I have a friend who until recently I thought had been married and divorced, all occurring outside of the Orthodox Church even though her and her "husband" are both baptized Orthodox. Now I have recently found out that they were never married but did have two children together and considered themselves unofficially married. He is no longer in the picture (has been gone for at least 4 years) and she has seen come to realize the folly of her thinking.
Unfortunately her sister is in a somewhat similar situation. We were discussing the canons related to this issue. Does anyone know where I can find the canons on how the Orthodox Church "penances" an Orthodox Christian who has children outside of marriage, lives with a man (or woman) for awhile but then gives up that relationship, or can give me a link to the pertinent info? I realize the Bishop has much discretion in this area (depending on who you talk to) but I would like to read the canons for myself.
Thanks in advance.