Author Topic: Marriage procedures in the church  (Read 487 times)

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Offline dilemma1

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Marriage procedures in the church
« on: October 05, 2019, 10:42:13 PM »
hello, I am Orthodox but new to an area with minimal Orthodoxy. Does anyone know for instance how long a priest would want to know me and my fiancee before agreeing to marry us? I know a lot of priests because I used to be reasonably involved in church and converted about 4 years ago, but all the priests I know (I worked for an Orthodox priest, both of my godfathers are priests, the priest that converted me) have said they wouldn't marry me because they don't know my fiancee, because for school and work we have often lived apart or far from any Orthodoxy. Would we have to attend church every week, even though we often have work on the weekends? What would they want to see?

Honestly so far all I have really experienced from Orthodoxy is rejection. The day I was received into the church, we brought desserts but no one told us everyone would have their own baskets so we sat quietly by ourselves eating cheesecake while no one talked to me, shared food with me, anything. My priest at the time would call me up in the middle of the week to criticize me, i.e. if i didn't go to coffee hour or Akathist or whatever I missed in my two and a half years of Catechism. All the priests I have known since have been toxic, racist and abusive. I recently moved to an area with a tiny Greek parish where everyone (50ish people) is retired and they all just want to talk to themselves, not really to me. In the few conversations I have had with them they don't really seem to know much about or care about Orthodoxy, just that they can talk in Greek to old friends about whatever.

I do want to raise children in Orthodoxy, but if we were refused marriage honestly I would convert and renounce Orthodoxy because while I love the religion from books and the spiritual life, I have yet to see an Orthodox church or priest I was happy to know. So I want to give it a good try and make it an Orthodox wedding but wanted any advice if someone has any. Thank you.

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2019, 10:50:47 PM »
I'm sorry you've experienced these things.  Lord, have mercy.
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no idea, so there’s that.

Offline SolEX01

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2019, 10:54:33 PM »
Welcome to the forum.   :)

I would try talking with the priest.  You never know unless you try.  If you find the priest to be as ignorant as the other priests in your life, I wouldn't give up on Orthodoxy.  Sometimes a little prayer can help.


Offline dilemma1

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2019, 11:06:54 PM »
Thanks both of you for kind words. Not to derail the thread, but my anxiety that the priest will reject my request to be married I think brings up other issues I have had with the Orthodox priests and community I know. The religion itself I love, but the churches and priests I haven't had good experiences with. I think my anxiety, rejection, and feeling of being unwelcome have persisted through these four years (7 with catechism) don't seem spiritually healthy. I can't imagine this is a unique experience because in the church I was received, not one catechumen besides myself in the years I was participating ended up joining, all others left. That was an Antiochian parish. From there I moved for school and there were two churches in town. One was ROCOR where we had 3 Russians attend and we had to meet in the Narthex because we couldn't afford to heat the church but the priest had a breakdown and was screaming at us about needing more money and then left ministry to live with his friend in a different state as a bus driver. The other church was OCA but was divided between the Eritreans and the white people who had founded the church 5 years before and pretty much was just the two cliques talking to themselves. The church I'm at now is all retired Greek professionals.

It just feels like the Orthodoxy I chose to convert into doesn't exist. What does exist is a lot of exclusionary ethnic social clubs for people who don't know much about the religion. I was a very active Catholic (Mexican heritage) before converting and had been accepted to the priesthood before I discovered Orthodoxy. Some days I feel like this is no different from my Mexican family who profess Catholicism with little real knowledge about what the church means and don't really care to, it's like a Jewish thing where race and religion are sort of the same.

Anyway, I really do hope that my priest will marry us. He is retired and only does Sunday liturgy because he drives from another city and sometimes I work weekends. So if he says no I'm just going to become a Presbyterian.

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2019, 11:36:35 PM »
 :(  This is a real struggle for many converts, it seems.  I experienced a tiny bit of that, though mostly it was me still not having my sea legs.  Clergy are meant to teach, but laity, not so much.  We all struggle at our own pace.  It can be frustrating when you need guidance or are waiting on a sacrament, though.  I pray that either this priest can be a good guide, or that you will find one who is.
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no idea, so there’s that.

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2019, 12:15:59 AM »

Wow.  That's so sad.

What part of the country do you live in?

Any priest should be willing to wed any couple, if they can show they are both baptized in the Orthodox Church (or at least one of the two is, and the other must be baptized in the Holy Trinity, if not Orthodox.)

I have not heard of any priest refusing to wed a willing couple.  I know that there are many marriages at my parish of young couples who seldom, if ever, come to church... and yet they wish to be married.  It would be better they came more often, but, nonetheless, it is better they wed than live in sin.

Same with baptisms.  Often babies are baptized... but, often neither child nor parent is seen again.  It happens.  However, one cannot deny baptizing the child, any more than denying marriage to an Orthodox couple.

I'm sad that your priests and faithful have been so unsupportive.  I have never received such a cold reception, thankfully.

Don't give up the Church because of priests or parishioners. 
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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Online isxodnik

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2019, 12:18:08 AM »
Um... In Russia, people get married, come to the priest with a marriage certificate, and he crowns them. Not in USA?

Someone needs to be fed soft food, someone-hard. Apparently, your souls are courageous enough to win this fight. The question is whether you seek salvation  in faith, or comfort, and whether you have the determination to endure for Christ's sake. "In the world you will have sorrow; but be cheerful, I have conquered the world."

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Offline WPM

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2019, 12:59:52 AM »
Yeah, you're either married or not married.

Offline biro

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2019, 01:02:36 AM »
Lord have mercy.
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Offline platypus

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2019, 04:00:55 PM »
Lord have mercy!

Any good priest is going to want to make sure you're making a good decision in regards to your marriage. If he has no way to speak with your fiancee and you're planning to have a long distance marriage it's understandable that he'd be unwilling to officiate the ceremony.

But if you have plan for living together and you have a way for the priest to talk to your fiancee before the ceremony (maybe by phone), then he should be willing to work with you on it. And if he's not you can talk to your bishop. You'll be in my prayers through this struggle.
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Offline dilemma1

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2019, 04:17:41 PM »
Lord have mercy!

Any good priest is going to want to make sure you're making a good decision in regards to your marriage. If he has no way to speak with your fiancee and you're planning to have a long distance marriage it's understandable that he'd be unwilling to officiate the ceremony.


That's totally reasonable, I didn't make the situation clear. Basically my fiancee and i met in grad school as PhD students. I progressed more quickly than she did so I am doing postdoc while she does internship; i was doing internship while she was in prac. Each of these require moving. Basically my hope is to get a permanent job here next year where I am doing my postdoc (deep south) and for her to come here next year and for us both to just basically make this our home. It's stressful because in my head is like, if I don't go to liturgy or move things around and put my job on backburner will the priest not want to marry us when we are both here next year? It makes me wonder if my intentions are in right order. It's discouraging because she is thinking about converting, but she really looks to me as a model of Orthodoxy. I try to always be faithful, give her things from the Desert Fathers that she would enjoy, and try to express the reasons why I love Orthodoxy so that together we could build a solid Orthodox foundation for children and marriage. But if the priest next year is like "I don't know, you don't attend Liturgy every week, I don't feel comfortable marrying you" that will probably be the last time I ever step foot in an Orthodox church in my life.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2019, 04:18:12 PM by dilemma1 »

Offline PorphyriosK

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2019, 04:40:36 PM »
Lord have mercy!

Any good priest is going to want to make sure you're making a good decision in regards to your marriage. If he has no way to speak with your fiancee and you're planning to have a long distance marriage it's understandable that he'd be unwilling to officiate the ceremony.


That's totally reasonable, I didn't make the situation clear. Basically my fiancee and i met in grad school as PhD students. I progressed more quickly than she did so I am doing postdoc while she does internship; i was doing internship while she was in prac. Each of these require moving. Basically my hope is to get a permanent job here next year where I am doing my postdoc (deep south) and for her to come here next year and for us both to just basically make this our home. It's stressful because in my head is like, if I don't go to liturgy or move things around and put my job on backburner will the priest not want to marry us when we are both here next year? It makes me wonder if my intentions are in right order. It's discouraging because she is thinking about converting, but she really looks to me as a model of Orthodoxy. I try to always be faithful, give her things from the Desert Fathers that she would enjoy, and try to express the reasons why I love Orthodoxy so that together we could build a solid Orthodox foundation for children and marriage. But if the priest next year is like "I don't know, you don't attend Liturgy every week, I don't feel comfortable marrying you" that will probably be the last time I ever step foot in an Orthodox church in my life.

If you know where you're going to be living next year, maybe you could take steps to introduce yourselves to the priest there now over the phone or by email and explain your situation and tell him your plans and be in communication with him as needed.  He might appreciate the effort and that way maybe all of you can feel more prepared and have better communication than if you just "showed up" as complete strangers next year.  Just some thoughts, but prayers that all will go well for you.
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2019, 04:59:59 PM »
 >:(
Lord have mercy!

Any good priest is going to want to make sure you're making a good decision in regards to your marriage. If he has no way to speak with your fiancee and you're planning to have a long distance marriage it's understandable that he'd be unwilling to officiate the ceremony.


That's totally reasonable, I didn't make the situation clear. Basically my fiancee and i met in grad school as PhD students. I progressed more quickly than she did so I am doing postdoc while she does internship; i was doing internship while she was in prac. Each of these require moving. Basically my hope is to get a permanent job here next year where I am doing my postdoc (deep south) and for her to come here next year and for us both to just basically make this our home. It's stressful because in my head is like, if I don't go to liturgy or move things around and put my job on backburner will the priest not want to marry us when we are both here next year? It makes me wonder if my intentions are in right order. It's discouraging because she is thinking about converting, but she really looks to me as a model of Orthodoxy. I try to always be faithful, give her things from the Desert Fathers that she would enjoy, and try to express the reasons why I love Orthodoxy so that together we could build a solid Orthodox foundation for children and marriage. But if the priest next year is like "I don't know, you don't attend Liturgy every week, I don't feel comfortable marrying you" that will probably be the last time I ever step foot in an Orthodox church in my life.

If you know where you're going to be living next year, maybe you could take steps to introduce yourselves to the priest there now over the phone or by email and explain your situation and tell him your plans and be in communication with him as needed.  He might appreciate the effort and that way maybe all of you can feel more prepared and have better communication than if you just "showed up" as complete strangers next year.  Just some thoughts, but prayers that all will go well for you.

This is great advice.

Get to know the priest. Explain your situation. Ask for his prayers for the both of you.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2019, 05:01:23 PM by LizaSymonenko »
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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Offline PorphyriosK

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2019, 05:43:01 PM »
>:(
Lord have mercy!

Any good priest is going to want to make sure you're making a good decision in regards to your marriage. If he has no way to speak with your fiancee and you're planning to have a long distance marriage it's understandable that he'd be unwilling to officiate the ceremony.


That's totally reasonable, I didn't make the situation clear. Basically my fiancee and i met in grad school as PhD students. I progressed more quickly than she did so I am doing postdoc while she does internship; i was doing internship while she was in prac. Each of these require moving. Basically my hope is to get a permanent job here next year where I am doing my postdoc (deep south) and for her to come here next year and for us both to just basically make this our home. It's stressful because in my head is like, if I don't go to liturgy or move things around and put my job on backburner will the priest not want to marry us when we are both here next year? It makes me wonder if my intentions are in right order. It's discouraging because she is thinking about converting, but she really looks to me as a model of Orthodoxy. I try to always be faithful, give her things from the Desert Fathers that she would enjoy, and try to express the reasons why I love Orthodoxy so that together we could build a solid Orthodox foundation for children and marriage. But if the priest next year is like "I don't know, you don't attend Liturgy every week, I don't feel comfortable marrying you" that will probably be the last time I ever step foot in an Orthodox church in my life.

If you know where you're going to be living next year, maybe you could take steps to introduce yourselves to the priest there now over the phone or by email and explain your situation and tell him your plans and be in communication with him as needed.  He might appreciate the effort and that way maybe all of you can feel more prepared and have better communication than if you just "showed up" as complete strangers next year.  Just some thoughts, but prayers that all will go well for you.

This is great advice.

Get to know the priest. Explain your situation. Ask for his prayers for the both of you.

Why the angry face Liza?
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Offline Ainnir

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2019, 03:07:36 PM »
Lord have mercy!

Any good priest is going to want to make sure you're making a good decision in regards to your marriage. If he has no way to speak with your fiancee and you're planning to have a long distance marriage it's understandable that he'd be unwilling to officiate the ceremony.


That's totally reasonable, I didn't make the situation clear. Basically my fiancee and i met in grad school as PhD students. I progressed more quickly than she did so I am doing postdoc while she does internship; i was doing internship while she was in prac. Each of these require moving. Basically my hope is to get a permanent job here next year where I am doing my postdoc (deep south) and for her to come here next year and for us both to just basically make this our home. It's stressful because in my head is like, if I don't go to liturgy or move things around and put my job on backburner will the priest not want to marry us when we are both here next year? It makes me wonder if my intentions are in right order. It's discouraging because she is thinking about converting, but she really looks to me as a model of Orthodoxy. I try to always be faithful, give her things from the Desert Fathers that she would enjoy, and try to express the reasons why I love Orthodoxy so that together we could build a solid Orthodox foundation for children and marriage. But if the priest next year is like "I don't know, you don't attend Liturgy every week, I don't feel comfortable marrying you" that will probably be the last time I ever step foot in an Orthodox church in my life.
It would be ideal if she could convert first; that's just a random lay opinion, though. 
Maybe knowing better what to expect and how to plan toward that would put your mind at ease?
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no idea, so there’s that.

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2019, 04:51:32 PM »
>:(
Lord have mercy!

Any good priest is going to want to make sure you're making a good decision in regards to your marriage. If he has no way to speak with your fiancee and you're planning to have a long distance marriage it's understandable that he'd be unwilling to officiate the ceremony.


That's totally reasonable, I didn't make the situation clear. Basically my fiancee and i met in grad school as PhD students. I progressed more quickly than she did so I am doing postdoc while she does internship; i was doing internship while she was in prac. Each of these require moving. Basically my hope is to get a permanent job here next year where I am doing my postdoc (deep south) and for her to come here next year and for us both to just basically make this our home. It's stressful because in my head is like, if I don't go to liturgy or move things around and put my job on backburner will the priest not want to marry us when we are both here next year? It makes me wonder if my intentions are in right order. It's discouraging because she is thinking about converting, but she really looks to me as a model of Orthodoxy. I try to always be faithful, give her things from the Desert Fathers that she would enjoy, and try to express the reasons why I love Orthodoxy so that together we could build a solid Orthodox foundation for children and marriage. But if the priest next year is like "I don't know, you don't attend Liturgy every week, I don't feel comfortable marrying you" that will probably be the last time I ever step foot in an Orthodox church in my life.

If you know where you're going to be living next year, maybe you could take steps to introduce yourselves to the priest there now over the phone or by email and explain your situation and tell him your plans and be in communication with him as needed.  He might appreciate the effort and that way maybe all of you can feel more prepared and have better communication than if you just "showed up" as complete strangers next year.  Just some thoughts, but prayers that all will go well for you.

This is great advice.

Get to know the priest. Explain your situation. Ask for his prayers for the both of you.

Why the angry face Liza?

LOL!  Good question!  I have no idea.  I was answering via cellphone... and inadvertently answered in the middle of the post I was replying to... instead of after the end quote... and then I went to modify it and try to fix the quotation marks... and my frustration must have subliminally gotten transposed onto the screen.

Honestly.... I have no idea where that face came from!
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Offline Rohzek

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Re: Marriage procedures in the church
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2019, 09:21:41 AM »
Um... In Russia, people get married, come to the priest with a marriage certificate, and he crowns them. Not in USA?


No. I think Orthodoxy follows the usual custom in the USA where the priest performs the marriage ceremony, then goes into the back room with the couple and signs the marriage certificate with the couple. The couple prior to this, however, has to go to the courthouse to get a marriage license in order for the certificate to be valid for signing.
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