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Author Topic: Orthodox wedding with Roman Catholic bride (questions)  (Read 9305 times) Average Rating: 0
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ProdigalSon
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« on: February 09, 2010, 11:16:57 PM »

Hello everyone,

I recently became engaged and am planning a wedding. The problem is that my fiancee's family is Roman Catholic and so is pretty much her entire extended family (Irish). She has agreed to an Orthodox wedding, but we need to pick out a church and work through the various associated issues.

Here are a few of my initial questions. If anyone can help answer them in any way, it would be greatly appreciated. I'm sure new questions will emerge, these are just the initial ones that have occurred to me.

1. What Orthodox church?

We live in Pittsburgh and want to marry in the city or in the surrounding 10 miles or so.  My home parish is thus ruled out. This is a necessary compromise as the reception is in Pittsburgh and large numbers of people will be out-of-towners, so we really want to keep it in or around the city. The cathedral in Allison Park for example is about the farthest distance we would like to consider.

Are there any issues I should know about before I start visiting churches and asking the parish priest about availability?

I was thinking about the fact that my home parish is OCA. Does that rule out for some reason non-OCA parishes?


2. How about Greek Catholic/Byzantine Rite churches?

Pittsburgh has a fair amount of Byzantine Rite churches, and I was curious as to whether it is acceptable/possible to hold an Orthodox wedding inside a Byzantine Catholic Church?

Obviously that would require at a minimum the permission of the Catholic priest and the willingness of an Orthodox one, but is it even possible or is this a non-starter for one or both sides?


3. How amenable are Orthodox parishes to allowing physical decorations (flowers, etc) to the inside of the church?


4. How amenable are Orthodox parishes to any potential requests regarding the service or things related to the traditional American wedding? (like flower girls, the father walking the bride down the aisle, etc)


I apologize for my ignorance and the long message. I just figured before I approach a priest, I should have as much background info as possible. Any help or advice or shared experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2010, 11:33:05 PM »

I recently became engaged and am planning a wedding.

Congratulations! May God grant you many years!

1. What Orthodox church?

You should speak with your priest about this, as he can direct you as far as protocal and availability of using other parishes.

2. How about Greek Catholic/Byzantine Rite churches?

An Orthodox priest cannot serve with a Catholic priest.

You can have a Catholic wedding in a Catholic Church served by a Catholic priest, or you can have an Orthodox Wedding in the Orthodox Church with an Orthodox priest.

If you get married in the Catholic Church, you will have to have your marriage blessed (a crowning ceremony) before you can receive communion in the Orthodox Church again. If your wife chooses to remain in communion with the Catholic Church, and you are married in the Orthodox Church, you will have to have your marriage blessed by the Catholic Church before she can receive communion in her church again.

Although a Byzantine Rite Catholic Church may look similar in appearance and services to an Orthodox Church, it is not an Orthodox Church. It is not, as some would think, a "happy medium."

3. How amenable are Orthodox parishes to allowing physical decorations (flowers, etc) to the inside of the church?

Flowers are usually welcome; you will have to speak to the priest of the parish you decide upon as to the specifics of what is allowed in their particular parish. Usually flower arrangements are placed in front of the icons of the Theotokos and Christ on the Iconostas, the tetrapod, and if there are pews, at the ends of the pews.

4. How amenable are Orthodox parishes to any potential requests regarding the service or things related to the traditional American wedding? (like flower girls, the father walking the bride down the aisle, etc)

This varies from parish to parish, priest to priest. Usually most parishes are open to a bridal party and the father escorting the bride into the Church. Every Orthodox Wedding I have attended have included these elements.

I just figured before I approach a priest, I should have as much background info as possible.

Truly the priest is always your best resource. He should be your first stop, not your last. Smiley

God bless you on your impending marriage.
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2010, 11:40:03 PM »

Congratulations!
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2010, 11:45:05 PM »

Thank you both, and thank you Handmaiden for your advice. I suspected the Byzantine Church was "out of bounds" - but I thought perhaps it was possible they would allow us to rent the church for an Orthodox wedding.

The only reason this is a consideration is that some of the Byzantine churches in the area are larger and more cathedral-like than the smaller Orthodox parishes and I figured this might be more comfortable for her many, many Irish relatives.

Anyone else with any advice or who can anticipate other issues I should be thinking about, please don't hesitate to chime in!
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2010, 12:16:39 AM »

Thank you both, and thank you Handmaiden for your advice. I suspected the Byzantine Church was "out of bounds" - but I thought perhaps it was possible they would allow us to rent the church for an Orthodox wedding.

The only reason this is a consideration is that some of the Byzantine churches in the area are larger and more cathedral-like than the smaller Orthodox parishes and I figured this might be more comfortable for her many, many Irish relatives.

Anyone else with any advice or who can anticipate other issues I should be thinking about, please don't hesitate to chime in!

I think you are going about this the wrong way. You are approaching this from a logistical point of view instead of a spiritual one.

As a couple, where are you going to attend Church on Sundays? Where are you going to receive pre-marital counseling? Where are you going to have your children baptized? In which faith do you intend on raising them?

Figure out the answers to these questions and then decide where to have the wedding. A Church wedding is more than a "Kodak moment."

It is where the community surrounds the couple and witnesses the uniting of their souls in the House of God. Where do you want this unification to take place? In the Catholic or Orthodox Church?

Where do you intend the spiritual development of your marriage to take place? In the Orthodox Church or the Catholic Church? You need to reconcile this before you are married.

As far as logistics, the Irish are not the only ones with large families.  Wink I can assure you that there have been many large Greek and Russian weddings that have successfully occurred in the Pittsburgh area at Orthodox parishes.

Speak with your priest. If you have determined that you want to be married in the Orthodox Church, he will be able to assist you in finding a parish large enough to accommodate all of your guests.
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2010, 12:24:31 AM »

From one Western Pennsylvanian to another, congratulations Smiley I don't think I'll be of much help, but here are some thoughts. Regarding the Church, I'm completely out of my element there. I've visited four parishes in Pittsburgh (in Duquesne, McKeesport, South Side, and Oakland), but I hardly know how they'd respond to this kind of situation. Regarding the OCA thing, I wouldn't think that being OCA would limit you to only parishes from that jurisdiction, but then who knows how people might respond? I guess it's just one of those things that you'll have to start asking priests about before you know for sure.

As was said, I think the Byzantine Catholic Church would be out if you wanted an Orthodox wedding, though I can understand wanting to try and please as many people as possible. Regarding decorations, even though I was married in an Antiochian parish, I don't know much about that. Our wedding budget was quite modest, and we got married on short notice, so we couldn't do a lot of the niceties like flowers.

As far as a traditional wedding, I suppose that's a murky area. It'd probably be easier if it was a priest you already had a solid relationship with, but who knows? I don't believe you are allowed to essentially compose your own service, or part of a service, as some Americans do. I don't think there's a problem with the father walking the bride down the aisle... (I'm trying to remember here, lol). Flower girls and bridesmaids and such, I don't know.

I seem to remember the Orthodox service as being wonderful, but not overly complicated. We only had one short rehearsal, the night before the wedding, and everything went fine. If you have to do something and you forget, the priest can easily direct you. I think the Orthodox service is longer than many American weddings, but not so long that it should be an issue.
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2010, 01:32:41 AM »

As has been said you should speak to your priest. But using another parish's facility to hold the wedding doesn't mean you can't have a Orthodox ceremony by your parish priest; in my hometown there was no Orthodox church, an Orthodox priest would travel to Brownsville and celebrate the wedding in a borrowed Catholic or Episcopal church. It's been done.
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2010, 01:45:03 AM »

Hello everyone,

I recently became engaged and am planning a wedding. The problem is that my fiancee's family is Roman Catholic and so is pretty much her entire extended family (Irish). She has agreed to an Orthodox wedding, but we need to pick out a church and work through the various associated issues.

Here are a few of my initial questions. If anyone can help answer them in any way, it would be greatly appreciated. I'm sure new questions will emerge, these are just the initial ones that have occurred to me.

1. What Orthodox church?

We live in Pittsburgh and want to marry in the city or in the surrounding 10 miles or so.  My home parish is thus ruled out.

Why?  Where are you?

Quote
This is a necessary compromise as the reception is in Pittsburgh and large numbers of people will be out-of-towners, so we really want to keep it in or around the city. The cathedral in Allison Park for example is about the farthest distance we would like to consider.

I was there for his grace's consecration.  It should be fine, and more than big enough.

Quote
Are there any issues I should know about before I start visiting churches and asking the parish priest about availability?

yes.  You should have a letter from your parish priest to vouch for you.  And if you are not a parishioner, there may be a charge for use.  You also have to realize that they already have scheduled weddings for their own parishioners that have to be dealt with. And remember, you can't get married during fasts, which, barring a dispensation from the bishop, this years barrs nearly all of June. Get in touch with the priest early. Also, explain the fact that the bride is not Orthodox: he may require a proof of baptism.

Quote
I was thinking about the fact that my home parish is OCA. Does that rule out for some reason non-OCA parishes?

No, but it makes things easier.


Quote
2. How about Greek Catholic/Byzantine Rite churches?

Pittsburgh has a fair amount of Byzantine Rite churches, and I was curious as to whether it is acceptable/possible to hold an Orthodox wedding inside a Byzantine Catholic Church?

Obviously that would require at a minimum the permission of the Catholic priest and the willingness of an Orthodox one, but is it even possible or is this a non-starter for one or both sides?

As answered already, no.  For the Orthodox it is a non-starter.

Quote
3. How amenable are Orthodox parishes to allowing physical decorations (flowers, etc) to the inside of the church?

Usually very.  The only issue I've ever heard of was about rice.


Quote
4. How amenable are Orthodox parishes to any potential requests regarding the service or things related to the traditional American wedding? (like flower girls, the father walking the bride down the aisle, etc)

My experience has been very.  The only thing I've heard being an issue was instrumental music (though I've seen it done).

Quote
I apologize for my ignorance and the long message. I just figured before I approach a priest, I should have as much background info as possible. Any help or advice or shared experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Have you spoken to your parish priest?

If you get married in the Catholic Church, you will have to have your marriage blessed (a crowning ceremony) before you can receive communion in the Orthodox Church again. If your wife chooses to remain in communion with the Catholic Church, and you are married in the Orthodox Church, you will have to have your marriage blessed by the Catholic Church before she can receive communion in her church again.

Actually, no. The Vatican recognizes our marriages.  There's some paper work involved though.

Quote
Although a Byzantine Rite Catholic Church may look similar in appearance and services to an Orthodox Church, it is not an Orthodox Church. It is not, as some would think, a "happy medium."

Indeed!
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2010, 02:57:15 AM »

Actually, no. The Vatican recognizes our marriages.  There's some paper work involved though.

I would say "Check with her priest." My parents were given a hard time when they got married in the Orthodox Church and my mother went to the Catholic Church for a blessing. They would not recognize my father's Orthodox baptism as valid.

They could have just been giving them a hard time, and things may have changed. This was in 1976.
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2010, 03:02:10 AM »

As has been said you should speak to your priest. But using another parish's facility to hold the wedding doesn't mean you can't have a Orthodox ceremony by your parish priest; in my hometown there was no Orthodox church, an Orthodox priest would travel to Brownsville and celebrate the wedding in a borrowed Catholic or Episcopal church. It's been done.

Pittsburgh may lack many things, Orthodox parishes is not one of them. Pittsburgh has one of the highest Orthodox populations in the country; I'm sure there must be at least ONE parish that can accommodate his needs.

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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2010, 08:30:15 AM »

Actually, no. The Vatican recognizes our marriages.  There's some paper work involved though.

I would say "Check with her priest." My parents were given a hard time when they got married in the Orthodox Church and my mother went to the Catholic Church for a blessing. They would not recognize my father's Orthodox baptism as valid.

They could have just been giving them a hard time, and things may have changed. This was in 1976.

Intersting.  I've had to bring up a similar incident in the 30's when confronted with the we're-all-one-church line popular since Vatican II.

Yeah, things have changed since they opened up their communion to us. No thanks.

They have to clear it with their priest beforehand.  They can do it after the fact too, but that is a little more complicated.
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2010, 10:55:59 AM »

I think you are going about this the wrong way. You are approaching this from a logistical point of view instead of a spiritual one.

As a couple, where are you going to attend Church on Sundays? Where are you going to receive pre-marital counseling? Where are you going to have your children baptized? In which faith do you intend on raising them?

Figure out the answers to these questions and then decide where to have the wedding. A Church wedding is more than a "Kodak moment."

It is where the community surrounds the couple and witnesses the uniting of their souls in the House of God. Where do you want this unification to take place? In the Catholic or Orthodox Church?

Where do you intend the spiritual development of your marriage to take place? In the Orthodox Church or the Catholic Church? You need to reconcile this before you are married.

Truly excellent advice. This is indeed the heart of the matter.

The Orthodox Church believes that marriage is more than a private event between two people. Jesus Christ Himself participates in the Sacrament of marriage through the blessings of the Priest. 
This is why a wedding must take place in the Church, because naturally, the appropriate place for a sacrament of the Orthodox Church is the Holy Sanctuary.
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« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2010, 12:47:24 PM »

Thanks everyone for the advice. I suppose at this point I am thinking about this from a logistical point of view, but that is largely because I already have a parish outside the city and have yet to find one in Pittsburgh.  The main reason for that is because I only moved back to the Pittsburgh area in the last few years after living in the greater DC area, and I tend to go to my home parish and vist my parents.
 
I have a very good relationship with my home parish priest as I was an altar boy for a long time. I was planning on receiving pre-martial counseling and having the children baptized there, but was assuming it would not be a problem to have him preside over the marriage in a church in or around Pittsburgh. I realize this has to be cleared with all concerned priests, but if it's an OCA church they probably all know each other and won't be a major issue.  I've already "scouted" one potential location and that was the case.
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« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2010, 12:57:23 PM »

Quote
Why?  Where are you?

Home parish is near Butler, PA. The vast majority of the invitees are from either Pittsburgh or flying in from out of town (NY, CA, etc). Given that scenario, my bride is asking me to limit the search to places in or adjacent to the city. 

All things considered, I don't think this is an unreasonable request. There are about 4 people in my extended family in the area who are still Orthodox (haven't married out, deceased, etc), plus a handful of Orthodox cousins from Chicago, Baltimore, etc. About 95% of the attendees will be non-Orthodox. So I don't mind compromising a bit logistically on the location, but the advice about considering the wedding location as my future home parish is well taken.
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« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2010, 01:12:26 PM »

This issue came up recently on the Greek Catholic board that this board is an indirect spinoff from.

As Handmaiden says this issue goes beyond planning a wedding to planning a marriage.

The facts on paper are you may marry a Roman Catholic without her converting but the problem comes when you have kids. Each church requires them to be raised in it because each claims it's the one true church. So one spouse is excommunicated. IOW raise the kids Orthodox and your wife can't go to Communion in her church, or vice versa. It comes down to how important or not this is to this person.

Locally your mileage may vary - as it does among Arabs in Syria and Lebanon where Melkites and Orthodox intermarry and intercommune all the time; the laity are in fact one church even though families identify as one or the other. Over here some priests on both sides probably look the other way but most on this board would agree that's not honest and I wouldn't presume to ask and expect that of a priest.
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« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2010, 01:23:09 PM »

but was assuming it would not be a problem to have him preside over the marriage in a church in or around Pittsburgh. I realize this has to be cleared with all concerned priests, but if it's an OCA church they probably all know each other and won't be a major issue. 

Also, depending on the Hierarch, the priest may need to have the knowledge and/or permission of the Bishop. In any case, there is paperwork involved and the sooner the better. I've seen too many couples not take this seriously and be scrambling at the last minute, because a baptismal certificate was needed.
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« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2010, 01:56:06 PM »

Quote
Why?  Where are you?

Home parish is near Butler, PA. The vast majority of the invitees are from either Pittsburgh or flying in from out of town (NY, CA, etc). Given that scenario, my bride is asking me to limit the search to places in or adjacent to the city. 

All things considered, I don't think this is an unreasonable request. There are about 4 people in my extended family in the area who are still Orthodox (haven't married out, deceased, etc), plus a handful of Orthodox cousins from Chicago, Baltimore, etc. About 95% of the attendees will be non-Orthodox. So I don't mind compromising a bit logistically on the location, but the advice about considering the wedding location as my future home parish is well taken.

I'm familiar with the PGH area. Butler isn't too far from PGH, so I'm sure your priest will be more than willing and able to help you find a parish in PGH that will be accommodating to you and your bride.

Also, it's not unheard of one jurisdiction using another jurisdiction's parish.

When I lived in Atlanta there was a couple at a small OCA parish who wanted to use the GOA Cathedral for their wedding for logistical reasons. All of the Atlanta clergy are on pretty good terms with one another, so the necessary arrangements were made.

Bottom line: Talk with your priest. He will help you. Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2010, 04:07:14 PM »

You said that your current home parish location for the wedding won't work. That's fine, no problem there. If I missed this earlier in the thread, please forgive me, but is your current priest going to officiate at the wedding?

Since Pittsburgh, as others have said, is well blessed with Orthodox churches, there should be no problem finding a suitable one for your wedding. And that is definitely the best choice. However, and this does not apply here, my own little mission parish recently had a wedding in a Byzantine Catholic church. It's the one we rent our space in their hall from. We do have a good relationship with them. Even once had a service there with our own bishop present. So a BC church is not out of the question when there are no other options.

Concerning children: my son (Protestant) was recently married in an RC church. I quizzed him thoroughly about what was being asked of him and any future children. He kept reassuring me that there were no demands. Having heard about the RC's position, it was hard for me to believe him, but in the wedding the only question asked of the couple was, "Will you promise to raise your children according to the laws of Christ and His church?" That seemed pretty open-ended to me.
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« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2010, 04:36:57 PM »

"Will you promise to raise your children according to the laws of Christ and His church?" That seemed pretty open-ended to me.

Yeah, except that they meant the Roman Catholic Church, so it's not so open after all.  He probably just didn't know what he was agreeing to.
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« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2010, 06:35:42 PM »

I seem to remember the Orthodox service as being wonderful, but not overly complicated. We only had one short rehearsal, the night before the wedding, and everything went fine. If you have to do something and you forget, the priest can easily direct you.

Authentic story:

A Priest asks a groom: Haven't you promised marriage to another woman?
Groom (under the influence of Hollywood movies): Yes, I have.

Facepalm, burst of laughter, blush and very nice wedding movie.
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« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2010, 07:34:01 PM »

"Will you promise to raise your children according to the laws of Christ and His church?" That seemed pretty open-ended to me.

Yeah, except that they meant the Roman Catholic Church, so it's not so open after all.  He probably just didn't know what he was agreeing to.

Yeah, just as "Christ and His Church" translates to "Eastern Orthodox Church" to us, "Christ and His Church" translates to "Roman Catholic Church" to them.

When you believe (as we do) that you are the "One, True, Church" other faith traditions don't enter the discussion.
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« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2010, 07:40:11 PM »

"Will you promise to raise your children according to the laws of Christ and His church?" That seemed pretty open-ended to me.

Yeah, except that they meant the Roman Catholic Church, so it's not so open after all.  He probably just didn't know what he was agreeing to.
Yes, I know the priest may indeed have meant that. However, that doesn't mean he was right  Smiley. Since it wasn't spelled out for him, my son will simply plead ignorance.
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« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2010, 08:12:26 PM »

ProdigalSon, I don't envy your situation. And as an Orthodox who married a woman who at the time was Roman Catholic, I am very familiar with the dilemma. Thus I have some opinions on what you & others have stated.

First off, the Catholic church recognizes all sacraments performed in an Orthodox church as valid. Thus your wife could get married in an Orthodox church without any sacramental penalty. But you, as an Orthodox Christian, are not in the same situation. Should you get married outside of an Orthodox church, you are thus facing excommunication for not having your marriage recognized in the Orthodox church. This wouldn't be a problem if the Orthodox churches recognized Catholic sacraments as valid. But there is no agreement among Orthodox churches as to whether Catholic sacraments are valid. (Trust me, I've been doing research on this for years - this is actually one issue that divides Orthodox churches).

So my recommendation is to get married in an Orthodox church. Or you could have two marriage ceremonies, which is what my wife & I did at that time.

First, your questions:

"1. What Orthodox church?"
It shouldn't really matter. If you are married in an SCOBA-affiliated Orthodox Church, (Greek, OCA, Antiochian, Serbian and now ROCOR) that marriage will be recognized by all other Orthodox churches.

As for your locale, I'm sure there are plenty of Orthodox churches in and around Pittsburgh? As I understand, Pennsylvania is a state where Orthodox churches abound. Where I live, in the Great Plains (central Midwest) Orthodox churches are much harder to come by. Go to the websites of the Greek Orthodox Church, Antiochian Orthodox Church, and OCA and look under Pennsylvania. I'll bet that you can find an Orthodox church somewhere near where you're at in Pittsburgh.

"2. How about Greek Catholic/Byzantine Rite churches?"
As stated by others, to an Orthodox point of view, those are no different than other Catholic churches.

"3. How amenable are Orthodox parishes to allowing physical decorations (flowers, etc) to the inside of the church?"
Depends on the priest.

"4. How amenable are Orthodox parishes to any potential requests regarding the service or things related to the traditional American wedding? (like flower girls, the father walking the bride down the aisle, etc)"

I wouldn't count on it. An Orthodox marriage ceremony is different than a western wedding ceremony. Best to think of the two as different events. For instance, in an Orthodox wedding, there are no vows.

One thing that my wife and I really liked about the Orthodox wedding ceremony was the fact that the father does not "give the bride away" during the ceremony. Instead, the couple walk down the aisle up to the dais, arm-in-arm. Also, an Orthodox wedding has a "koumbaro" or sponsor, which doesn't really have an equivalent in a western wedding.

Second, I'd like to respond to something Serge wrote:

"Each church requires them to be raised in it because each claims it's the one true church."

When my wife & I received counseling in both the Catholic and Orthodox churches, neither priest required us to promise to raise our children in that particular church. If they had done so, that would have caused us both serious problems.

At the time that my wife was married, we had not decided upon which church to raise our children in. I was amenable to the idea that the children experience both churches, and for them to choose themselves.

But my wife, in her wisdom, decided this could send a confusing message to the children. She took a look at the Orthodox church, liked what she saw, and converted (I put no pressure upon her to do this). In retrospect, this was a good idea. As Serge said, since both churches consider itself to be Christ's one true church, both claims thus exclude the other.

Having said that, I'm going to give you different advice than what others here have written: If you're as of yet undecided as to which church to raise your children in, don't force the issue. These things have a way of working themselves out, if you give it time and listen to what Christ is calling you to do. Don't make any demands or issue any ultimatums. If you feel that God is calling you to get married soon, do so and God willing, eventually you both will decide where to make your church home (just as you will eventually know where to buy a physical home). Just make sure that any conversations you have about this are conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect and love. I did that approach and it worked for us, and I'd recommend that approach to any others.
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« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2010, 12:57:47 AM »

My husband and I had that situation (he was GO, and I was RC at the time). I called the local bishop who said we had to go through pre-Cana (RC premarital counseling) regardless. Then I met with an RC (Jesuit) priest who informed me if I needed the RC church's blessing, then I would indeed have to sign a paper stating I would do all within my power to raise any children RC. He hinted there could be a loophole of sorts in relation to the doing all I could part, but I wasn't going to tell half a lie just to get their blessing. I had thoughts of letting my husband raise kids Orthodox even if I didn't convert. So In short, I think there is still a rule that she would have to sign that document.
This is it:
http://www.dioceseofraleigh.org/docs/for_parishes/marriage/automated_marriage_form.pdf
As you will see it is for a particular diocese, but if you go to pp. 2-3, it's basically what the priest showed me. This was in Connecticut.
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« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2010, 08:37:26 AM »

You need to consult your pastor, not an information thread on the internet. The variety of opinions offered here on the subject are just that - opinions, and as many of the posters state, the answers you will receive will depend on your pastor and his Bishop. Good luck and may God bless you and your bride to be and grant you Many Years!
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« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2010, 10:35:31 AM »

I just wanted to say Congratulations!

I expect you now have a list of things to ask your priest Smiley

I'm in a relationship like yours - my partner is Orthodox and I am Anglican - and we are getting married soon, so it is so nice to know of someone else getting married around the same time. I am sure that however you decide to do it, it will be a beautiful wedding.

Good luck!
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« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2010, 10:41:04 AM »

Thanks everyone for all the replies, they were read with interest. The update on my wedding is that we have picked a church, spoken to both my home parish priest and the priest at this particular church and so far so good. My home priest will come and perform the ceremony.

I do, however, have a new issue. It turns out my fiancee's family would like "representation" of some kind in the service. There is a Roman Catholic priest in the family (mother-in-law's cousin) and the question is what role, if any, he could have in the wedding.

I personally have no issue with this, but I understand that both the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church probably do.  Before I bring the issue to the attention of my priest, I was wondering if anyone had any information to share.

Is there any way for a RC priest to give a blessing or a reading or something like that in an Orthodox wedding?

Thanks in advance for any input.
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« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2010, 12:34:11 PM »

Thanks everyone for all the replies, they were read with interest. The update on my wedding is that we have picked a church, spoken to both my home parish priest and the priest at this particular church and so far so good. My home priest will come and perform the ceremony.

I do, however, have a new issue. It turns out my fiancee's family would like "representation" of some kind in the service. There is a Roman Catholic priest in the family (mother-in-law's cousin) and the question is what role, if any, he could have in the wedding.

I personally have no issue with this, but I understand that both the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church probably do.  Before I bring the issue to the attention of my priest, I was wondering if anyone had any information to share.

Is there any way for a RC priest to give a blessing or a reading or something like that in an Orthodox wedding?

Thanks in advance for any input.

At the risk of sounding offensive to your fiancée's family, I'm fairly sure you'll find that the answer is "No". Marriage is a sacrament and a RC priest would have no more role there than he would at a Divine Liturgy.

I might suggest asking the RC priest to offer a blessing at the reception (assuming it's outside of the church), such as saying grace at the start of the meal.

All of that being said, someone else may have some practical experience that might open up other possibilities. What I have just said is how we dealt with my son's wedding (he's Protestant) to his RC bride (RC wedding) last November.
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« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2010, 12:54:50 PM »

Thanks genisisone. That's what I told my girl more or less, but I am holding out hope there may be some "role" for her cousin.

It's hard to please everyone with a wedding, but I'm trying where possible to accommodate both side's cultural/religious traditions. It means a lot to my bride to try to accommodate her family, which is as Irish and Catholic as mine is Russian and Orthodox.

Anyone with any info on this please let me know. I will discuss with my own priest soon.

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« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2010, 01:00:34 PM »

I read somewhere that a non-Orthodox cleric may offer some non-liturgical blessing, say, at the end of the ceremony, as long as he doesn't appear to be officiating or assisting in the sacrament. Best to talk to your priest.

By the way, here's a scene of an Orthodox wedding in Pittsburgh, from The Deer Hunter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lfdqy7BT-bY
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« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2010, 02:51:59 PM »

i agree with The-Young_Fogey. locally your mileage may vary. and for the most part, we have more of a problem with them than they do with us. they accept us, but we as orthodox usually do not accept them.  but really it depends on your parish & your deacon.  if your parish and your deacon are intolerant towards catholics, then you might have a problem. 

i know a greek melkite catholic lady and a russian orthodox man who have been married for 25 years and are active members in my parish so yeah, its possible to keep the marriage strong & healthy. 
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« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2010, 03:41:53 PM »

A) the ACROD church in Homestead is awesome with a vibrant community of all ages and a great priest.  
B) The percentage of Orthodox Christians marrying Roman Catholics is large.  Don't worry.  You'll be ok.
C) I know someone personally that married a Roman Catholic gal not too long ago in a Ukrainian Orthodox parish.  They used vows as a nice touch, the priest just used them and it made the Roman Catholic bride happy!  Remember Orthodox Weddings don't use vows.  It is a blessing of the union God had already created not a contract like a wedding is in western Christianity.
Also the Western Ukraine and the ACROD traditions come from a cross-roads region of the world.  In this region the Western Roman Catholic small traditions mix Eastern Orthodox/Greek Catholic traditions into their practices just as the Eastern Orthodox have blended some more seemingly Roman Catholic traditions (vows at weddings for instance) into their traditions.  We can talk all day about the melting of traditions into Orthodoxy.  But I'll leave it at that.
No it is NOT okay to get married in a Greek Catholic Church.  You are Orthodox.  Sorry to be blunt.  Actually it is easier for her to get married in the Orthodox Church and be ok with her Roman Catholic laws than it is for you to get married in a Roman Catholic Church (whether a Latin church or a Greek Catholic Church).  


Ok ... deep breath.  Why not get married in your home OCA parish?  
If you want resources go to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website.  They have a huge department and many publications about Orthodox Christians and non-Orthodox weddings and couples and how to meld that into your marriage.
Why? because the Orthodox Christians are well aware that most of us marry non-Orthodox spouses!!


Here is the link to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Interfaith Marriage department.  
http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/marriage/interfaith/
Have a look, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has wonderful resources and spends a lot of time and effort on providing solid real-world education and so forth to the faithful.  
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« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2010, 03:47:19 PM »

Thanks everyone for all the replies, they were read with interest. The update on my wedding is that we have picked a church, spoken to both my home parish priest and the priest at this particular church and so far so good. My home priest will come and perform the ceremony.

I do, however, have a new issue. It turns out my fiancee's family would like "representation" of some kind in the service. There is a Roman Catholic priest in the family (mother-in-law's cousin) and the question is what role, if any, he could have in the wedding.

I personally have no issue with this, but I understand that both the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church probably do.  Before I bring the issue to the attention of my priest, I was wondering if anyone had any information to share.

Is there any way for a RC priest to give a blessing or a reading or something like that in an Orthodox wedding?

Thanks in advance for any input.


ACROD will let that Roman Catholic minister have some role in the marriage.  However it is your wedding not their wedding. 
Also educate, like I said in the earlier post, pull resources from that Greek Orthodox website.. and teach them that the Orthodox are not evil pope hating schismatics.   Private Message me if you get a chance I can help you out more off the public board.
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« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2010, 04:55:40 PM »

I do, however, have a new issue. It turns out my fiancee's family would like "representation" of some kind in the service. There is a Roman Catholic priest in the family (mother-in-law's cousin) and the question is what role, if any, he could have in the wedding.

I'll have to be blunt ... guest (unless your circumstances are what other posters already described).  The RC Priest can offer a toast or a blessing at the reception.

I personally have no issue with this, but I understand that both the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church probably do.  Before I bring the issue to the attention of my priest, I was wondering if anyone had any information to share.

Is there any way for a RC priest to give a blessing or a reading or something like that in an Orthodox wedding?

Again ... No.  However, your circumstances may differ.

The last Orthodox wedding I attended, as an uninvited guest, was in 2006.  As an invited guest, 1998.  I have never attended an Orthodox wedding outside GOA.   Huh
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« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2010, 05:20:58 PM »

ProdigalSon, I can also assure you that, in the Russian church (ROCOR or MP), an RC priest (or an Orthodox priest in a jurisdiction which is not in communion with ROCOR or MP) cannot concelebrate or otherwise participate in the wedding ceremony, other than attend as a guest and observer. Any homily at an Orthodox wedding is done at the very end, where the celebrant priest says a few words about, and to, the newlyweds. However, I see no problem at all if an RC priest leads a toast, makes a speech, etc, at the reception.
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« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2010, 06:09:39 PM »

Thanks everyone for all the replies, they were read with interest. The update on my wedding is that we have picked a church, spoken to both my home parish priest and the priest at this particular church and so far so good. My home priest will come and perform the ceremony.

I do, however, have a new issue. It turns out my fiancee's family would like "representation" of some kind in the service. There is a Roman Catholic priest in the family (mother-in-law's cousin) and the question is what role, if any, he could have in the wedding.

I personally have no issue with this, but I understand that both the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church probably do.  Before I bring the issue to the attention of my priest, I was wondering if anyone had any information to share.

Is there any way for a RC priest to give a blessing or a reading or something like that in an Orthodox wedding?

Thanks in advance for any input.


Definitely speak with your priest about this. This is not something that any of us on this board would be able to address, as your Bishop and your priest will have the final say as to what her priest would be allowed to do.
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