Good thing we aren't sola scripturists.
Marriage was a "late comer" to the "official" list of sacraments. But, we have to remember that even that list of seven is very Latin, and doesn't exist in the East. I've seen "lists" of mysteries that include up to fourteen different services!
Marriage used to be the sole domain of the state, if you remember.
Whoa! Benjamin, you are opening up my mind to completely new ideas. You must either be a super-liberal foolish, or a very highly-illuminated orthodox guru.
So you're saying that the church didn't have this list of seven sacraments from day one? I thought this was a tradition recieved directly from the apostles. This is strange to me since the number seven is mentioned so many times in the bible. I'm not sure how old the coptic psalmody is, but in it they liken the seven lamps of the old testament candlestand to the seven sacraments. Also, even though Arians and Nestorians didn't have the same sacraments, they did have exactly seven.
I don't think funeral procedures should be a sacrament since it is done after the person has died. Consecrating a church is done to a building, not to a human being, so it cannot be a sacrament. Why don't you feel that monastic (i don't know what tonsure means) should be included in holy orders?
I thought we view all non-sacramental marriages as invalid and consider the couple to be fornicators. Are you saying that it was okay in the early church to have a marriage done by the state?
The number seven is very important in Christianity, and it no doubt played into the West's consideration when they chose the number. But, as has been stated earlier, no such limitations existed for fifteen hundred years.
In an Orthodox funeral, the newly-departed is prayed for, anointed with oil and given a final absolution. That sounds very sacramental to me. Why are sacraments limited to people? Mysteries are simply the grace of God being bestowed upon his Church. The consecration of a temple is certainly a grace-filled mystery, in spite of it not being done to a person, it is something done for the Church. And tonsuring of a monastic isn't quite the same as holy orders. It isn't a specific dispensation for a liturgical role, it is simply the consecration of a human being to a specific way of life, much like marriage, but is surely is a very serious grace-filled mystery.
I'm not saying that marriage wasn't originally seen as sacramental. St. Paul speaks very clearly about the sacramentality of marriage in his epistles. However, the marriage service was civil before being taken over by the Church. The civil service would be conducted, and then the union blessed by the Church. Later on, the Churches role in blessing the marriage grew into an entire service. Both ways are sacramental, and were seen that way at the time. I'm not saying marriage "became" a sacrament later, I'm saying that the marriage service as it is today was a later development. The understanding of marriage, however, is ancient.
So, in conclusion, are civil marriages okay? Please answer.
Also, pray for me. I feel so lost after what I've just learned.
No. An Orthodox Christian is to be married in the Church. If he or she is married without the blessing of the Church, it is fornication.
However, if a non-Orthodox couple has a civil ceremony, and later come to Orthodoxy, they should be received into the Church as a married couple.