Marriage in the Eastern Orthodox Church is a holy mystery or sacrament in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The wedding itself is considered to be a rite of the church in which the marriage is blessed. Due to the practice of crowning the couple during the ceremony, the wedding is referred to as a "crowning" or "coronation", in reference to the wedding crown.
The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 260 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.
After the Exchange of the rings the priest leads the couple in procession into the middle of the church. The priest chants Psalm 128, "Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways..." This psalm is one of the "Psalms of Ascent" sung by Jewish pilgrims on the way to the Jerusalem Temple. This point in the service most clearly reveals the "action" of the sacrament. The couple brings themselves, each other, their lives, and all that fills their lives, to the altar as an offering to God. As the couple enters into the midst of the Church, their relationship enters into the new reality of God's Kingdom.
Psalm 128 is the 128th psalm of the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament. It is one of fifteen psalms which begins with the words "A song of ascents". It contains only six verses, and discusses the blessed state of those who follow Yahweh. Its opening words in the King James Version are "Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways". In the Greek Septuagint version of the bible, and in its Latin translation in the Vulgate, this psalm is Psalm 127 in a slightly different numbering system.
Having processed into the church, the couple must individually proclaim, before the assembly, that they have come freely, without constraints or prior commitment, to be joined by God as husband and wife. (In modern practice, these proclamations are often done at the beginning, before the exchange of the rings.)
The bride and groom are then handed candles which are held throughout the service. The candles represent the couple's faith and willingness to follow the Light of Truth, Jesus Christ, and that they will have their way through life lighted by the teachings of the Church.
After prayers are offered on their behalf, the groom and bride are crowned by the priest "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit":
O Lord, our God, crown them in glory and in honour.
The crowns have two meanings. First, they reveal that the man and woman, in their union with Christ, participate in His Kingship. Second, as in the ancient Church, crowns are a symbol of martyrdom. The word "martyr" means witness. The common life of the bride and groom is to bear witness to the Presence of Christ in their lives and in the world. Martyrdom is usually associated with death. So the reality of God's Kingdom in the life of the husband and wife will necessarily take the form of dying to one's self, to one's will, and the giving of one's life totally to the other, and through the other, to Christ.
In its widest sense, the phrase union with Christ refers to the relationship between the believer and Jesus Christ. In this sense, John Murray says, union with Christ is "the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation." The expression "in Christ" occurs 216 times in the Pauline letters and 26 times in the Johannine literature. Hence, according to Albert Schweitzer, "This 'being-in-Christ' is the prime enigma of the Pauline teaching: once grasped it gives the clue to the whole." Given the large number of occurrences and the wide range of contexts, the phrase embodies a breadth of meaning.
The epistle is taken from St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians (5:20-33). It presents the cornerstone of the Christian vision of marriage: the love of man and woman parallels the love of Christ and the Church. As Christ gives Himself totally to and for His Church, so the husband is to give himself totally to and for his wife. As the Church, in turn, is subject to Christ, so the wife subjects herself to her husband. Thus the two become one in a life of mutual love and mutual subjection to each other in Christ.
Ephesians 5 is the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Traditionally, it is believed to be written by Apostle Paul while he was in prison in Rome, but more recently, it is suggested to be written between AD 80 and 100 by another writer using Paul's name and style. This chapter is a part of Paul's exhortation, with the particular section about how Christians should live in the world (4:17–5:20) and in their responsibilities as households (5:21–6:9).
The gospel, from John (2:1-11), is the familiar account of the Marriage at Cana where Christ turns the water into wine. A person must drink water simply to survive. Wine, on the other hand, is more than just a drink that quenches thirst and continues life. Wine is associated with joy, with celebration, with life as being more than mere survival. By His presence at this wedding He changes the union of man and woman into something new. Marriage becomes more than a mere human institution, existing for whatever purpose a society assigns it. It becomes, like the Church Herself, a sign that God's Kingdom has already begun in our midst.
The transformation of water into wine at the Marriage at Cana or Wedding at Cana is the first miracle attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John. In the Gospel account, Jesus, his mother and his disciples are invited to a wedding, and when the wine runs out, Jesus delivers a sign of his glory by turning water into wine.
After more prayers, a common cup of sweet wine is blessed and shared by the couple as a sign of their common life together, a sharing of joys and sorrows, successes and failures, hopes and fears:
I shall partake in the Cup of Salvation,
and I shall invoke the name of the Lord.
This is followed by the triple procession around the center table: the "Dance of Isaiah". The priest, holding the Gospel or Blessing Cross and the clasped hands of the groom and bride, and followed by the best man (or woman) who holds the newlyweds' crowns above their heads, and the bridesmaids holding the lit white candles, walk three counterclockwise turns around the table in a celebratory "dance". Each of the three turns is accompanied by each of the three hymns, which return once more to the theme of martyrdom and union with Christ. These are the hymns that, since ancient times, the Church has used to emphasize God's blessings, and the same ones sung at ordinations to ecclesiastical orders. They signify that this couple has been set apart from the mundane world to live a life in Christ:
- Rejoice, O Isaiah! The Virgin is with child,
- And shall bear a son Emmanuel,
- Both God and Man,
- And Orient is His Name,
- Whom magnifying we call, the Virgin blessed.
- O Holy Martyrs,
- who fought the good fight and have received your crowns,
- Entreat ye the Lord,
- That He will have mercy on our souls.
- Glory to Thee, O Christ our God,
- The Apostles boast,
- The Martyrs Joy,
- whose preaching was the Consubstantial Trinity.
Throughout the service, things are done in threes in remembrance of the Trinity. Man is made in the image and likeness of God. Marriage is intended by God to be an image of the Trinity. It is the union of three persons, not two. Man and woman are one with each other and one with the person of Jesus Christ.
At the end of the service, the crowns are removed and the priest prays that God will receive these crowns into His Kingdom. The reality of the Kingdom into which the bride and groom have entered is not completely fulfilled, but only begun. Husband and wife must receive God's Kingdom and make it both a present reality and a challenge and goal of their common life, in that sense, the Christ-centered marriage is eternal: "every relationship formed in this life will continue in the next life, in a deeply healed and purified way."Completion and fulfillment will come when Christ returns in power and glory to complete the establishment of His Kingdom in this world by filling all things with Himself.
At the end of the service, the couple stands at the foot of the altar. From the beginning, at the back of the church, they have now progressed to the forefront. Only the eternal Kingdom of Jesus Christ, as signified by the Altar, remains ahead of them. The couple's final act is to turn and face the assembled Church. Through this sacrament, they have become an icon of the Church and icon of Christ and the assembly comes up to congratulate them and share in their joy.
Divorce is permitted in the Orthodox Church for various reasons. The more usual divorce occurs under the pastoral guidance of the spiritual director of the spouses when all attempts at salvaging a marriage have been exhausted. In such cases, remarriage may be possible but there is a special rite for a second marriage which contains a penitential element for the dissolution of the first, i.e. some of the more joyful aspects are removed.Marriage is permitted up to three times in Orthodoxy but each divorce necessitates a short period of excommunication.
Another type of divorce is what is known as a "hieratic divorce", which does not signify the breakdown of the relationship but is a step taken for the sake of the theosis of the spouses and with the full support and blessing of the Church. This type of divorce may only take place where there is mutual agreement between the two spouses, and is usually carried out in cases where one or both spouses wish to enter into monasticism.
Marriage is the legally or formally recognized intimate and complementing union of two people as spousal partners in a personal relationship.
In traditional Judaism, marriage is viewed as a contractual bond commanded by God in which a man and a woman come together to create a relationship in which God is directly involved. Though procreation is not the sole purpose, a Jewish marriage is traditionally expected to fulfil the commandment to have children. In this view, marriage is understood to mean that the husband and wife are merging into a single soul, which is why a man is considered "incomplete" if he is not married, as his soul is only one part of a larger whole that remains to be unified.
A wedding is a ceremony where two people are united in marriage. Wedding traditions and customs vary greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, religions, countries, and social classes. Most wedding ceremonies involve an exchange of marriage vows by the couple, presentation of a gift, and a public proclamation of marriage by an authority figure or celebrant. Special wedding garments are often worn, and the ceremony is sometimes followed by a wedding reception. Music, poetry, prayers or readings from religious texts or literature are also commonly incorporated into the ceremony, as well as superstitious customs originating in Ancient Rome.
An engagement, betrothal, or fiancer is the relationship between two people who want to get married, and also the period of time between a marriage proposal and a marriage. During this period, a couple is said to be betrothed,intended, affianced, engaged to be married, or simply engaged. Future brides and grooms may be called the betrothed, a wife-to-be or husband-to-be, fiancée or fiancé, respectively. The duration of the courtship varies vastly, and is largely dependent on cultural norms or upon the agreement of the parties involved.
A veil is an article of clothing or hanging cloth that is intended to cover some part of the head or face, or an object of some significance. Veiling has a long history in European, Asian, and African societies. The practice has been prominent in different forms in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The practice of veiling is especially associated with women and sacred objects, though in some cultures it is men rather than women who are expected to wear a veil. Besides its enduring religious significance, veiling continues to play a role in some modern secular contexts, such as wedding customs.
A wedding ring or wedding band is a finger ring that indicates that its wearer is married. It is usually forged from metal, and traditionally is forged of gold or another precious metal.
The epiclesis is the part of the Anaphora by which the priest invokes the Holy Spirit upon the Eucharistic bread and wine in some Christian churches.
Marriage in the Catholic Church, also called matrimony, is the "covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring", and which "has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptised." Catholic matrimonial law, based on Roman law regarding its focus on marriage as a free mutual agreement or contract, became the basis for the marriage law of all European countries, at least up to the Reformation.
Marriage vows are promises each partner in a couple makes to the other during a wedding ceremony based upon Western Christian norms. They are not universal to marriage and not necessary in most legal jurisdictions. They are not even universal within Christian marriage, as Eastern Christians do not have marriage vows in their traditional wedding ceremonies.
The Orthodox Church presents a view of sin distinct from views found in Roman Catholicism and in Protestantism, that sin is viewed primarily as a terminal spiritual sickness, rather than a state of guilt, a self-perpetuating illness which distorts the whole human being and energies, corrupts the Image of God inherent in those who bear the human nature, diminishes the divine likeness within them, disorients their understanding of the world as it truly is, and distracts a person from fulfilling his natural potential to become deified in communion with God.
A Hindu wedding is Vivaha and the wedding ceremony is called Vivaah Sanskar in North India and Kalyanam (generally) in South India. Hindus attach a great deal of importance to marriage. The wedding ceremonies are very colourful, and celebrations may extend for several days. The bride's and groom's home—entrance, doors, wall, floor, roof—are sometimes decorated with colors, balloons, and other decorations.
Sheva Brachot literally "the seven blessings" also known as birkot nissuin, "the wedding blessings" in Jewish law are blessings that are recited for a bride and her groom as part of nissuin. In Jewish marriages there are two stages: betrothal (erusin) and establishing the full marriage (nissuin). Historically there was a year between the two events, but in modern marriages, the two are combined as a single wedding ceremony.
A husband is a male in a marital relationship, who may also be referred to as a spouse or partner. The rights and obligations of a husband regarding his spouse and others, and his status in the community and in law, vary between societies, cultures and have varied over time.
A Jewish wedding is a wedding ceremony that follows Jewish laws and traditions.
The sacrament of holy orders in the Catholic Church includes three orders: bishop, priest, and deacon. In the phrase "holy orders", the word "holy" simply means "set apart for some purpose." The word "order" designates an established civil body or corporation with a hierarchy, and ordination means legal incorporation into an order. In context, therefore, a group with a hierarchical structure that is set apart for ministry in the Church.
Vivāha (Sanskrit) or Vivaah or Vivahamu is a word for marriage in the Indian subcontinent. The word originates as a sacred union of people as per Vedic traditions, i.e. what many call marriage, but based on cosmic laws and advanced ancient practices. Under Vedic Hindu traditions, marriage is viewed as one of the saṁskāras, which are lifelong commitments of one wife and one husband. In India, marriage has been looked upon as having been designed by the cosmos and considered as a "sacred oneness witnessed by fire itself." Hindu families are patrilocal.
A traditional Russian wedding can last between two days and one week. The celebration involves dancing, singing, toasting, and banqueting. The best man and maid of honor are called Witnesses or "svideteli" in Russian. The ceremony and the ring exchange take place on the first day of the wedding. Despite their seemingly unique matrimonial ceremonies, Russian weddings have adopted some western traditions, including incorporating bridesmaids into the wedding party.
Courtship, marriage, and divorce in Cambodia are important aspects of family life. Customs vary as between rural and urban areas, with many city dwellers being influenced by western ideas. The choice of a spouse is usually undertaken by the families of young men and women, sometimes with the help of a matchmaker. A man usually marries between the ages of nineteen and twenty-five and a girl between sixteen and twenty-two. After a spouse has been selected, a go-between discusses the proposal with the parents, who need to be satisfied that the right choice is being made for their offspring. Presents are exchanged, and in rural areas, a young man may have to vow to serve his new father-in-law for a while.
Traditional marriage customs in the Philippines and Filipino wedding practices pertain to the characteristics of marriage and wedding traditions established and adhered by them Filipino men and women in the Philippines after a period of courtship and engagement. These traditions extend to other countries around the world where Filipino communities exist. Kasalan is the Filipino word for "wedding", while its root word – kasal – means "marriage". The present-day character of marriages and weddings in the Philippines were primarily influenced by the permutation of Christian, both Catholic and Protestant, Chinese, Spanish, and American models.