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Author Topic: The History of Marriage within Orthodoxy  (Read 663 times) Average Rating: 0
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Santagranddad
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« on: August 29, 2013, 05:34:14 PM »

The question of same sex marriage has raised much debate in legislatures, the media and various communities across the Western world.

In England marriage before a priest only dates back to 1552. That sparked off a question in my head of when and what form did marriage originate in Orthodoxy? Such research as I have tried, limited as I am as a carer and now sitter for a puppy (time consuming or what?), didn't enlighten much.

Anyone got any information, please?
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2013, 05:38:33 PM »

My books and notes are locked away, so I defer to the expertise of others.  But basically, I think "church marriages" in terms of the Rites of Betrothal and Crowning are only about a thousand years old.  Prior to that, people would marry according to the prevailing cultural/legal norm and appear in the church and commune as husband and wife, and that "sacramentalised" the union. 
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2013, 05:44:32 PM »

Actually I've read that the Crowning ceremony goes back to the 4th century and the Cappadocian Fathers (there was also a pagan Greek custom of crowning the newly weds). I'll see if I can find the source. Marriage was never treated as a mere contract between husband and wife in the East, but as a Mystery of the Church.
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2013, 05:50:27 PM »

The question of same sex marriage has raised much debate in legislatures, the media and various communities across the Western world.

In England marriage before a priest only dates back to 1552. That sparked off a question in my head of when and what form did marriage originate in Orthodoxy? Such research as I have tried, limited as I am as a carer and now sitter for a puppy (time consuming or what?), didn't enlighten much.

Anyone got any information, please?

Where did you get the English data?   I don't think it is right.   In England priests were the only parties capable of solemnizing marriages, which, before the Reformation, were viewed as a sacrament solemnized by the couple with the priest as a witness.  

In all the Catholic states of Western Europe marriage could only be solemnized by a couple in the presence of a priest.  

Thats why, when Henry VIII mandated registration of baptisms, marriages and funerals in his realm in 1538, he required the priests to register them.  No one else really could.  It was only the Puritans in the 1600s who began the practice of marriage before a magistrate.  This was because they viewed marriage as a contractual covenant rather than a sacrament.  They viewed most relationships with God and man thusly which explains a lot.  But they forbade marriage before a clergyman for this reason.  It was the role of God's ordained government not His ordained Church.   In America marriage by a civil magistrate at the brides home was the norm well into the 1800s, as it was a tenet of Puritan thought.  Some immigrant groups such as Germans practiced church marriage however.  

The Quakers advocated self marriage from the late 1600s.   They rejected all clergy.  

In Russia the church also had a monopoly on marriage - civil marriage was not introduced until after the Revolution when religious marriage was given no legal effect.  It has none today.  Marriages before then had to be solemnized by a religious official of one's approved community, be it Orthodox, Catholic, Jewish or in some places Islamic.  

In Western Europe everything was done by the Church but the introduction of the Napoleonic Code in the 1800s began to change things there.  I am not familiar with this development as much.  
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2013, 06:21:26 PM »

Μόλις το 893 μΧ, με απόφαση του Λέοντος Σοφού επιβάλλεται η υποχρεωτική ιεροτελεστία του γάμου, σαν απαραίτητο στοιχείο Νομιμότητάς του, ενώ επί Αλεξίου Α' του Κομνηνού, καθιερώνεται η Ακολουθία του γάμου, που ισχύει έως σήμερα.Ανάλογα ρυθμίστηκε και η σχετική Νομοθεσία. ‘Ετσι:l)Το 14ο έτος θεωρείται νόμιμος ηλικία για νά έλθει σε γάμο ο άνδρας,ενώ για την γυναίκα το 12ο και αργότερα το 13ο έτος 2)Δεν επιτρέποταν η ελεύθερη σύναψη γάμου, παρά μόνο κατόπιν συγκαταθέσεως των πατεράδων.

Source

Only in 893 AD, by decree of Leo the Wise was the obligatory religious ceremony introduced as an indispensable element for the legality of a marriage, whereas the Wedding Service which is customary until this day was established under Alexis I Komnenos.

The legal age for marriage was 14 for men, 12 (latter 13) for women. Contracting a free marriage, without the consent of the parents, was not permitted.



(Wedding crowns made of brass from 10th century Byzantium)
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« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2013, 09:34:55 PM »

Μόλις το 893 μΧ, με απόφαση του Λέοντος Σοφού επιβάλλεται η υποχρεωτική ιεροτελεστία του γάμου, σαν απαραίτητο στοιχείο Νομιμότητάς του, ενώ επί Αλεξίου Α' του Κομνηνού, καθιερώνεται η Ακολουθία του γάμου, που ισχύει έως σήμερα.Ανάλογα ρυθμίστηκε και η σχετική Νομοθεσία. ‘Ετσι:l)Το 14ο έτος θεωρείται νόμιμος ηλικία για νά έλθει σε γάμο ο άνδρας,ενώ για την γυναίκα το 12ο και αργότερα το 13ο έτος 2)Δεν επιτρέποταν η ελεύθερη σύναψη γάμου, παρά μόνο κατόπιν συγκαταθέσεως των πατεράδων.

Source

Only in 893 AD, by decree of Leo the Wise was the obligatory religious ceremony introduced as an indispensable element for the legality of a marriage, whereas the Wedding Service which is customary until this day was established under Alexis I Komnenos.

The legal age for marriage was 14 for men, 12 (latter 13) for women. Contracting a free marriage, without the consent of the parents, was not permitted.



(Wedding crowns made of brass from 10th century Byzantium)

The crown for Emperor Leo's last marriage was made of irony, I bet.  Grin
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« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2013, 09:42:21 PM »

Actually I've read that the Crowning ceremony goes back to the 4th century and the Cappadocian Fathers (there was also a pagan Greek custom of crowning the newly weds). I'll see if I can find the source. Marriage was never treated as a mere contract between husband and wife in the East, but as a Mystery of the Church.
I'm a little tired, so I can't look it up right now, but Tertullian around 200 rails against Christians being crowned at weddings, i.e. they were doing it.
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« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2013, 10:16:35 PM »

Actually I've read that the Crowning ceremony goes back to the 4th century and the Cappadocian Fathers (there was also a pagan Greek custom of crowning the newly weds). I'll see if I can find the source. Marriage was never treated as a mere contract between husband and wife in the East, but as a Mystery of the Church.
I'm a little tired, so I can't look it up right now, but Tertullian around 200 rails against Christians being crowned at weddings, i.e. they were doing it.

But was crowning a liturgical rite that early, or was it a social/cultural nuptial custom that got incorporated into the liturgical rites developed in the ninth or tenth centuries? 
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« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2013, 10:51:00 PM »

In a letter to his friend Eusebius, St. Gregory of Nazianzus apologizes for not being able to attend a wedding because he was ill. He says that it befits the bride’s father to place the crown on the head of the pair:

Quote from: Epistola 231, PG 37, 373
Τἄλλα δὲ ὑμῖν μελέτω καὶ στεφανούτω πατήρ, ὡς εὔξατο. Τοῦτο γὰρ καὶ εἴ που γάμοις παραγεγόναμεν, ἐτυπώσαμεν· ἐκείνων μὲν εἶναι τοὺς στεφάνους, ἡμῶν δὲ τὰς εὐχάς, ἃς οἶδα μὴ τόποις ὁριζομένας.

You should take care of the rest and may the father crown (his daughter) as he wished. This is what we prescribed whenever we attended weddings: it befits the parents to place the crowns and us (bishops) to speak the prayers, which I know are not confined to the places (?).
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« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2013, 11:04:35 PM »

Also:

Quote from: St. John Chrysostom, 9th Homily on 1 Timothy 2, 9 (PG 62, 546)
Διὰ τοῦτο στέφανοι ταῖς κεφαλαῖς ἐπιτίθενται, σύμβολον τῆς νίκης, ὅτι ἀήττητοι γενόμενοι, οὕτω προσέρχονται τῇ εὐνῇ, ὅτι μὴ κατηγωνίσθησαν ὑπὸ τῆς ἡδονῆς. Εἰ δὲ ἁλοὺς ὑπὸ τῆς ἡδονῆς πόρναις ἑαυτὸν ἐκδῷ, τίνος ἕνεκεν λοιπὸν καὶ στέφανον ἔχει ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς, ἡττημένος;

Therefore crowns are placed on their heads as a symbol of victory; since they were undefiled, they proceed to the bedchamber unconquered by lust. But for him who was seized by it by giving himself to the whores, what reason is there to wear a crown on his head, once he was defeated?
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« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2013, 11:23:14 PM »

Also:

Quote from: St. John Chrysostom, 9th Homily on 1 Timothy 2, 9 (PG 62, 546)
Διὰ τοῦτο στέφανοι ταῖς κεφαλαῖς ἐπιτίθενται, σύμβολον τῆς νίκης, ὅτι ἀήττητοι γενόμενοι, οὕτω προσέρχονται τῇ εὐνῇ, ὅτι μὴ κατηγωνίσθησαν ὑπὸ τῆς ἡδονῆς. Εἰ δὲ ἁλοὺς ὑπὸ τῆς ἡδονῆς πόρναις ἑαυτὸν ἐκδῷ, τίνος ἕνεκεν λοιπὸν καὶ στέφανον ἔχει ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς, ἡττημένος;

Therefore crowns are placed on their heads as a symbol of victory; since they were undefiled, they proceed to the bedchamber unconquered by lust. But for him who was seized by it by giving himself to the whores, what reason is there to wear a crown on his head, once he was defeated?

Man, if that standard was maintained today, how many first marriages would actually be crownings?  Tongue 
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« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2013, 11:31:40 PM »

Also:

Quote from: St. John Chrysostom, 9th Homily on 1 Timothy 2, 9 (PG 62, 546)
Διὰ τοῦτο στέφανοι ταῖς κεφαλαῖς ἐπιτίθενται, σύμβολον τῆς νίκης, ὅτι ἀήττητοι γενόμενοι, οὕτω προσέρχονται τῇ εὐνῇ, ὅτι μὴ κατηγωνίσθησαν ὑπὸ τῆς ἡδονῆς. Εἰ δὲ ἁλοὺς ὑπὸ τῆς ἡδονῆς πόρναις ἑαυτὸν ἐκδῷ, τίνος ἕνεκεν λοιπὸν καὶ στέφανον ἔχει ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς, ἡττημένος;

Therefore crowns are placed on their heads as a symbol of victory; since they were undefiled, they proceed to the bedchamber unconquered by lust. But for him who was seized by it by giving himself to the whores, what reason is there to wear a crown on his head, once he was defeated?

Man, if that standard was maintained today, how many first marriages would actually be crownings?  Tongue  
Whores or women in general?

Let's at least differentiate sheesh.  Undecided
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« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2013, 11:39:48 PM »

Actually I've read that the Crowning ceremony goes back to the 4th century and the Cappadocian Fathers (there was also a pagan Greek custom of crowning the newly weds). I'll see if I can find the source. Marriage was never treated as a mere contract between husband and wife in the East, but as a Mystery of the Church.
I'm a little tired, so I can't look it up right now, but Tertullian around 200 rails against Christians being crowned at weddings, i.e. they were doing it.

Quote from: Tertullian, De corona militis, XIII
Coronatur et uulgus, nunc ex principalium prosperitatum exultatione, nunc ex municipalium sollemnitatum proprietate. Est enim omnis publicae laetitiae luxuria captatrix. Sed tu, peregrinus mundi huius et ciuis ciuitatis supernae Hierusalem, « Noster, inquit, municipatus in caelis », -- habes tuos census, tuos fastos, nihil tibi cum gaudiis saeculi, immo contrarium debes. « Saeculum enim gaudebit, uos uero lugebitis. » Et, puto, felices ait lugentes, non coronatos. Coronant et nuptiae sponsos. Et ideo non nubemus ethnicis, ne nos ad idololatriam usque deducant, a qua apud illos nuptiae incipiunt. Habes legem a patriarchis quidem, habes apostolum in Domino nubere iubentem. (...) Vniuersas, ut arbitror, causas enumerauimus, nec ulla nobiscum est : omnes alienae, profanae, inlicitae, semel iam in sacramenti testatione eieratae. Haec enim erant pompae diaboli et angelorum eius : officia saeculi, honores, sollemnitates, popularitates, falsa uota, humana seruitia, laudes uanae, gloriae turpes; et in omnibus istis idololatriae, in solo quoque censu coronarum, quibus omnia ista redimita sunt. .

The rabble, too, are crowned, at one time because of some great rejoicing for the success of the emperors; at another, on account of some custom belonging to municipal festivals. For luxury strives to make her own every occasion of public gladness. But as for you, you are a foreigner in this world, a citizen of Jerusalem, the city above. Our citizenship, the apostle says, is in heaven. You have your own registers, your own calendar; you have nothing to do with the joys of the world; nay, you are called to the very opposite, for "the world shall rejoice, but ye shall mourn." And I think the Lord affirms, that those who mourn are happy, not those who are crowned. Marriage, too, decks the bridegroom with its crown; and therefore we will not have heathen brides, lest they seduce us even to the idolatry with which among them marriage is initiated. You have the law from the patriarchs indeed; you have the apostle enjoining people to marry in the Lord. (...) We have recounted, as I think, all the various causes of the wearing of the crown, and there is not one which has any place with us: all are foreign to us, unholy, unlawful, having been abjured already once for all in the solemn declaration of the sacrament. For they were of the pomp of the devil and his angels, offices of the world, honours, festivals, popularity huntings, false vows, exhibitions of human servility, empty praises, base glories, and in them all idolatry, even in respect of the origin of the crowns alone, with which they are all wreathed.

Source
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« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2013, 11:41:11 PM »

Also:

Quote from: St. John Chrysostom, 9th Homily on 1 Timothy 2, 9 (PG 62, 546)
Διὰ τοῦτο στέφανοι ταῖς κεφαλαῖς ἐπιτίθενται, σύμβολον τῆς νίκης, ὅτι ἀήττητοι γενόμενοι, οὕτω προσέρχονται τῇ εὐνῇ, ὅτι μὴ κατηγωνίσθησαν ὑπὸ τῆς ἡδονῆς. Εἰ δὲ ἁλοὺς ὑπὸ τῆς ἡδονῆς πόρναις ἑαυτὸν ἐκδῷ, τίνος ἕνεκεν λοιπὸν καὶ στέφανον ἔχει ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς, ἡττημένος;

Therefore crowns are placed on their heads as a symbol of victory; since they were undefiled, they proceed to the bedchamber unconquered by lust. But for him who was seized by it by giving himself to the whores, what reason is there to wear a crown on his head, once he was defeated?

Man, if that standard was maintained today, how many first marriages would actually be crownings?  Tongue  
Whores or women in general?

Let's at least differentiate sheesh.  Undecided

Golden-mouth says pornai.
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« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2013, 02:29:45 AM »

From the Letter of St. Ignatios to St. Polycarp

Chapter V.—The duties of husbands and wives.

"But it becomes both men and women who marry, to form their union with the approval of the bishop, that
their marriage may be according to God, and not after their own lust. Let all things be done
to the honour of God."
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2013, 12:09:54 PM »

Thank you, the replies are very interesting and when I have a moment will come back and maybe ask a few questions. Once again thank you very much for the responses.
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« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2013, 02:07:12 PM »

Also:

Quote from: St. John Chrysostom, 9th Homily on 1 Timothy 2, 9 (PG 62, 546)
Διὰ τοῦτο στέφανοι ταῖς κεφαλαῖς ἐπιτίθενται, σύμβολον τῆς νίκης, ὅτι ἀήττητοι γενόμενοι, οὕτω προσέρχονται τῇ εὐνῇ, ὅτι μὴ κατηγωνίσθησαν ὑπὸ τῆς ἡδονῆς. Εἰ δὲ ἁλοὺς ὑπὸ τῆς ἡδονῆς πόρναις ἑαυτὸν ἐκδῷ, τίνος ἕνεκεν λοιπὸν καὶ στέφανον ἔχει ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς, ἡττημένος;

Therefore crowns are placed on their heads as a symbol of victory; since they were undefiled, they proceed to the bedchamber unconquered by lust. But for him who was seized by it by giving himself to the whores, what reason is there to wear a crown on his head, once he was defeated?

Man, if that standard was maintained today, how many first marriages would actually be crownings?  Tongue  
Whores or women in general?

Let's at least differentiate sheesh.  Undecided

Golden-mouth says pornai.
I was referring to Mor's comment.
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« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2013, 03:26:24 PM »

I was referring to Mor's comment.

I'm afraid I didn't understand your comment/question.  My observation was simply that, if crowning represents the triumph of the couple over lust, and if Chrysostom believes there's no reason for those who have succumbed to sexual sin to be crowned, by such a standard we might not crown as many couples as we do.  I don't distinguish between those who were promiscuous with prostitutes or who were sexually active with the person they are marrying.  EDIT: I don't think Chrysostom would make such a distinction.      
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« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2013, 03:57:15 PM »

I was referring to Mor's comment.

I'm afraid I didn't understand your comment/question.  My observation was simply that, if crowning represents the triumph of the couple over lust, and if Chrysostom believes there's no reason for those who have succumbed to sexual sin to be crowned, by such a standard we might not crown as many couples as we do.  I don't distinguish between those who were promiscuous with prostitutes or who were sexually active with the person they are marrying.  EDIT: I don't think Chrysostom would make such a distinction.      
I remember a priest bringing that up at Papandreou and Demetra
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« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2013, 09:32:32 PM »

I was referring to Mor's comment.

I'm afraid I didn't understand your comment/question.  My observation was simply that, if crowning represents the triumph of the couple over lust, and if Chrysostom believes there's no reason for those who have succumbed to sexual sin to be crowned, by such a standard we might not crown as many couples as we do.  I don't distinguish between those who were promiscuous with prostitutes or who were sexually active with the person they are marrying.  EDIT: I don't think Chrysostom would make such a distinction.      
I remember a priest bringing that up at Papandreou and Demetra


Oh, what a sorry saga that was!! You couldn't make up stuff as sordid and tacky as that.  Tongue Tongue laugh
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