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Author Topic: Divorce and Remarriage in Oriental Orthodoxy  (Read 1069 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 24, 2012, 02:05:49 PM »

So on the Orthodox-Catholic discussion board, the thread about Charlemagne has gotten partially diverted into a discussion of the different views/practices of divorce and remarriage between EO (divorce is a sin but remarriage may be allowed; death does end the commitment) and RC (divorce is not merely a sin but an ontological impossibility and therefore remarriage is also an impossibility, but death ends marriage). In thinking about the fact that this difference apparently goes back to well before the 1054 schism, I recalled some references that the OO's also have some difference among themselves (which would presumably indicate that the difference not only goes back to 1054 but might go back to at least pre-Chalcedon).

So could those who know clarify and expand my knowledge here:
Copts do not allow divorce - is their position basically the same as the RC, up to and including widows/widowers to remarry? Or are there significant differences in how Copts understand this prohibition.
Armenians do allow divorce--presumably in the same sense that EO's "allow" divorce (i.e., it's not actually allowed, but it can be recognized and forgiven and the divorced can then remarry)?
Do the other OO churches fall into one or the other category or does any of them have a 3rd way of dealing with the issues involved?
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2012, 10:53:06 PM »

Armenians do allow divorce--presumably in the same sense that EO's "allow" divorce (i.e., it's not actually allowed, but it can be recognized and forgiven and the divorced can then remarry)?

That's pretty much been my observation of how it is.  What the official "rule" is, I don't really know for sure.
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 08:07:30 AM »


Copts do not allow divorce - is their position basically the same as the RC, up to and including widows/widowers to remarry? Or are there significant differences in how Copts understand this prohibition.


Divorce is allowed (but not encouraged) in the case of adultery. The same act that consummates a marriage can break it. Divorce (or more properly annulment for these cases) is also allowed in the case that the marriage cannot be consummated, or in the case that there was serious deception from one party going into the marriage.

Death does not end marriage. However, for the sake of salvation in our weakness, a widow or widower is allowed to remarry. The ideal though is to remain faithful to the departed spouse, which is why there is no crowning at a second marriage. It is a penitential rite because it is a sin, but a lesser sin than fornication (keep in mind that sin doesn't mean doing something illegal, but falling short of perfection, missing the mark). A member of the minor orders (chanters, doorkeepers, readers) who remarries once is not allowed to advance, and one who marries a third time is no longer allowed to serve. Of course, members of the major orders (including subdeacon) are not allowed to continue serving if they remarry.
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2012, 09:23:15 AM »


Copts do not allow divorce - is their position basically the same as the RC, up to and including widows/widowers to remarry? Or are there significant differences in how Copts understand this prohibition.


Divorce is allowed (but not encouraged) in the case of adultery. The same act that consummates a marriage can break it. Divorce (or more properly annulment for these cases) is also allowed in the case that the marriage cannot be consummated, or in the case that there was serious deception from one party going into the marriage.

Death does not end marriage. However, for the sake of salvation in our weakness, a widow or widower is allowed to remarry. The ideal though is to remain faithful to the departed spouse, which is why there is no crowning at a second marriage. It is a penitential rite because it is a sin, but a lesser sin than fornication (keep in mind that sin doesn't mean doing something illegal, but falling short of perfection, missing the mark). A member of the minor orders (chanters, doorkeepers, readers) who remarries once is not allowed to advance, and one who marries a third time is no longer allowed to serve. Of course, members of the major orders (including subdeacon) are not allowed to continue serving if they remarry.

Subdeacons are a Major order in the Coptic church?
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 09:33:54 AM »


Copts do not allow divorce - is their position basically the same as the RC, up to and including widows/widowers to remarry? Or are there significant differences in how Copts understand this prohibition.


Divorce is allowed (but not encouraged) in the case of adultery. The same act that consummates a marriage can break it. Divorce (or more properly annulment for these cases) is also allowed in the case that the marriage cannot be consummated, or in the case that there was serious deception from one party going into the marriage.

Death does not end marriage. However, for the sake of salvation in our weakness, a widow or widower is allowed to remarry. The ideal though is to remain faithful to the departed spouse, which is why there is no crowning at a second marriage. It is a penitential rite because it is a sin, but a lesser sin than fornication (keep in mind that sin doesn't mean doing something illegal, but falling short of perfection, missing the mark). A member of the minor orders (chanters, doorkeepers, readers) who remarries once is not allowed to advance, and one who marries a third time is no longer allowed to serve. Of course, members of the major orders (including subdeacon) are not allowed to continue serving if they remarry.

Subdeacons are a Major order in the Coptic church?

People seem to disagree about this. The 7 minor orders are listed in the Liturgy as doorkeeper, chanter, reader, exorcist, monk, nun, widow. Subdeacon is not listed with them, but is mentioned with the deacons. People teach that subdeacons are among the major orders. I know that this contradicts every other tradition. I guess there's nothing wrong with having this difference if it is correct: in other traditions a minor order that assists the deacons could be called a subdeacon, and in the Coptic tradition the deaconate could be structured as subdeacon, deacon, archdeacon: in one case it would be a minor order below the deacon, in the other it would be a lowest rung of deacon. But it's also possible it got confused at some point and got put on the wrong list. Who knows? In practice, it seems to straddle the major and minor orders in terms of respect, duties, restrictions, etc., in all traditions.

Of course today, Copts teach that there are many types of deacons: chanters, readers, subdeacons, deacons, and archdeacons. Of course, this is clearly a confusion, with the minor orders of chanters and readers, which are not levels of the deaconate, but are their own roles for laymen, having been confused as levels of deacons since deacons are now extinct and these minor orders fill their roll. Since all the chanters and readers think they're deacons, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who can explain exactly where subdeacon fits in the Coptic tradition.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 09:35:00 AM by Jonathan » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 10:00:43 AM »


Copts do not allow divorce - is their position basically the same as the RC, up to and including widows/widowers to remarry? Or are there significant differences in how Copts understand this prohibition.


Divorce is allowed (but not encouraged) in the case of adultery. The same act that consummates a marriage can break it. Divorce (or more properly annulment for these cases) is also allowed in the case that the marriage cannot be consummated, or in the case that there was serious deception from one party going into the marriage.

Death does not end marriage. However, for the sake of salvation in our weakness, a widow or widower is allowed to remarry. The ideal though is to remain faithful to the departed spouse, which is why there is no crowning at a second marriage. It is a penitential rite because it is a sin, but a lesser sin than fornication (keep in mind that sin doesn't mean doing something illegal, but falling short of perfection, missing the mark). A member of the minor orders (chanters, doorkeepers, readers) who remarries once is not allowed to advance, and one who marries a third time is no longer allowed to serve. Of course, members of the major orders (including subdeacon) are not allowed to continue serving if they remarry.

Subdeacons are a Major order in the Coptic church?

People seem to disagree about this. The 7 minor orders are listed in the Liturgy as doorkeeper, chanter, reader, exorcist, monk, nun, widow. Subdeacon is not listed with them, but is mentioned with the deacons. People teach that subdeacons are among the major orders. I know that this contradicts every other tradition. I guess there's nothing wrong with having this difference if it is correct: in other traditions a minor order that assists the deacons could be called a subdeacon, and in the Coptic tradition the deaconate could be structured as subdeacon, deacon, archdeacon: in one case it would be a minor order below the deacon, in the other it would be a lowest rung of deacon. But it's also possible it got confused at some point and got put on the wrong list. Who knows? In practice, it seems to straddle the major and minor orders in terms of respect, duties, restrictions, etc., in all traditions.

Of course today, Copts teach that there are many types of deacons: chanters, readers, subdeacons, deacons, and archdeacons. Of course, this is clearly a confusion, with the minor orders of chanters and readers, which are not levels of the deaconate, but are their own roles for laymen, having been confused as levels of deacons since deacons are now extinct and these minor orders fill their roll. Since all the chanters and readers think they're deacons, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who can explain exactly where subdeacon fits in the Coptic tradition.

IIRC, the Armenians consider subdeacons to be a major order as well, so it might not be just a Coptic thing.
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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 10:32:51 AM »


Copts do not allow divorce - is their position basically the same as the RC, up to and including widows/widowers to remarry? Or are there significant differences in how Copts understand this prohibition.


Divorce is allowed (but not encouraged) in the case of adultery. The same act that consummates a marriage can break it. Divorce (or more properly annulment for these cases) is also allowed in the case that the marriage cannot be consummated, or in the case that there was serious deception from one party going into the marriage.

Death does not end marriage. However, for the sake of salvation in our weakness, a widow or widower is allowed to remarry. The ideal though is to remain faithful to the departed spouse, which is why there is no crowning at a second marriage. It is a penitential rite because it is a sin, but a lesser sin than fornication (keep in mind that sin doesn't mean doing something illegal, but falling short of perfection, missing the mark). A member of the minor orders (chanters, doorkeepers, readers) who remarries once is not allowed to advance, and one who marries a third time is no longer allowed to serve. Of course, members of the major orders (including subdeacon) are not allowed to continue serving if they remarry.

Subdeacons are a Major order in the Coptic church?

People seem to disagree about this. The 7 minor orders are listed in the Liturgy as doorkeeper, chanter, reader, exorcist, monk, nun, widow. Subdeacon is not listed with them, but is mentioned with the deacons. People teach that subdeacons are among the major orders. I know that this contradicts every other tradition. I guess there's nothing wrong with having this difference if it is correct: in other traditions a minor order that assists the deacons could be called a subdeacon, and in the Coptic tradition the deaconate could be structured as subdeacon, deacon, archdeacon: in one case it would be a minor order below the deacon, in the other it would be a lowest rung of deacon. But it's also possible it got confused at some point and got put on the wrong list. Who knows? In practice, it seems to straddle the major and minor orders in terms of respect, duties, restrictions, etc., in all traditions.

Of course today, Copts teach that there are many types of deacons: chanters, readers, subdeacons, deacons, and archdeacons. Of course, this is clearly a confusion, with the minor orders of chanters and readers, which are not levels of the deaconate, but are their own roles for laymen, having been confused as levels of deacons since deacons are now extinct and these minor orders fill their roll. Since all the chanters and readers think they're deacons, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who can explain exactly where subdeacon fits in the Coptic tradition.

IIRC, the Armenians consider subdeacons to be a major order as well, so it might not be just a Coptic thing.
No.  Subdeacon is a minor order in the Armenian Church.  The first major order is the diaconate.
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 10:41:44 AM »


Copts do not allow divorce - is their position basically the same as the RC, up to and including widows/widowers to remarry? Or are there significant differences in how Copts understand this prohibition.


Divorce is allowed (but not encouraged) in the case of adultery. The same act that consummates a marriage can break it. Divorce (or more properly annulment for these cases) is also allowed in the case that the marriage cannot be consummated, or in the case that there was serious deception from one party going into the marriage.

Death does not end marriage. However, for the sake of salvation in our weakness, a widow or widower is allowed to remarry. The ideal though is to remain faithful to the departed spouse, which is why there is no crowning at a second marriage. It is a penitential rite because it is a sin, but a lesser sin than fornication (keep in mind that sin doesn't mean doing something illegal, but falling short of perfection, missing the mark). A member of the minor orders (chanters, doorkeepers, readers) who remarries once is not allowed to advance, and one who marries a third time is no longer allowed to serve. Of course, members of the major orders (including subdeacon) are not allowed to continue serving if they remarry.

Subdeacons are a Major order in the Coptic church?

People seem to disagree about this. The 7 minor orders are listed in the Liturgy as doorkeeper, chanter, reader, exorcist, monk, nun, widow. Subdeacon is not listed with them, but is mentioned with the deacons. People teach that subdeacons are among the major orders. I know that this contradicts every other tradition. I guess there's nothing wrong with having this difference if it is correct: in other traditions a minor order that assists the deacons could be called a subdeacon, and in the Coptic tradition the deaconate could be structured as subdeacon, deacon, archdeacon: in one case it would be a minor order below the deacon, in the other it would be a lowest rung of deacon. But it's also possible it got confused at some point and got put on the wrong list. Who knows? In practice, it seems to straddle the major and minor orders in terms of respect, duties, restrictions, etc., in all traditions.

Of course today, Copts teach that there are many types of deacons: chanters, readers, subdeacons, deacons, and archdeacons. Of course, this is clearly a confusion, with the minor orders of chanters and readers, which are not levels of the deaconate, but are their own roles for laymen, having been confused as levels of deacons since deacons are now extinct and these minor orders fill their roll. Since all the chanters and readers think they're deacons, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who can explain exactly where subdeacon fits in the Coptic tradition.

IIRC, the Armenians consider subdeacons to be a major order as well, so it might not be just a Coptic thing.
No.  Subdeacon is a minor order in the Armenian Church.  The first major order is the diaconate.

Hmm, an Armenian friend told me differently. I guess he was probably confused.
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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2014, 08:54:21 PM »


Copts do not allow divorce - is their position basically the same as the RC, up to and including widows/widowers to remarry? Or are there significant differences in how Copts understand this prohibition.


Divorce is allowed (but not encouraged) in the case of adultery. The same act that consummates a marriage can break it. Divorce (or more properly annulment for these cases) is also allowed in the case that the marriage cannot be consummated, or in the case that there was serious deception from one party going into the marriage.

Death does not end marriage. However, for the sake of salvation in our weakness, a widow or widower is allowed to remarry. The ideal though is to remain faithful to the departed spouse, which is why there is no crowning at a second marriage. It is a penitential rite because it is a sin, but a lesser sin than fornication (keep in mind that sin doesn't mean doing something illegal, but falling short of perfection, missing the mark). A member of the minor orders (chanters, doorkeepers, readers) who remarries once is not allowed to advance, and one who marries a third time is no longer allowed to serve. Of course, members of the major orders (including subdeacon) are not allowed to continue serving if they remarry.

Subdeacons are a Major order in the Coptic church?

The 7 minor orders are listed in the Liturgy as doorkeeper, chanter, reader, exorcist, monk, nun, widow.

Do you have a source for this?
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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2014, 09:26:42 PM »


Copts do not allow divorce - is their position basically the same as the RC, up to and including widows/widowers to remarry? Or are there significant differences in how Copts understand this prohibition.


Divorce is allowed (but not encouraged) in the case of adultery. The same act that consummates a marriage can break it. Divorce (or more properly annulment for these cases) is also allowed in the case that the marriage cannot be consummated, or in the case that there was serious deception from one party going into the marriage.

Death does not end marriage. However, for the sake of salvation in our weakness, a widow or widower is allowed to remarry. The ideal though is to remain faithful to the departed spouse, which is why there is no crowning at a second marriage. It is a penitential rite because it is a sin, but a lesser sin than fornication (keep in mind that sin doesn't mean doing something illegal, but falling short of perfection, missing the mark). A member of the minor orders (chanters, doorkeepers, readers) who remarries once is not allowed to advance, and one who marries a third time is no longer allowed to serve. Of course, members of the major orders (including subdeacon) are not allowed to continue serving if they remarry.

Subdeacons are a Major order in the Coptic church?

The 7 minor orders are listed in the Liturgy as doorkeeper, chanter, reader, exorcist, monk, nun, widow.

Do you have a source for this?

Fr. Athanasius Iskander teaches this based on the fact the fact that this set is mentioned in the first half of the short prayer in the Liturgy of St. Gregory:

Quote
PRIEST:
And on behalf of those who are in this place, and those who
have fallen asleep—the bishops, hegumens, priests, deacons and
subdeacons.

DEACON:
Pray for the hegumens, priests, deacons, subdeacons, and the
seven orders of the Church of God.

CONGREGATION:
Lord have mercy.

PRIEST:
And the readers, the chanters, the exorcists, the monks, the
virgins and the widows; the orphans, the ascetics and the laity;
and all the fullness of Thine holy Church, O God of the faithful.

CONGREGATION:
Lord have mercy.

Though I have come to disagree and believe that the subdeacon is among the minor orders and is not in any way a deacon, kind of deacon, or rank of deacon.
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« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2014, 10:16:26 PM »


Copts do not allow divorce - is their position basically the same as the RC, up to and including widows/widowers to remarry? Or are there significant differences in how Copts understand this prohibition.


Divorce is allowed (but not encouraged) in the case of adultery. The same act that consummates a marriage can break it. Divorce (or more properly annulment for these cases) is also allowed in the case that the marriage cannot be consummated, or in the case that there was serious deception from one party going into the marriage.

Death does not end marriage. However, for the sake of salvation in our weakness, a widow or widower is allowed to remarry. The ideal though is to remain faithful to the departed spouse, which is why there is no crowning at a second marriage. It is a penitential rite because it is a sin, but a lesser sin than fornication (keep in mind that sin doesn't mean doing something illegal, but falling short of perfection, missing the mark). A member of the minor orders (chanters, doorkeepers, readers) who remarries once is not allowed to advance, and one who marries a third time is no longer allowed to serve. Of course, members of the major orders (including subdeacon) are not allowed to continue serving if they remarry.

Subdeacons are a Major order in the Coptic church?

Russians treat them similarly. Subdeacons aren't in a "major" order per se, but once you're ordained a subdeacon you no longer have the option of marrying without laicization.
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« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2014, 10:18:02 PM »

So on the Orthodox-Catholic discussion board, the thread about Charlemagne has gotten partially diverted into a discussion of the different views/practices of divorce and remarriage between EO (divorce is a sin but remarriage may be allowed; death does end the commitment) and RC (divorce is not merely a sin but an ontological impossibility and therefore remarriage is also an impossibility, but death ends marriage). In thinking about the fact that this difference apparently goes back to well before the 1054 schism, I recalled some references that the OO's also have some difference among themselves (which would presumably indicate that the difference not only goes back to 1054 but might go back to at least pre-Chalcedon).

So could those who know clarify and expand my knowledge here:
Copts do not allow divorce - is their position basically the same as the RC, up to and including widows/widowers to remarry? Or are there significant differences in how Copts understand this prohibition.
Armenians do allow divorce--presumably in the same sense that EO's "allow" divorce (i.e., it's not actually allowed, but it can be recognized and forgiven and the divorced can then remarry)?
Do the other OO churches fall into one or the other category or does any of them have a 3rd way of dealing with the issues involved?

I don't know what the situation is in the Syriac and Malankara Orthodox Churches, but in the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches the situation is similar to that in the Coptic Orthodox Church. (Although I've never heard about post-death remarriage firsthand - I assume it's allowed, but have only ever heard that you're strongly expected to remain single after your spouse's death. Part of why so few people get crowned in Ethiopia - more practical to contract a civil marriage.)
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