Author Topic: Marriage Ceremonies  (Read 1130 times)

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Offline Joseph Hazen

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Marriage Ceremonies
« on: October 20, 2011, 03:40:27 PM »
A recent discussion on another forum has me thinking.

I was taught that something of the bond of marriage continues in Eternity. Obviously while sex is left behind one's wife on Earth is still your wife in Heaven, even if that means something different than what it does on Earth.

The Western Rite marriage service seems very different. There are vows, and they say "till death do us part." (At least, there are in the service from the book Orthodox Prayers of Old England) I also thought it was interesting that there's a part where the father-of-the-bride gives her away. As a Roman Catholic that was regarded as an offensive Protestant tradition where men were regarded as the 'owners' of women. It's not found in the old Roman Catholic ritual that I know of. Where does it come from?)

When was this service written, do we know? Where does it come from, and should it be revised to align more with Orthodox theology (presuming, of course, that what I was taught was Orthodox theology to begin with)

Also, the crowns in the Western Rite seem sort of superfluous. Are they an original part of the service, or were they added as an Easternization? Not judging that one way or the other, just curious.

Offline Fr.Aidan

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Re: Marriage Ceremonies
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011, 04:17:50 PM »
The Lord teaches that in heaven we neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are "as the angels," that is, the earthly kind of relationships do not extend into the greater heavenly reality.

"Till death do us part" does not verbally exclude the time after death. In Matthew 1:25 it says of the virgin Mary that Joseph "knew her not" (did not have sex with her) "till she brought forth her firstborn Son." That does NOT mean that he "knew" her afterwards; on the contrary, we teach that she is Ever-Virgin, a virgin before, during and after giving birth.

The giving away of the bride is a custom of the old Roman rite and is found in the Eastern rites as well in various forms. It is a change of one man who was the protector of the vulnerable female, to another protecting man. How far that ultimately derives from "ownership" concepts is quite debatable, but it's a stretch to take it in any literal sense, just as the injunction for wives to obey their husbands does not mean they are slaves.

The service is an ancient one, the main features of which are found in the 1st century and more clearly in documents of the 8th, 9th, and 10th centuries. It requires no revision to be in the fullness of Orthodox theology.

The crowns are an ancient part of the Western service but are not as prominent in that service as in the Eastern rite service. Therefore, the crowning custom sort of diminished over time in the West. By the end of the middle ages, often only the woman had a crown (wreath), and nowadays even that has been lost from the modern Western rites. By no means are they a Byzantinization of the service; the use of metal crowns for the bride and groom is mentioned by Pope Nicholas I of Rome in the middle of the ninth century for the Roman rite.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Marriage Ceremonies
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2011, 04:26:53 PM »
A recent discussion on another forum has me thinking.

I was taught that something of the bond of marriage continues in Eternity. Obviously while sex is left behind one's wife on Earth is still your wife in Heaven, even if that means something different than what it does on Earth.

The Western Rite marriage service seems very different. There are vows, and they say "till death do us part." (At least, there are in the service from the book Orthodox Prayers of Old England) I also thought it was interesting that there's a part where the father-of-the-bride gives her away. As a Roman Catholic that was regarded as an offensive Protestant tradition where men were regarded as the 'owners' of women. It's not found in the old Roman Catholic ritual that I know of. Where does it come from?)
No, I don't think you can blame this one on the Protestants.  You did need your parents permission, in particular the father, for the marriage to be canonically valid.  As for owners of women, that was an old, established rule of Roman law: women, like minors, could not act as legal persons.

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Offline Joseph Hazen

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Re: Marriage Ceremonies
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2011, 04:32:41 PM »
The service is an ancient one, the main features of which are found in the 1st century and more clearly in documents of the 8th, 9th, and 10th centuries. It requires no revision to be in the fullness of Orthodox theology.

Father, bless.

When was the Eastern service written, do you happen to know? Do the two services share a common ancestor, or were they entirely different from the beginning?

Quote
The crowns are an ancient part of the Western service but are not as prominent in that service as in the Eastern rite service. Therefore, the crowning custom sort of diminished over time in the West. By the end of the middle ages, often only the woman had a crown (wreath), and nowadays even that has been lost from the modern Western rites. By no means are they a Byzantinization of the service; the use of metal crowns for the bride and groom is mentioned by Pope Nicholas I of Rome in the middle of the ninth century for the Roman rite.

Hadn't thought about the bridal wreath, that's interesting.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Marriage Ceremonies
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2011, 04:37:15 PM »
The Lord teaches that in heaven we neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are "as the angels," that is, the earthly kind of relationships do not extend into the greater heavenly reality.
That is not exactly how St. Luke explains it, Father. 20:36.  Nor it seems the Fathers and the canons, which describe remarriage of widows and widowers as "polygamy."  It would be rather odd that Christ speaks of the consumation of the Age like the consumation of a marriage, and Revelation ends (22:17) as a wedding feast, if marriage was just a transitory arrangement.

Somewhere we had a thread on this point.

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Fr.Aidan

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Re: Marriage Ceremonies
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2011, 05:19:29 PM »
I did not state that marriage was a transitory arrangement.

Offline Alpo

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Re: Marriage Ceremonies
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2011, 12:07:25 AM »
Nor it seems the Fathers and the canons, which describe remarriage of widows and widowers as "polygamy."

Could you cite some relevant canons and Fathers on the issue? Not that I doubted what you are saying but I'd like to see clear quotes anyway.
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