Marriage in the Orthodox Faith

For the Orthodox Christian, marriage is a Sacrament. By itself, without God, true love is impossible. With God, love is perfected, completed, transfigured, sanctified, blessed, resurrected, and ultimately saved. It means that the opportunity is now given in Christ for the completion and perfection of our love. It means that we have invited the Lord Jesus to enter this all-important relationship, to redeem it, to give us the grace and power to be patient when it is so easy to be impatient; to be loving when it is so easy to be unloving; to be forgiving when it is so easy to be unforgiving; to be kind when it is so easy to be insulting; to be understanding when it is so easy to be critical. For all this we need His grace, His presence, His love and His power.
Marriage is the single most important relationship in life next to one’s relationship with God. From the beginning God has been vitally interested in the marriage relationship. This is why He blessed it at the very beginning and made it not only a state of nature but also a state of grace.
For the sacramental union of a man and woman to be recognized (valid) by the Orthodox Church, the following must be met:
  • The Marriage must be blessed in a canonical Orthodox Church.
  • The Marriage must be celebrated by a canonical Orthodox Priest.
  • The Marriage must be celebrated according to the liturgical tradition of the Orthodox Church,
    and with the authorization of the Metropolitan.
  • The Sponsor must be an Orthodox Christian in good standing Spiritually, Canonically and
    Financially within the Orthodox Church.
  • In cases involving the marriage of an Orthodox Christian and a non-Orthodox Christian, the
    latter must have been baptized, in water, in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy
    Spirit and must provide a recognized (valid) certificate, original or transcript, duly signed by
    the clergyman of the Church where the Baptism took place.
  • A marriage between an Orthodox Christian and a non-Christian cannot be blessed by the
    Orthodox Church. Some Religions which are not of the Christian tradition include:
    A. Adherents of Judaism
    B. Islam
    C. Buddhism
    D. Hinduism and other Eastern religions
    E. Cults
    F. New-Age movements
    G. Mormons (Latter Day Saints)
    H. Christian Scientists
    I. Seventh Day Adventists
    J. Jehovah’s Witnesses
    K. Unitarian Universalists
    L. Assembly of God
    M. Pentecostal
Any Orthodox Christian marrying outside of the Orthodox Church, whether by civil ceremony or in a Church of another denomination, he/she is no longer in good standing spiritually or canonically with the Orthodox Church and consequently does not have the right to receive the Sacraments of the Orthodox Church, including Holy Communion, Holy Confession and Holy Unction, or to become a sponsor at an Orthodox Baptism, Chrismation, o Wedding, may not serve on the Parish Council, cannot participate in the organizations or ministries of the Parish and may not be buried out of the Orthodox Church, until that marriage is blessed in the Orthodox Church.




An Orthodox Christian must seek the blessing and grace of Christ for his/her marriage through the Orthodox Church. When an Orthodox Christian wants to marry within the Church he/she must follow the following steps:
  • When an Orthodox Christian gets engaged he/she must contact Fr. Chris in order to set the date and time of the Wedding and only if the date and time of the Wedding is known at the time of engagement.
  • Once the date and time are scheduled, a meeting will be scheduled by Fr. Chris and the prospective groom and prospective bride in order to fill out the appropriate paper work. This meeting will take place at least one (1) month prior to the date of the Wedding.
  • At the meeting between Fr. Chris, the date and time of the Wedding Rehearsal will be scheduled. Only Fr. Chris will run the Wedding Rehearsal.
  • Fr. Chris will celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage at the appointed date and time.


The Sponsor at a Wedding also has responsibilities which are to last a lifetime. The Sponsor stands next to the groom and bride not only at the marriage ceremony but throughout their lives in order to offer advice and counsel. The Sponsor becomes accountable to God by undertaking this sacred task and fulfilling it to the best of their ability. The Sponsor is called upon to continue the spiritual and moral bond of the couple from the day of the wedding and beyond. It is incumbent upon the Sponsor to support spiritually and religiously the couple as their marriage grows.
In order to be a Sponsor at an Orthodox Wedding, the following must take place:
  • The Sponsor must be a Baptized Orthodox Christian over the age of 16 years old.
  • The Sponsor must live his/her life as prescribed by the Theology, Doctrines, Dogmas, and Canons of the Orthodox Church.
  • The Sponsor must be in good standing with his/her Parish (i.e. Spiritually, Canonically and Financially).
  • The Sponsor must have been Baptized, in water and in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit in a canonical Orthodox Parish, by a canonical Orthodox Priest, with a canonical Orthodox Sponsor.
  • The Sponsor, if married, must have been married in a canonical Orthodox Parish, by a canonical Orthodox Priest, with a canonical Orthodox Sponsor.
  • If the Sponsor has been civilly divorced, he/she must have received an Ecclesiastical Divorce from the Orthodox Church by petitioning through the Parish Priest the request to receive an Ecclesiastical Divorce from the Metropolitan of the Metropolis the Parish is attached to.
  • A Sponsor cannot be a non-Orthodox person.
  • A Sponsor cannot be a non-Christian person.
  • An Orthodox Christian cannot be a Sponsor at a Wedding of a non-Orthodox Christian couple or a non-Christian couple, either in another Church or civilly.
  • The Sponsor to a man and woman at Marriage cannot be:
    A. Parents
    B. Grandparents
    C. Sponsor to the parents or siblings
    D. Mentally handicapped