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Author Topic: The Orthodox View Of Non-Christian Marriage  (Read 1166 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tobit
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« on: June 08, 2011, 06:18:22 PM »

Does the Orthodox Church view marriage in the same light as the Roman Catholic Church, i.e. that non-Christian marriages are valid but not sacramental? Are there any canons or writings from the Church Fathers pertaining to this issue?

One priest told me that while non-Christian marriages are symbolic of the sacrament, they are not the sacrament of marriage. If not, then are they essentially civil unions from the Church's perspective though we talk of them as marriages? But if non-Christian marriages can be valid but not sacramental, what about the other sacraments/mysteries like heterodox communion?
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2011, 06:25:32 PM »

crikey what happens when they become Orthodox do they have to get married again??

i be interested to read the replies you get
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 06:29:25 PM »

I believe that there is a service to bless an existing marriage when a couple becomes Orthodox.  I don't know the specifics of it though.
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2011, 06:35:45 PM »

crikey what happens when they become Orthodox do they have to get married again??

i be interested to read the replies you get
Yup. My husband and I are both catechumens, and we will have to be married in the church after our chrismation. I'm excited about the ceremony...not so excited about telling our families (my father in law officiated our marriage, so it's not going to be pretty :-/).
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2011, 06:38:14 PM »

I believe that there is a service to bless an existing marriage when a couple becomes Orthodox.  I don't know the specifics of it though.

Yes, there is the crowning, which is actually the second half of the Orthodox marriage service. Couples who enter the Orthodox Church usually have their marriages crowned, i.e. made sacramental.

My question however is more specific. In precise theological terms how does the Orthodox Church view non-Christian unions? I have read that the Moscow Patriarchate considers them valid. Is that the view of all who call themselves Eastern Orthodox?
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Irish Hermit
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2011, 06:40:06 PM »

An indication of how the Church views the sanctity of even common-law marriage.

"On December 28, 1998, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church regretted to state that «some spiritual fathers tend to declar common-law marriage invalid or demand that spouses, who have lived together for many years but were not married in church for this or that reason, should divorce… Some spiritual fathers do not allow persons who live in «unwed» marriage to communicate, identifying such a marriage with fornication». The decision adopted by the Synod points out that «while insisting on the necessity of church marriage, the Synod reminds pastors that the Orthodox Church also respects common-law marriage."

Source:: http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/3/14.aspx
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Tobit
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2011, 06:40:43 PM »

crikey what happens when they become Orthodox do they have to get married again??

i be interested to read the replies you get
Yup. My husband and I are both catechumens, and we will have to be married in the church after our chrismation. I'm excited about the ceremony...not so excited about telling our families (my father in law officiated our marriage, so it's not going to be pretty :-/).

Presumably you won't be doing the betrothal again (the first part of the service). Do your families even have to know about the crowning if it is going to cause discord?
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Tobit
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2011, 06:45:09 PM »

An indication of how the Church views the sanctity of even common-law marriage.

"On December 28, 1998, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church regretted to state that «some spiritual fathers tend to declar common-law marriage invalid or demand that spouses, who have lived together for many years but were not married in church for this or that reason, should divorce… Some spiritual fathers do not allow persons who live in «unwed» marriage to communicate, identifying such a marriage with fornication». The decision adopted by the Synod points out that «while insisting on the necessity of church marriage, the Synod reminds pastors that the Orthodox Church also respects common-law marriage."

Source:: http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/3/14.aspx

Irish Hermit, thanks for that. I am curious however. IIRC common-law marriage pertains to a couple who have been together for at least seven years but never formally married. That is the legal definition (and I'm sure it may vary from place to place). Is the Church defining common-law marriage differently? If not, what is the state of the couple before that 7 year point is reached?
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2011, 06:53:50 PM »

An indication of how the Church views the sanctity of even common-law marriage.

"On December 28, 1998, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church regretted to state that «some spiritual fathers tend to declar common-law marriage invalid or demand that spouses, who have lived together for many years but were not married in church for this or that reason, should divorce… Some spiritual fathers do not allow persons who live in «unwed» marriage to communicate, identifying such a marriage with fornication». The decision adopted by the Synod points out that «while insisting on the necessity of church marriage, the Synod reminds pastors that the Orthodox Church also respects common-law marriage."

Source:: http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/3/14.aspx

Irish Hermit, thanks for that. I am curious however. IIRC common-law marriage pertains to a couple who have been together for at least seven years but never formally married. That is the legal definition (and I'm sure it may vary from place to place). Is the Church defining common-law marriage differently? If not, what is the state of the couple before that 7 year point is reached?

Saint Basil the Great, Canon XXVI

Fornication is neither marriage, nor the beginning of marriage.  If it may be, it is better that they who have committed fornication together be parted; but if they be passionate lovers, let them not separate, for fear of what is worse.
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2011, 07:01:39 PM »

crikey what happens when they become Orthodox do they have to get married again??

i be interested to read the replies you get
Yup. My husband and I are both catechumens, and we will have to be married in the church after our chrismation. I'm excited about the ceremony...not so excited about telling our families (my father in law officiated our marriage, so it's not going to be pretty :-/).

Presumably you won't be doing the betrothal again (the first part of the service). Do your families even have to know about the crowning if it is going to cause discord?
We're still debating, but I honestly think they will be way more hurt if we don't even tell them. Not sure yet.
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2011, 08:11:14 PM »

crikey

I believe OC.net has rules governing the use offensive language. In the future please keep such words to yourself as they drive me to the edge of insanity.

Thanks.
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2011, 08:15:13 PM »

How does the Orthodox Church view divorce outside the Church?

A divorced man enters the Church and decides to marry an Orthodox woman. Is it his second marriage or his first?

I am under the impression it is his first and that the couple would have the same ceremony as if it were the first, not the more "penitential" one for second marriages.

Educate me. Thanks.
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2011, 08:35:26 PM »

crikey

I believe OC.net has rules governing the use offensive language. In the future please keep such words to yourself as they drive me to the edge of insanity.

Thanks.

I don't find crikey offensive.  It is very common in British English and loved by old ladies.

Same goes for blimey which is an everyday word. It's a shortened form of gorblimey but who remembers that?

Nobody would be offended in the slightest if Her Majesty the Queen used crikey or blimey.
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2011, 08:40:19 PM »

crikey

I believe OC.net has rules governing the use offensive language. In the future please keep such words to yourself as they drive me to the edge of insanity.

Thanks.

I don't find crikey offensive.  It is very common in British English and loved by old ladies.

Same goes for blimey which is an everyday word. It's a shortened form of gorblimey but who remembers that?

Nobody would be offended in the slightest if Her Majesty the Queen used crikey or blimey.

It was joke about the word being ridiculous and worst yet English.

For all the sense of humor I hear the English have, I have yet to find evidence of it.

Thank God my folks got off the land the English occupied with terror and came to this country or I might find myself defending such a silly euphemism for taking the Lord's name in vain.

So what about the whole divorce thing?

EDIT: For the English getting their knickers(?) in a bunch, the above was meant in good cheer.

« Last Edit: June 08, 2011, 08:42:18 PM by orthonorm » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2011, 09:16:01 PM »

How does the Orthodox Church view divorce outside the Church?

A divorced man enters the Church and decides to marry an Orthodox woman. Is it his second marriage or his first?

I am under the impression it is his first and that the couple would have the same ceremony as if it were the first, not the more "penitential" one for second marriages.

Educate me. Thanks.

If its the first marriage for either partner then the ceremony reflects that. So if an Orthodox man who has never been married weds an Orthodox woman who has been divorced, the ceremony is reflective of the man's state, not the woman (or vice versa).

I don't have a definitive answer to your question, but it does strike at the heart of the question I asked. I listened to an Antiochian priest say that a marriage/divorce before becoming Orthodox is an impediment to ordination. Since it is not a sin it is not washed away in baptism. So obviously Antioch must have some distinction between valid but not sacramental.
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2011, 09:19:21 PM »



It was joke about the word being ridiculous and worst yet English.


In this country and in Australia I know that we all love crikey and use it daily.

Crikey, that was a great football game,

Crikey, did you see that beautiful girl?

Crikey, have you spent all your dole money in one day?   laugh
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Tobit
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2011, 09:20:00 PM »

An indication of how the Church views the sanctity of even common-law marriage.

"On December 28, 1998, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church regretted to state that «some spiritual fathers tend to declar common-law marriage invalid or demand that spouses, who have lived together for many years but were not married in church for this or that reason, should divorce… Some spiritual fathers do not allow persons who live in «unwed» marriage to communicate, identifying such a marriage with fornication». The decision adopted by the Synod points out that «while insisting on the necessity of church marriage, the Synod reminds pastors that the Orthodox Church also respects common-law marriage."

Source:: http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/3/14.aspx

Irish Hermit, thanks for that. I am curious however. IIRC common-law marriage pertains to a couple who have been together for at least seven years but never formally married. That is the legal definition (and I'm sure it may vary from place to place). Is the Church defining common-law marriage differently? If not, what is the state of the couple before that 7 year point is reached?

Saint Basil the Great, Canon XXVI

Fornication is neither marriage, nor the beginning of marriage.  If it may be, it is better that they who have committed fornication together be parted; but if they be passionate lovers, let them not separate, for fear of what is worse.


Thanks for that. Found a link and read through them all. Interesting.
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Irish Hermit
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« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2011, 09:24:29 PM »


Thank God my folks got off the land the English occupied with terror and came to this country or I might find myself defending such a silly euphemism for taking the Lord's name in vain.


One of the things which really offends me is the use of "Jeez" and it occurs even on this Forum.   In my days we would have been strapped by the nuns for using that word.  We all knew what it meant.
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« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2011, 09:33:36 PM »


Thank God my folks got off the land the English occupied with terror and came to this country or I might find myself defending such a silly euphemism for taking the Lord's name in vain.


One of the things which really offends me is the use of "Jeez" and it occurs even on this Forum.   In my days we would have been strapped by the nuns for using that word.  We all knew what it meant.

And ueber-pious Catholic family I knew would correct their kids to say "cheese and crackers" instead of "Jesus Christ" when expressing less than kosher sentiments.

 Roll Eyes

That could be a whole thread, euphemisms for taking the Lord's Name in vain in whatever language(s) you speak.
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« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2011, 09:39:52 PM »


Quote
Quote from: ialmisry on 03 March 2011, 16:02:49
For God was so P.O.d at that world, that He had His only begotten Son tortured to death, and since then He feels so much better.

In my part of the world that is offensive.  I mean the P.O.d.  But I know that where Isa comes from it is OK so I put up with it.  Grin
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« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2011, 09:44:49 PM »


Thank God my folks got off the land the English occupied with terror and came to this country or I might find myself defending such a silly euphemism for taking the Lord's name in vain.


One of the things which really offends me is the use of "Jeez" and it occurs even on this Forum.   In my days we would have been strapped by the nuns for using that word.  We all knew what it meant.

And ueber-pious Catholic family I knew would correct their kids to say "cheese and crackers" instead of "Jesus Christ" when expressing less than kosher sentiments.

 Roll Eyes

That could be a whole thread, euphemisms for taking the Lord's Name in vain in whatever language(s) you speak.

The priest who gave me instructions in the Orthodox Faith asked me make prostrations every time I used slang like gee whiz or gosh.
I lost a lot of weight in the process and cleaned up my act too.
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« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2011, 09:50:24 PM »

Use the winking emoticon  Wink  next time.  Helps alleviate guessing whether was meant in good cheer or not. 

crikey
I believe OC.net has rules governing the use offensive language. In the future please keep such words to yourself as they drive me to the edge of insanity.
Thanks.
I don't find crikey offensive.  It is very common in British English and loved by old ladies.
Same goes for blimey which is an everyday word. It's a shortened form of gorblimey but who remembers that?

Nobody would be offended in the slightest if Her Majesty the Queen used crikey or blimey.

It was joke about the word being ridiculous and worst yet English.

For all the sense of humor I hear the English have, I have yet to find evidence of it.

Thank God my folks got off the land the English occupied with terror and came to this country or I might find myself defending such a silly euphemism for taking the Lord's name in vain.

So what about the whole divorce thing?

EDIT: For the English getting their knickers(?) in a bunch, the above was meant in good cheer.


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Maria
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« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2011, 09:53:29 PM »

crikey what happens when they become Orthodox do they have to get married again??

i be interested to read the replies you get
Yup. My husband and I are both catechumens, and we will have to be married in the church after our chrismation. I'm excited about the ceremony...not so excited about telling our families (my father in law officiated our marriage, so it's not going to be pretty :-/).

Presumably you won't be doing the betrothal again (the first part of the service). Do your families even have to know about the crowning if it is going to cause discord?
We're still debating, but I honestly think they will be way more hurt if we don't even tell them. Not sure yet.

I know some couples who had their marriage blessed in the Orthodox Church, but they did so in a separate ceremony immediately after Sunday Divine Liturgy to which only the parish members were invited. In this way, their relatives did not need to be notified and it spared them a lot of grief. Their relatives really did not want to come to the Chrismation and Baptism of their children which occurred on Saturday.
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« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2011, 10:07:45 PM »

Use the winking emoticon  Wink  next time.  Helps alleviate guessing whether was meant in good cheer or not.  

crikey
I believe OC.net has rules governing the use offensive language. In the future please keep such words to yourself as they drive me to the edge of insanity.
Thanks.
I don't find crikey offensive.  It is very common in British English and loved by old ladies.
Same goes for blimey which is an everyday word. It's a shortened form of gorblimey but who remembers that?

Nobody would be offended in the slightest if Her Majesty the Queen used crikey or blimey.

It was joke about the word being ridiculous and worst yet English.

For all the sense of humor I hear the English have, I have yet to find evidence of it.

Thank God my folks got off the land the English occupied with terror and came to this country or I might find myself defending such a silly euphemism for taking the Lord's name in vain.

So what about the whole divorce thing?

EDIT: For the English getting their knickers(?) in a bunch, the above was meant in good cheer.



Father,

Thanks. I just find it sad that folks here can't tell humor when they see it, or at least ain't charitable enough to assume that is default position.

Resorting to emoticons is something I swore I would never do . . .

I am not used to dealing with such sensitivities on the internet of all places.

I guess I take this as a lesson in humility and obedience.

But just imagine if Oscar Wilde, Samuel Johnson, Mark Twain and the like had to use emoticons. I ain't saying I am one of them. But nowadays people simply would miss the point.

Oh well.
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« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2011, 10:09:03 PM »

I believe that there is a service to bless an existing marriage when a couple becomes Orthodox.  I don't know the specifics of it though.

Yes, there is the crowning, which is actually the second half of the Orthodox marriage service. Couples who enter the Orthodox Church usually have their marriages crowned, i.e. made sacramental.

My question however is more specific. In precise theological terms how does the Orthodox Church view non-Christian unions? I have read that the Moscow Patriarchate considers them valid. Is that the view of all who call themselves Eastern Orthodox?

I've seen only once a Muslim couple with children become Eastern Orthodox.  Ironically, their married life before was not considered a sin such as fornication, nor was their children considered "born in sin".   But like you said they were crowned right after their Baptisms and family's baptism.

It was more of a "recognition by the church" thing without condemnation of them "living in sin" or anything like that.    I remember that a couple years later they had an anniversary including all the years when they were Muslims.  I think it was treated as more that their years of marriage were "absorbed" (if that's a good word) into the church.

Two people that truly believed that they were married and lived in a faithful "marriage", who discovered Eastern Orthodox Christianity, found the errors of their ways - it would be kind of cold to say "Your kids are bastard children and your a bunch of evil fornicators". LOL  They renounced Mohomet and his ways after all before the Baptism service.

They were treated as a long time married couple with children as any other member of the church before and after they were crowned.
Of course, I wasn't in on all the private details (or confession), but the atmosphere was very happy that they were there.  I do recall the Priest addressing the church of this family (weeks before Baptism) as "Mr. * and his wife * and their family will be Baptized...".  Of course, that could have been said tongue and cheek though.

That is a very interesting link though posted above.  
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« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2011, 10:13:39 PM »


Thank God my folks got off the land the English occupied with terror and came to this country or I might find myself defending such a silly euphemism for taking the Lord's name in vain.


One of the things which really offends me is the use of "Jeez" and it occurs even on this Forum.   In my days we would have been strapped by the nuns for using that word.  We all knew what it meant.

LOL.   Memories.  LOL.
Unless you've been there, you could never guess how hard a tiny old nun can whack you on the backside.  I made the mistake of barely chunking a Divine Liturgy book on a table for my brother.  I never in all my life would make that mistake again.  LOL.  I think I still feel it tingling.   
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