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HandmaidenofGod
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« on: June 15, 2011, 12:19:50 AM »

Mods: I wasn't sure whether to put this under "other" or "family" issues, please move accordingly.

My boyfriend and I have gotten pretty serious in our relationship, and although we are not engaged yet, we are discussing marriage. He considers himself Agnostic, and was raised in a mixed-faith setting. (His mother is from Thailand and nominally practices Buddhism, and his father comes from an Evangelical Christian background.) He is unsure as to whether or not he was ever baptized. Although he doesn't practice any religion, he is not hostile to it and is open to being married in the Church and raising our kids in the Church.

I wrote to my parish priest, and he said that since my boyfriend is not a Christian, it is not common practice within the diocese to permit marriages to non-Christians. He said if my boyfriend was willing to be baptized, he would marry us; otherwise, I would have to take my case to the Bishop.

My question is this; is this worth pursuing with the Bishop, or is an Orthodox Christian marrying a non-Christian forbidden?

I know the Hagiography of the Church has examples of Saints marrying non-Christians (St. Monica, St. Xenia of St Petersburg), so is what I am asking unreasonable if my future spouse is willing to support me in my faith?

I don't want to ask my bf to be baptized, as he would be proclaiming to be something he is not; a follower of Christ.

Note: I am not interested in opinions as to whether or not I should be even dating a non-Christian. I'm simply looking for an answer as to whether or not Orthodox Christians can marry non-Christians in the Church.

Thank you
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2011, 12:34:45 AM »

Mods: I wasn't sure whether to put this under "other" or "family" issues, please move accordingly.

My boyfriend and I have gotten pretty serious in our relationship, and although we are not engaged yet, we are discussing marriage. He considers himself Agnostic, and was raised in a mixed-faith setting. (His mother is from Thailand and nominally practices Buddhism, and his father comes from an Evangelical Christian background.) He is unsure as to whether or not he was ever baptized. Although he doesn't practice any religion, he is not hostile to it and is open to being married in the Church and raising our kids in the Church.

I wrote to my parish priest, and he said that since my boyfriend is not a Christian, it is not common practice within the diocese to permit marriages to non-Christians. He said if my boyfriend was willing to be baptized, he would marry us; otherwise, I would have to take my case to the Bishop.

My question is this; is this worth pursuing with the Bishop, or is an Orthodox Christian marrying a non-Christian forbidden?

I know the Hagiography of the Church has examples of Saints marrying non-Christians (St. Monica, St. Xenia of St Petersburg), so is what I am asking unreasonable if my future spouse is willing to support me in my faith?

I don't want to ask my bf to be baptized, as he would be proclaiming to be something he is not; a follower of Christ.

Note: I am not interested in opinions as to whether or not I should be even dating a non-Christian. I'm simply looking for an answer as to whether or not Orthodox Christians can marry non-Christians in the Church.

Thank you

Dear sister,
Please do not take this as being snarky or sarcastic.  I appreciate that this is a very serious matter to you (as well it should be); but it seems as if your priest has already answered your question.  Also, the Apostle Paul has given us some rather helpful advice as well when he said, "Do not be unequally yoked."  If you have really submitted yourself (as it seems you have from my reading your posts over the years), then you'll either submit to your priest or follow it up with the Bishop.  But you must ask yourself what you will do if your Bishop echos what your priest has said.  What then?  Are you prepared to hear that?  When the heart becomes involved, it becomes very difficult to discern the right direction.  I will pray for you, though.  
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 12:49:22 AM by GabrieltheCelt » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2011, 12:51:59 AM »

I'm sure that if he really loves you then he will convert.  It happens a lot when one spouse is devout religious and the other is nominal or of no faith.

Since he describes himself as "agnostic:" then Orthodoxy might be true to him, so why not join up.
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2011, 02:44:45 AM »

I wouldn't ask him to convert or to be baptized. I would ask that he attend inquirers classes to learn about Orthodoxy. Being "open" to raising the children Orthodox is not a guarantee. He needs to know what Orthodoxy is so he can know whether he would allow your children to be raised Orthodox. Until he is informed about the faith, you shouldn't proceed to much farther into making the relationship more "serious."
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2011, 02:39:43 PM »

I wrote to my parish priest, and he said that since my boyfriend is not a Christian, it is not common practice within the diocese to permit marriages to non-Christians. He said if my boyfriend was willing to be baptized, he would marry us; otherwise, I would have to take my case to the Bishop.

My question is this; is this worth pursuing with the Bishop, or is an Orthodox Christian marrying a non-Christian forbidden?

It is 'forbidden'--by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans. However, it is forbidden in the sense that the Church is trying to stop you from making a really big mistake rather than in the sense that it is inherently immoral. As such, your bishop does have the authority to make an exception and allow it based on the specific circumstances and people involved. Of course, as your shepherd, he also has the authority to listen to your case, talk to your boyfriend, and decide its not something he can bless and refuse. So if you really think that your specific circumstance is a good idea despite the general advice of the Church, then yes, it is definitely worth pursuing with the bishop--but you need to do so viewing it as an actual petition and not something you can expect by right. The bishop is responsible for his care of your soul and if he decides to violate the general advice of the Church and bless your wedding, he will answer to God for his failure if it turns out badly.

On the subject of not wanting him to convert for you, I suggest a review of the Book of Ruth. It's not the ideal motive for conversion, but converting for the sake of a loved one can still be a true conversion.
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2011, 03:12:37 PM »


Handmaiden!  He seems like a really nice young man...and I KNOW you are head over heels for him.

Bring him to church on Sundays.  Tell him what it's all about.  Expose him to Orthodoxy!  Not just inside the church...but, hang out with Orthodox...introduce him to what we believe...and let him see us living the Faith.  It must might light a spark of interest.

Conversion for the sake of marriage, isn't really conversion....however, he might actually be open to a true conversion, if he realized what we are about!

You need to be excited about your Faith...and as he's crazy about you, he will be interested in whatever interests you!

I wish you all the best!  I am glad to see you have found someone.  I hope he is THE one...and I hope he truly finds Orthodoxy...and then the bishop won't have to decide yay or nay.

Praying for you (and him).  Smiley

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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2011, 03:19:07 PM »

I wouldn't ask him to convert or to be baptized. I would ask that he attend inquirers classes to learn about Orthodoxy. Being "open" to raising the children Orthodox is not a guarantee. He needs to know what Orthodoxy is so he can know whether he would allow your children to be raised Orthodox. Until he is informed about the faith, you shouldn't proceed to much farther into making the relationship more "serious."

Completely agree. I don't think it would be fair to ask him to convert "cold-turkey." But if he can learn about the faith and come into it knowing what's what, he can be better informed and able to bear the yoke of marriage equally with you. The hope, Lord willing, would be that he converts for his own sake, and not simply for your sake.

A couple at my parish became catechumens at the time of their engagement, and were chrismated a few weeks before their marriage. It is an ideal time to think about religion—as you are preparing to join your lives, religion is one factor that also needs to be straightened out. This is especially so in concert with whatever marriage classes your parish would offer. It all could dovetail rather well.

And pray with the fervor of St. Monica for her son Augustine.

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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2011, 03:26:50 PM »

And pray with the fervor of St. Monica for her son Augustine.



Expect your wedding date in 2031 then.  angel

Seriously, best of luck. I am sure this is can be painful. In my prayers.
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2011, 03:32:10 PM »

Mods: I wasn't sure whether to put this under "other" or "family" issues, please move accordingly.

My boyfriend and I have gotten pretty serious in our relationship, and although we are not engaged yet, we are discussing marriage. He considers himself Agnostic, and was raised in a mixed-faith setting. (His mother is from Thailand and nominally practices Buddhism, and his father comes from an Evangelical Christian background.) He is unsure as to whether or not he was ever baptized. Although he doesn't practice any religion, he is not hostile to it and is open to being married in the Church and raising our kids in the Church.

I wrote to my parish priest, and he said that since my boyfriend is not a Christian, it is not common practice within the diocese to permit marriages to non-Christians. He said if my boyfriend was willing to be baptized, he would marry us; otherwise, I would have to take my case to the Bishop.


Thank you


Even if you approach your bishop, it will not make any difference.  You cannot marry a non-Christian in the Orthodox Church.  This may be a sign to you to evaluate your relationship with him.  And the cost of marrying outside your faith.
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2011, 04:01:20 PM »

If he is not open towards Christianity at all, then there could very well be problems.  Big ones.
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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2011, 04:26:05 PM »

Mods: I wasn't sure whether to put this under "other" or "family" issues, please move accordingly.

My boyfriend and I have gotten pretty serious in our relationship, and although we are not engaged yet, we are discussing marriage. He considers himself Agnostic, and was raised in a mixed-faith setting. (His mother is from Thailand and nominally practices Buddhism, and his father comes from an Evangelical Christian background.) He is unsure as to whether or not he was ever baptized. Although he doesn't practice any religion, he is not hostile to it and is open to being married in the Church and raising our kids in the Church.

I wrote to my parish priest, and he said that since my boyfriend is not a Christian, it is not common practice within the diocese to permit marriages to non-Christians. He said if my boyfriend was willing to be baptized, he would marry us; otherwise, I would have to take my case to the Bishop.


Thank you


Even if you approach your bishop, it will not make any difference. You cannot marry a non-Christian in the Orthodox Church.  This may be a sign to you to evaluate your relationship with him.  And the cost of marrying outside your faith.

How then did the Jewish girl marry the Russian man in "Fiddler on the Roof"?

  I'm sure that some exceptions are made in cases of non Christians who want to marry Orthodox.  My Church does for sure. I have an aunt who married a Jewish man.  This was way back in the 70's when the idea of "interfaith" marriage was still somewhat controversial in the RCC.  They couldn't find a priest in the Phil. Archdiocese to marry them so they had to get one from liberal diocese in NJ to perform the wedding (Alongside a Rabbi). Unfortunately my aunt has allowed her two sons to be raised Jewish, while she still identifies as Catholic.  What can you do?
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 04:30:52 PM by Robb » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2011, 04:33:01 PM »

an old friend of mine married a non-Christian.
whenever i speak to her she sounds depressed, bored or both.

Christian life is exciting! trying to share it with someone who doesn't care eventually drags you down.
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2011, 04:40:27 PM »

Quote
Note: I am not interested in opinions as to whether or not I should be even dating a non-Christian. I'm simply looking for an answer as to whether or not Orthodox Christians can marry non-Christians in the Church.

Doesn't it say in the bible that a non religious person is covered by the husband or wifes belief in God?? I have been looking for it where but i can't remember how it's worded to even google it, sorry. But i'm sure i read it in there.
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2011, 04:46:23 PM »

My question is this; is this worth pursuing with the Bishop, or is an Orthodox Christian marrying a non-Christian forbidden?

I know the Hagiography of the Church has examples of Saints marrying non-Christians (St. Monica, St. Xenia of St Petersburg), so is what I am asking unreasonable if my future spouse is willing to support me in my faith?

1.  Asking your Bishop would be a waste of time.  If the UOC-USA's guidelines are similar to the GOA's, there's no way that a Bishop would grant Economy and allow you to marry a non-Christian.

Quote from: GOA Interfaith Website
Since the Sacrament of Marriage is a Christian ceremony, and the Orthodox Church does not perform the Sacrament of Marriage for an Orthodox Christian and an un-baptized person, non-Orthodox Christians wishing to get married in the Orthodox Church must have been baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity. In addition, the Orthodox Church also does not perform the Sacrament of Marriage for two non-Orthodox Christians. At least one individual must be Orthodox in good standing with his or her parish.

In order to remain in proper canonical and spiritual standing with the Orthodox Church, Orthodox Christians must be married by an Orthodox priest, in an Orthodox Church, and in the manner prescribed by the priest’s service book.

Couples marrying in the Orthodox Church must also commit themselves to baptizing and raising their children in the Orthodox Church. Orthodox Christians who choose to baptize their future children in their partner’s church call into question their desire to live an Orthodox lifestyle. Such a decision also affects the Orthodox partner’s standing with his or her church.

2.  If you were a Saint of the Orthodox Church, you wouldn't need to marry anyone.   Wink
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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2011, 04:47:18 PM »

Quote
Note: I am not interested in opinions as to whether or not I should be even dating a non-Christian. I'm simply looking for an answer as to whether or not Orthodox Christians can marry non-Christians in the Church.

Doesn't it say in the bible that a non religious person is covered by the husband or wifes belief in God?? I have been looking for it where but i can't remember how it's worded to even google it, sorry. But i'm sure i read it in there.

It's for those already married, where one member of marriage has converted.
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« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2011, 05:03:14 PM »

How then did the Jewish girl marry the Russian man in "Fiddler on the Roof"?

a) "Fiddler on the Roof" is a work of fiction. Why assume they got it correct?
b) As I recall, the girl very clearly converted to Christianity when she married a Christian.
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« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2011, 05:40:23 PM »

Quote
Note: I am not interested in opinions as to whether or not I should be even dating a non-Christian. I'm simply looking for an answer as to whether or not Orthodox Christians can marry non-Christians in the Church.

Doesn't it say in the bible that a non religious person is covered by the husband or wifes belief in God?? I have been looking for it where but i can't remember how it's worded to even google it, sorry. But i'm sure i read it in there.

See orthonorm's post above, but for the record, check 1st Corinthians, chapter 7.
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« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2011, 05:58:33 PM »

Quote
Note: I am not interested in opinions as to whether or not I should be even dating a non-Christian. I'm simply looking for an answer as to whether or not Orthodox Christians can marry non-Christians in the Church.

Doesn't it say in the bible that a non religious person is covered by the husband or wifes belief in God?? I have been looking for it where but i can't remember how it's worded to even google it, sorry. But i'm sure i read it in there.

See orthonorm's post above, but for the record, check 1st Corinthians, chapter 7.

Thanks vamrat, yeah i'll check corinthians 7
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« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2011, 08:14:15 PM »

I'm sure that if he really loves you then he will convert.  It happens a lot when one spouse is devout religious and the other is nominal or of no faith.

Since he describes himself as "agnostic:" then Orthodoxy might be true to him, so why not join up.

You can't convert just because you want to marry.  Faith in Christ is required.

Handmaiden, marriage to a non-Christian is forbidden.  You won't be allowed to marry in the Church, and you will basically excommunicate yourself.

As far as the quote about a religious person covering for a non-religious spouse, I believe that would only be true if you were married before you became a Christian.    Remember that is very topic came up on one of the other boards that we both belong to.  An Orthodox woman had married a Jew.  She had her children baptized as Orthodox, but she herself cannot receive the sacraments because she married a non-Christian. 
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« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2011, 08:22:21 PM »

an old friend of mine married a non-Christian.
whenever i speak to her she sounds depressed, bored or both.

Christian life is exciting! trying to share it with someone who doesn't care eventually drags you down.

I agree.  I've known several Christians who've married non-Christians and the Christian spouse always seems to suffer spiritually.  Needless to say, the non-Christian spouse will want to do things on Sunday and not want the Christian spouse to go to church.  Soon, the Christian spouse isn't going to church much anymore.
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« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2011, 08:33:38 PM »


Being "Christian" doesn't help!  Your spouse needs to be Orthodox.

I know a couple where the wife is Orthodox, and the husband a lapsed R.Catholic.
He now stands in the way of Sunday church going...and tries to keep the kids home in front of the TV with him.
Even goes so far as to ridicule the Faith....because it's "strange".

He was fine when they got married, but, over the years....all the services, the traditions,....it all got to him.

For a solid marriage, and to truly be "one", the two should be of the same Faith.  No question.


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« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2011, 09:40:55 PM »


Being "Christian" doesn't help!  Your spouse needs to be Orthodox.

I know a couple where the wife is Orthodox, and the husband a lapsed R.Catholic.
He now stands in the way of Sunday church going...and tries to keep the kids home in front of the TV with him.
Even goes so far as to ridicule the Faith....because it's "strange".

He was fine when they got married, but, over the years....all the services, the traditions,....it all got to him.

For a solid marriage, and to truly be "one", the two should be of the same Faith.  No question.




This is not to bring into the question conversion for the sake of the marriage. Folks here know me in RL and others I know in RL, so I'll be very vague.

Even in the "most Orthodox" of homes, conversions for the sake of marriage have been tolerated with hope of a more serious change of heart later with little result.

Then again, the stories ain't over.

And in some jurisdictions in the US conversion for convenience ain't that big of deal nor uncommon, like in some RC parishes.
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« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2011, 09:14:06 AM »

Thank you all for your opinions.

My BF does attend Liturgy with me on Sundays and has expressed interest in learning about the faith. In regards to sending him to inquirers, classes, well, my parish doesn't have any. (We have no new inquirers!) Also, I wouldn't subject him to any catechism with my parish priest, as well, let's just say that would be an unpleasant experience for anyone.

Now that things are getting serious, I'm actually contemplating changing parishes, since my parish is so unwelcoming to newbies. In regards to having him convert just for my sake; I feel that would be spiritually and intellectually dishonest. If he chooses to be baptized and chrismated in the Church, I want it to be because he believes that the Church is the true faith. Not just because he wants to please me. We will all be judged for our actions; how harsh would it be for someone to pretend to "put on Christ" rather than to be honest with themselves and say, "I don't accept him at all." No, if he converts, let it be for the right reasons.

Also, the saints who married outside of the faith were not saints when they married. It is because of their great faith and their prayers for their spouse that they were later recognized as saints. So no, I am not a saint. But isn't that what I'm supposed to be working towards?

Or have we all but thrown theosis out the window except for those who live Christian lives according to this board's standards?

I recognize that the probability of my Bishop saying "no" is high. But I will ask nevertheless.

In the interim, I will pray for the salvation of my BF's soul, and that he will come to know the true faith. I ask that you pray for him as well.

Thank you.



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« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2011, 04:12:56 PM »


Being "Christian" doesn't help!  Your spouse needs to be Orthodox.

I know a couple where the wife is Orthodox, and the husband a lapsed R.Catholic.
He now stands in the way of Sunday church going...and tries to keep the kids home in front of the TV with him.
Even goes so far as to ridicule the Faith....because it's "strange".

He was fine when they got married, but, over the years....all the services, the traditions,....it all got to him.

For a solid marriage, and to truly be "one", the two should be of the same Faith.  No question.




This kind of problem can be encountered by men of any religion, not just Orthodox.  It doesn't matter if your both in the same Church, but on how  committed to that Church both of you are.
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« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2011, 08:39:58 PM »

I know the Hagiography of the Church has examples of Saints marrying non-Christians (St. Monica, St. Xenia of St Petersburg),

I'm seriously scratching my head, wondering where you got the idea that St. Xenia was married to a non-Christian? Her husband went to a drinking party and then died without having receiving Confession and Communion. In other words, he wasn't properly prepared before death. Maybe St. Xenia's husband wasn't much of a practicing Russian Orthodox, but he would have been baptized in the Orthodox Church, nonetheless. St. Xenia took up the life of a fool for Christ as if to atone for her husband's sins and dying unprepared.

I'll reiterate what the others have said. It's just not usual practice in your diocese to forbid the marriages of non-Christians to Orthodox in the Church, but in *all* Orthodox Churches.

To put in very plainly, you will be excommunicating yourself if you marry outside the Church. That means whether you get married in a civil ceremony or in another religious tradition (including other Christian traditions). If married outside the Church, you won't be able to receive *any* of the sacraments, and you also would not be able to serve as a godparent in the Orthodox Church.

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« Reply #25 on: June 18, 2011, 10:59:18 PM »

I know the Hagiography of the Church has examples of Saints marrying non-Christians (St. Monica, St. Xenia of St Petersburg),

I'm seriously scratching my head, wondering where you got the idea that St. Xenia was married to a non-Christian? Her husband went to a drinking party and then died without having receiving Confession and Communion. In other words, he wasn't properly prepared before death. Maybe St. Xenia's husband wasn't much of a practicing Russian Orthodox, but he would have been baptized in the Orthodox Church, nonetheless. St. Xenia took up the life of a fool for Christ as if to atone for her husband's sins and dying unprepared.

I'll reiterate what the others have said. It's just not usual practice in your diocese to forbid the marriages of non-Christians to Orthodox in the Church, but in *all* Orthodox Churches.

To put in very plainly, you will be excommunicating yourself if you marry outside the Church. That means whether you get married in a civil ceremony or in another religious tradition (including other Christian traditions). If married outside the Church, you won't be able to receive *any* of the sacraments, and you also would not be able to serve as a godparent in the Orthodox Church.

If the OP married outside of the Orthodox Church, it is possible for her to confess to her Priest who has the discretion to allow her to continue receiving Holy Communion.  She may not be able to serve as a Godparent or Sponsor or serve on any Church Parish Council or Metropolitan/Diocesan Councils (if they exist in the UOC-USA).

Speaking from experience, I married outside of the Orthodox Church and informed my Priest accordingly; however, one's results may vary with one's Priest and one's Orthodox Jurisdiction.  Excommunication is a very strong penalty; however, receiving the Eucharist "may" be more important than serving in the capacities listed in the above paragraph.
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« Reply #26 on: June 19, 2011, 06:40:08 AM »

Did you marry a non-Christian outside the Church?  That is the main problem here.  If you marry another Christian outside the Church, it can be remedied so that a person can be a member in good standing and receive the sacraments.  Marrying a non-Christian is a different story. I question whether a priest would be allowed to decide to give the sacraments in this case, since the priest has already made it clear that the decision is up to the bishop. 
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« Reply #27 on: June 19, 2011, 10:50:14 AM »

It will be harder.  On Sundays you will be thinking about heading to Liturgy and being with God, while your husband-to-be will be wondering if God even exists.  At some point your husband-to-be may wonder why you do not spend time with him.  If you do go through with it, will your financee be willing to go through pre-marital counseling with an Orthodox priest?
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« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2011, 02:14:50 PM »

I'm not sure if the question was directed at me; however, I will answer the questions posed:

Did you marry a non-Christian outside the Church?  

My ex-wife was never baptized; so the answer is yes.

That is the main problem here.  If you marry another Christian outside the Church, it can be remedied so that a person can be a member in good standing and receive the sacraments.  Marrying a non-Christian is a different story.

I agree with you in theory.  In practice, even devout Orthodox Christians succumb to great temptations.

I question whether a priest would be allowed to decide to give the sacraments in this case, since the priest has already made it clear that the decision is up to the bishop. 

Some people play Jurisdictional ping-pong because one Jurisdiction does X and another Jurisdiction does Y.  No Orthodox Jurisdiction would marry the OP with a non-Christian; however, not every Orthodox Jurisdiction would automatically deny the Sacraments to the OP.  If the Episcopal Assembly establishes a consistent response to Orthodox Christians marrying non-Christians, than that is fine - Until then, the situation is what it is.
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« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2011, 02:27:29 PM »

There is an issue I didn't even see addressed...

OP is engaged to a non-Christian. Her bishop says she can't marry him in the Church. She is informed of consequences of marrying outside the Orthodox Church by her priest and bishop - excommunicated. Say she goes ahead and marries fiance in civil ceremony.

Not saying the OP has this mindset, but I've seen it in others - I think the attitude of '"oh, I'll just go ahead and marry him, and I'll be unable to receive Communion for X number of months but they'll let me back in eventually" raises a bunch o' red flags with me. Someone marries a non-Christian, knows the consequences for the action, and confesses later (how much later? Two months? Six months? A year?), hoping to be allowed back into Communion? I've known a person in this situation and the way things went down with this person, who willfully thumbed his nose at the Church (he also shacked up with his girlfriend for months before they were married outside the Church) and his attitude, I truly wonder if he was actually sorry for what he did or just pretended to be sorry.

Now on the other hand, I've known cradle Orthodox who truly were unaware that getting married outside the Church, let alone to a non-Christian, rendered them unable to receive the sacraments. They only found out after marriage about the pickle they were now in with the Church. In those cases, I could much more easily see the bishop allowing the Orthodox person to receive the sacraments again.

There is also a related pastoral issue: say the bishop does allow such an Orthodox back into Communion. Couple moves and ends up at an Orthodox parish in another jurisdiction. Say it's a jurisdiction that requires marriage in the Orthodox Church for a couple married outside the Church. But since the non-Orthodox spouse is a non-Christian that's not going to happen. So, does the priest in this different parish go to his bishop for permission for the Orthodox married to non-Orthodox to receive the sacraments? And what if this different bishop says no?

OP, so what WILL you do if your bishop says no? Have you seriously thought about that? Will you marry your fiance outside the Church or just wait a while and see if he wants to convert?

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« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2011, 02:31:19 PM »

double post
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« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2011, 02:38:17 PM »

Not saying the OP has this mindset, but I've seen it in others - I think the attitude of '"oh, I'll just go ahead and marry him, and I'll be unable to receive Communion for X number of months but they'll let me back in eventually" raises a bunch o' red flags with me.

Why?

Someone marries a non-Christian, knows the consequences for the action, and confesses later (how much later? Two months? Six months? A year?), hoping to be allowed back into Communion?

We all sin in one way or another.  It is up to the Priest to bind and loosen - not you, not me.  We have to live with the consequences of what the Priest tells us.

Now on the other hand, I've known cradle Orthodox who truly were unaware that getting married outside the Church, let alone to a non-Christian, rendered them unable to receive the sacraments.

I knew what I was doing was uncanonical....

They only found out after marriage about the pickle they were now in with the Church. In those cases, I could much more easily see the bishop allowing the Orthodox person to receive the sacraments again.

Do you believe that the Bishop must make every decision pertaining to an Orthodox Christian?  Do you trust Priests, who stand in place of the Bishop, to act in a pastorally sensitive manner?   Huh

There is also a related pastoral issue: say the bishop does allow such an Orthodox back into Communion. Couple moves and ends up at an Orthodox parish in another jurisdiction. Say it's a jurisdiction that requires marriage in the Orthodox Church for a couple married outside the Church.

Same thing - the Orthodox spouse will tell his/her Priest that the other spouse is a non-Christian and will be dealt with accordingly.

But since the non-Orthodox spouse is a non-Christian that's not going to happen. So, does the priest in this different parish go to his bishop for permission for the Orthodox married to non-Orthodox to receive the sacraments? And what if this different bishop says no?

If the OCA requires each Bishop to make every decision for every Orthodox Christian within their Diocese, I don't know how to respond.  I trust my Priest because my Metropolitan is already going to so many places in so short periods of time - he isn't going to ascertain whether I should receive Communion because I married a non-Christian at a destination resort wedding....   Roll Eyes

OP, so what WILL you do if your bishop says no? Have you seriously thought about that? Will you marry your fiance outside the Church or just wait a while and see if he wants to convert?

That is her decision to make, not ours....
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« Reply #32 on: June 19, 2011, 03:01:58 PM »

I've been told that for questions concerning marriage outside the Church to *non-Orthodox* and people wanting to come back into communion with the Church, the priest goes to the bishop.
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« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2011, 03:55:22 PM »

I've been told that for questions concerning marriage outside the Church to *non-Orthodox* and people wanting to come back into communion with the Church, the priest goes to the bishop.

OK, you're correct.   Smiley  As I said in another thread, we excommunicate ourselves on a daily basis and the Church exists to heal us of our sins.  I don't think the OP should be denied the sacraments if she marries a non-Christian outside of the Church; however, my opinion doesn't matter much.   Sad
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« Reply #34 on: June 20, 2011, 10:49:20 AM »

How then did the Jewish girl marry the Russian man in "Fiddler on the Roof"?

a) "Fiddler on the Roof" is a work of fiction. Why assume they got it correct?
b) As I recall, the girl very clearly converted to Christianity when she married a Christian.

a) It was in a movie. Hence, every single possible detail was accurate and true. There's no way anything in it was inaccurate or misplaced or even fictitious.
b) That was the impression that I got too.
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« Reply #35 on: June 22, 2011, 05:12:52 AM »

I've never heard that any of the Holy Orthodox Churches allow marriage to a non-Christian by the church. In fact, allowing Trinitarian Christians who are not Orthodox to marry an Orthodox spouse in the church, which is common on the ACOB (former SCOBA) ecclesial jurisdictions in the North America, but not within the Holy Orthodox Churches abroad, is an exercise in economy.

It might be possible, though, to seek counsel from your parish priest, who, in consultation with the bishop, might possibly, if you marry civilly, allow you to continue to attend the Divine Services, but prohibit you from Holy Communion for a time of penance, and by "economy," allow you to return to the good standing of the Church at a later date.
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« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2011, 05:40:38 PM »

I wouldn't ask him to convert or to be baptized. I would ask that he attend inquirers classes to learn about Orthodoxy. Being "open" to raising the children Orthodox is not a guarantee. He needs to know what Orthodoxy is so he can know whether he would allow your children to be raised Orthodox. Until he is informed about the faith, you shouldn't proceed to much farther into making the relationship more "serious."

All of this is a moot point, since AFAIK, Orthodox Christians cannot marry persons who have not received a Trinitarian baptism, in the Church. If an Orthodox Christian chooses to do so, then they are also not considered "in good standing."

Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer in these situations, that does not involve the potential for misunderstanding and hurt feelings.

When we make choices or decisions that are not what the Church believes, preaches and teaches, such as deciding to marry a non-Christian, then by our choices, we have voluntarily placed ourselves outside the community, outside the unity.

As you know, the Orthodox Church believes that marriage is more than a private transaction between two people. Rather marriage is a sacrament, an event in which Jesus Christ Himself participates. If we understand the "ecclesial" dimension of marriage, then we also understand why marrying a non-Christian is a personal choice that places us outside the Church. People are never forced to marry “outside the Church” – that is the decision of the individual.  Orthodox Christians who choose to enter into marriage with a non-Christian are no longer considered in good standing with their Church and are unable to fully and actively participate in its life, including receiving Holy Communion. This self-imposed restriction on full participation in the sacramental life of the Church is a matter not only of ecclesiology but also common sense – if we do not believe or follow the teachings and practices of the faith, why would we want to participate in its Sacraments?

I encourage you to speak to your priest and discuss your feelings with him. He will explain the matter much better than I can.

I know that you have shared elsewhere your feelings on being raised in home with parents who had differing beliefs, although both were Christian, and how this resulted in feelings of not belonging anywhere. To a certain extent, I understand these feelings since my parents were of different beliefts as well. Although they were loving and respectful of each other's beliefs, I'm sure it was very lonely for my mother to go to church alone all those years, and vice versa. As a small child, I couldn't understand why I would go to one church with Dad and another with Mom, and they were never together. Children notice these things and I felt lonely and afraid.
It's not something I would want my child to go through. Nor would I want my faith, the deepest, truest part of my self, to be a source of conflict or compromise.
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« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2011, 05:58:40 PM »


All of this is a moot point, since AFAIK, Orthodox Christians cannot marry persons who have not received a Trinitarian baptism, in the Church.

Your last prepositional phrase is ambiguous to me.

It is modifying the Baptism or "where" Orthodox can marry Trinitarian baptized Christians?
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« Reply #38 on: June 24, 2011, 11:11:33 AM »

Quote from: orthonorm link=topic=37149.msg590285#msg590285
"where" Orthodox can marry Trinitarian baptized Christians?
This one.

In order for an Orthodox to marry a non-Orthodox "in the Orthodox Church," that is, to participate in and receive the Sacrament of Marriage, the non-Orthodox person must have received a Trinitarian baptism.
I know that this is the requirement in the OCA and GOARCH. I think it may be the same for all the other jurisdictions, but I don't have direct knowledge.
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