Author Topic: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?  (Read 2965 times)

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Offline TheTrisagion

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Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« on: April 09, 2016, 10:23:27 PM »
Quote
The Catholic Church did not make marriage a sacrament until the 13th century, and only began to enforce strict religious conformity in marriage in the 16th century — in part as a reaction to criticism from Protestants that Catholics were insufficiently enthusiastic about the institution.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/04/08/the-catholic-church-didnt-even-consider-marriage-a-sacrament-for-centuries/

Does anyone know what the article is referencing? What happened in the 13th century that supposedly made marriage a sacrament?  When is marriage first discussed as a sacrament by the Church fathers?
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Offline Luke

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2016, 10:30:30 PM »
 :-X^ The Crusades?

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2016, 10:33:14 PM »
What happened in the 13th century that supposedly made marriage a sacrament? 

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Offline Rohzek

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2016, 10:39:27 PM »
Quote
The Catholic Church did not make marriage a sacrament until the 13th century, and only began to enforce strict religious conformity in marriage in the 16th century — in part as a reaction to criticism from Protestants that Catholics were insufficiently enthusiastic about the institution.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/04/08/the-catholic-church-didnt-even-consider-marriage-a-sacrament-for-centuries/

Does anyone know what the article is referencing? What happened in the 13th century that supposedly made marriage a sacrament?  When is marriage first discussed as a sacrament by the Church fathers?

In the Latin West, with the exception of a few cases such as the serial monogamy of Charlemagne, the various Latin churches did not concern themselves with marriage. People usually married according to local custom, and then after maybe the first night or so would show up at the doorstep of the local church. The priest might give a few blessings and that was it. Until the 12th and 13th century, this whole indissoluble and sacrament business was largely left undiscussed to say the least. No one really knows why the Latin West started to intervene in marriage so much during the so-called Twelfth Century Renaissance. In some ways it was good because it made forced marriages for political reasons harder, but I think the cons are obvious today. In short, the rigid regulation of marriage that we know of in the Catholic Church today is nothing more than a High Medieval invention.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 10:40:49 PM by Rohzek »
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Offline William T

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2016, 10:47:57 PM »
Now, on to the truth of her claim:

It is true the Catholics didn't "explicitly"affirm the sacrament of marriage until the 13th century, but that's hardly a concern for a Catholic.  The early Church and Church Fathers have a very strong tradition of affirming marriage (St. Paul said it was "from the Lord" and a "Great Mystery") a quick look at ante-nicene writings shows that.  If you want me to cite my Byzantine history books, I can also state that the culture promoted the family in a stronger way than even the previous Hellenistic pagan culture.  The West probably didn't have as "favorable" a view of marriage at the time, because it was much less civilized at that point in history ...but that's going out of my expertise and that's me just speculating.

« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 11:16:00 PM by William T »

Offline Rohzek

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2016, 11:33:46 PM »
The sources she is probably pulling from are the following:

d'Avray, David L. Medieval Marriage: Symbolism and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Brooke, Christopher N. L. The Medieval Idea of Marriage. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Needless to say, she isn't a medievalist, but these would be some of the books one would pull from.

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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2016, 11:42:12 PM »
Given that Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox hold that marriage is a sacrament, it would stand to reason that at the times of those schism it was already in place
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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2016, 11:56:12 PM »
Well, I don't know. A precursor quick research may put some credence to the idea that the rites we have for a liturgical setting of marriage did not come up about until much later.  There seemed to be a civil marriage first, and then they go to liturgy and partake of the Eucharist (regular liturgical service) as husband and wife first time.  That seemed to be essentially the "blessing".

Nevertheless, was marriage taken seriously as that special icon of Christ and the Church from very early on? Yes, I believe so.
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Offline William T

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2016, 11:57:43 PM »
Given that Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox hold that marriage is a sacrament, it would stand to reason that at the times of those schism it was already in place

If you take the liturgical practices, rites, and prayers of the recordings of the Early Church seriously (and the Catholics do), it's pretty clear and unambiguous marriage was seen as a sacrament in the East & West and was always assumed to be so (mystery is the same word for sacrament).  The author of that article may not see that as good criteria though for whatever reason.  I think even Nestorians, Assyrians, Arians, and other early Christian schisms all agree with this fact.  It was in place, it may just not be the kind of evidence the author accepts.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 11:58:36 PM by William T »

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2016, 12:00:43 AM »
May I also add that a Western concept of "sacrament" might be different from an Eastern theology of "mystery".  There are waaaaay more than 7 "sacraments" in historical descriptions.
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Offline William T

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2016, 12:07:45 AM »
Well, I don't know. A precursor quick research may put some credence to the idea that the rites we have for a liturgical setting of marriage did not come up about until much later.  There seemed to be a civil marriage first, and then they go to liturgy and partake of the Eucharist (regular liturgical service) as husband and wife first time.  That seemed to be essentially the "blessing".

Nevertheless, was marriage taken seriously as that special icon of Christ and the Church from very early on? Yes, I believe so.

All Sacraments (including Baptism, which as with all Sacraments including marriage, was celebrated during Liturgy) were completed in the Eucharist.  So it says a lot when a couple did there normal civil marriage and then had that consecrated with he Eucharist.  Western Catholics got it a bit confused when they looked at marriage in terms of Roman legalism and thought of a priest as a "minister" of the Sacrament and marriage as a "contract" dissolved by death.  But Rome never lost her liturgical Tradition, unlike much of the West, which is perhaps why she is the main focal point on any conversation, attack, or defense of marraige to this day in the West.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2016, 12:10:39 AM by William T »

Offline Rohzek

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2016, 12:59:35 AM »
Well, I don't know. A precursor quick research may put some credence to the idea that the rites we have for a liturgical setting of marriage did not come up about until much later.  There seemed to be a civil marriage first, and then they go to liturgy and partake of the Eucharist (regular liturgical service) as husband and wife first time.  That seemed to be essentially the "blessing".

Nevertheless, was marriage taken seriously as that special icon of Christ and the Church from very early on? Yes, I believe so.

You have it exactly right.

Well, I don't know. A precursor quick research may put some credence to the idea that the rites we have for a liturgical setting of marriage did not come up about until much later.  There seemed to be a civil marriage first, and then they go to liturgy and partake of the Eucharist (regular liturgical service) as husband and wife first time.  That seemed to be essentially the "blessing".

Nevertheless, was marriage taken seriously as that special icon of Christ and the Church from very early on? Yes, I believe so.

All Sacraments (including Baptism, which as with all Sacraments including marriage, was celebrated during Liturgy) were completed in the Eucharist.  So it says a lot when a couple did there normal civil marriage and then had that consecrated with he Eucharist.  Western Catholics got it a bit confused when they looked at marriage in terms of Roman legalism and thought of a priest as a "minister" of the Sacrament and marriage as a "contract" dissolved by death.  But Rome never lost her liturgical Tradition, unlike much of the West, which is perhaps why she is the main focal point on any conversation, attack, or defense of marraige to this day in the West.

What do you mean by Rome never lost her liturgical tradition?
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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2016, 01:32:13 AM »
Weren't there some Syriac-speakers, very early on, who questioned whether Christians should get married at all? How long did that sentiment last?
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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2016, 03:16:15 AM »
May I also add that a Western concept of "sacrament" might be different from an Eastern theology of "mystery".  There are waaaaay more than 7 "sacraments" in historical descriptions.

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Offline MalpanaGiwargis

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2016, 11:40:18 AM »
Weren't there some Syriac-speakers, very early on, who questioned whether Christians should get married at all? How long did that sentiment last?

Yes, there were groups that made sexual continence a prerequisite for Baptism. And in the early Syriac Churches, qadisha ("holy") was used as a virtual synonym for "sexually continent," even among Orthodox believers.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2016, 02:00:51 PM »
May I also add that a Western concept of "sacrament" might be different from an Eastern theology of "mystery".  There are waaaaay more than 7 "sacraments" in historical descriptions.

Where can we read these?

http://www.pravmir.com/article_249.html

Also Hugh of St. Victor in the 12th century enumerated 30 sacraments, among which are blessing of the altar, tonsuring of the monastics, blessing of church vessels and curtains, blessing of the waters of Theophany, blessing of the palms in Palm Sunday, etc.  The Assyrian Church of the East has a sacrament of the Holy Leaven prepared for making the Offering on liturgy as well as the sign of the Cross is considers a sacrament.

In even more ancient times, one enumerates 3 "main" ones, i.e. Baptism, Chrismation, and the Eucharist
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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2016, 06:59:43 PM »
May I also add that a Western concept of "sacrament" might be different from an Eastern theology of "mystery".  There are waaaaay more than 7 "sacraments" in historical descriptions.

Where can we read these?

http://www.pravmir.com/article_249.html

Also Hugh of St. Victor in the 12th century enumerated 30 sacraments, among which are blessing of the altar, tonsuring of the monastics, blessing of church vessels and curtains, blessing of the waters of Theophany, blessing of the palms in Palm Sunday, etc.  The Assyrian Church of the East has a sacrament of the Holy Leaven prepared for making the Offering on liturgy as well as the sign of the Cross is considers a sacrament.

In even more ancient times, one enumerates 3 "main" ones, i.e. Baptism, Chrismation, and the Eucharist

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2016, 07:50:04 PM »
She is right in that a marriage rite was not established in either East or West until later.

Whether or not pre-800's marriage was a sacrament or not would depend on your understanding of sacrament/mystery. One could come up with a definition that would include the early informal marriages pretty easily.

In any case, if you're getting your history, theology, philosophy, empirical sciences, etc. from op eds, you are already in a bad way.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2016, 07:51:34 PM by NicholasMyra »
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2016, 08:14:34 PM »
Does it really matter that the designation of marriage as a sacrament came only 800 years ago? 
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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2016, 08:55:10 PM »
She is right in that a marriage rite was not established in either East or West until later.

Whether or not pre-800's marriage was a sacrament or not would depend on your understanding of sacrament/mystery. One could come up with a definition that would include the early informal marriages pretty easily.

In any case, if you're getting your history, theology, philosophy, empirical sciences, etc. from op eds, you are already in a bad way.

To be quite honest, I only started learning about this a couple of months ago.  We were all brought up with the typical "7 sacraments, marriage is one of them, Orthodoxy is never change" spiel that we don't realize these nuances.

I'm starting to appreciate how much we were influenced by Roman Catholic resources of theology in the 17 to 1800s before rediscovering our own respective identities.  And even centuries earlier, even though we kept our respective boundaries, how much EOs, OOs, and Assyrians influenced each other spiritually, theologically, and even canonically.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2016, 08:56:45 PM by minasoliman »
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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2016, 09:06:17 PM »
If sacraments/mysteries are high point events where God has promised to work with his people (or for the other types, where God has promised to bestow his divine activity for the working of a particular wonder), then marriage is fine to go in. A lot of other stuff is going to go in, as well.

But we've gotta be able to do better than that, description-wise.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2016, 09:07:48 PM by NicholasMyra »
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
...you can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2016, 10:03:38 PM »
She is right in that a marriage rite was not established in either East or West until later.

Whether or not pre-800's marriage was a sacrament or not would depend on your understanding of sacrament/mystery. One could come up with a definition that would include the early informal marriages pretty easily.

In any case, if you're getting your history, theology, philosophy, empirical sciences, etc. from op eds, you are already in a bad way.

To be quite honest, I only started learning about this a couple of months ago.  We were all brought up with the typical "7 sacraments, marriage is one of them, Orthodoxy is never change" spiel that we don't realize these nuances.

I think part of that may have been an overreaction against Protestant polemics. Protestants claimed that the church had changed and that this represented a "falling away" from the faith. Some people (notably the Roman Catholic, Cardinal Newman) acknowledged that changes had occurred, but defended these changes as "development of doctrine". But others in both Rome and Orthodoxy took the Old Believer route and reacted by denying there had ever been changes of any kind in the past. (Cardinal Newman was, and might still be, hated by a lot of trad Catholics both because of his Anglican background and because of his idea of doctrinal development, which was seen as modernist or at least proto-modernist).
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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2016, 10:22:02 PM »
If sacraments/mysteries are high point events where God has promised to work with his people (or for the other types, where God has promised to bestow his divine activity for the working of a particular wonder), then marriage is fine to go in. A lot of other stuff is going to go in, as well.

But we've gotta be able to do better than that, description-wise.

What would you recommend?
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2016, 11:21:38 PM »
If sacraments/mysteries are high point events where God has promised to work with his people (or for the other types, where God has promised to bestow his divine activity for the working of a particular wonder), then marriage is fine to go in. A lot of other stuff is going to go in, as well.

But we've gotta be able to do better than that, description-wise.

What would you recommend?
Dunno. Something that takes better account of sacramental activity as an activity of the Church, with respect to what the Church is as the Israel of God and the communion of God. This would necessarily make reference to the reality of the coming age where the sacraments are "from."

Really, I think the talk of sacraments as a category tends to obscure what each sacrament is.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2016, 11:25:23 PM by NicholasMyra »
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
...you can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Marriage wasn't a sacrament for 1,200 years?
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2016, 11:23:04 PM »
Didn't Fr. Schmemann propose the idea that our whole lives, in doing so for the glory of God, is a continuous "sacrament"?
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