Author Topic: Orthodox Christians who have children outside of marriage  (Read 655 times)

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Offline Tobit

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Orthodox Christians who have children outside of marriage
« on: June 08, 2011, 06:29:11 PM »
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.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2011, 06:30:25 PM by Tobit »

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Orthodox Christians who have children outside of marriage
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2011, 07:12:22 PM »

Offline William

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Re: Orthodox Christians who have children outside of marriage
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 07:14:03 PM »
^ Lol
Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly. - Immanuel Kant

Offline Melodist

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Re: Orthodox Christians who have children outside of marriage
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2011, 07:33:27 PM »
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.

I don't know the canons, but I do know that this is something that should be discussed with someone's priest.
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Orthodox Christians who have children outside of marriage
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2011, 07:49:55 PM »
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?

You will find when asking around the clergy that most priests have never assigned a penance in their lives.

There may be an exception to this, the matter of abortion.  The canons call for 7 years excommunication.  Some priests may ask for one or two years.

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Orthodox Christians who have children outside of marriage
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2011, 08:57:40 PM »
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?

Canons (especially in the plural) do not discuss this specific issue. However, you should look up Nyssa 4 and Basil 22, 25, 26, 38. Those would be the most relevant ones. Basically, they say that anyone who has sex outside of marriage should have three years of penance, but both Basil and especially Gregory of Nyssa emphasize that the confessor must adjust the sentence depending on the person's contrition. So, ultimately, it is all up to the confessing priest. A lay person cannot give themselves a penance.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2011, 09:25:18 PM by pensateomnia »
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