the Betrothal Service, before "Blessed is our God..."

It was Metropolitan Petro Mohyla of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church who first introuduced these questions in his famous Trebnyk of 1646 which is the 17th century.  Later when the Ukrainian Church was forced to become part of the Russian Church, this tradition was then introduced into wedding services in Russia as well and from Russia to the OCA.
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« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2008, 11:46:42 PM »

The couple's hands are bound together at some point with a scarf by the priest...
I think you may be talking about the priest's stole.
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« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2008, 11:50:11 PM »

I think you may be talking about the priest's stole.
At the OCA wedding I was at on Sunday and at the other ones I have been to, the priest does bind the couples' hands with a scarf, and then leads them with his epitrachilion in the procession as the choir sings "Rejoice O Isaiah". 

Another difference between an Orthodox wedding and a more common American wedding that I don't think has been mentioned yet: The couple doesn't put the rings on themselves, the priest does it for them.  Also, there isn't actually a part in the wedding service where the couple is supposed to kiss, though this is often added in because of the influence of American culture. 
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