Marriage at St. Maximus
Both applicants must come to the Church, speak with the Priest, and file an application at least three months in advance of a proposed date for Marriage. It is better that the Priest be involved in the process even before engagement if possible, or at least from the time of engagement.
The Sacrament of Marriage is the beginning of a spiritual process that lasts a lifetime. As a rule, the Church only marries Orthodox Christian members who are regular communicants and who intend to live as an Orthodox Christian family. Certain exceptions (special dispensation) may be made for a "mixed marriage" (marriage to a non-Orthodox spouse who has received a form of Christian Baptism), but the non-Orthodox spouse must agree that any children will be baptized and raised in the Orthodox Church and also be open to converting to Orthodoxy in the future. Marriage of divorced persons also requires a special dispensation from the bishop. Special dispensation is obtained through the priest, who will bring the matter to the bishop.
Together the couple seeks to receive the saving grace of God in their lives. To be married in and by the Church without conspicuously intending to nurture that relationship in the Church is a mistake. To be married in the Church simply to please other family members, or because it is an ethnic custom, is dishonest to ourselves and to God. Before we can proceed with setting up a date for your marriage, there are certain steps that must be taken, and pre-marriage counseling must be scheduled.
Before you can be married in the
Church, some preparation and pre-conditions must first be met by you. We are
not a spiritual ‘fast-food’ service, dispensing spiritual services on demand.
Marriage in the Church presumes a serious commitment to Christ and willingness
to follow Him in obedience. If that commitment is not present or not desired,
there is no point to pursuing Marriage in the Church.
• Become a Member of the Parish by
filling out a membership request form, beginning to attend services regularly, and beginning to
bring your tithes and offerings.
• Speak to the priest to secure a
date for the Marriage at least three months in advance, and fill out an
Application for Marriage. There are many other things that must be discussed
such as times and days when Marriages are permitted to be served in the Church.
Do not make any plans (invitations, hall rental, etc.) before clearing the date
with the priest. The proper day for Marriages is Sunday. Marriages on other
days will be considered only on the basis of hardship and may require special
permission from the Bishop.
• Attend the pre-marital counseling
sessions prescribed by the priest.
• Live chastely (no sex before
marriage), and do not live together in the same place until after the Marriage
service is performed.
• The Couple and Sponsors/Godparents
must receive the Sacrament of Holy Confession and prepare to receive Holy
Communion prior to the Marriage.
• You will need to purchase/provide
• There are no fees for Marriage,
but free-will offerings to the clergy celebrating the marriage and to the
parish are customary. If you have not been a member of the parish and want a
choir, a gift for that would be appropriate too.
• There are no fees for long-time
members of the parish to use parish hall space for a reception; fees for
non-members will be determined by the parish council. No receptions may be held
at the Church on Saturdays.
• Make a sincere promise to live a
Christian Orthodox life by making attendance of Liturgy on Sundays a regular
part of your family life. This is an indispensable part of a successful
No wedding is put on the calendar
until the initial meeting has taken place.
Be sure to consult the priest about every
aspect of the
Marriage (rings, dress, flowers, special music requests, etc.)
N.B. Orthodox Marriage is always
performed in the church building, never outside.
Please call or e-mail the priest
with any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org). I hope to see you in church this
Sunday and every Sunday thereafter as we move closer to your wedding day. The
Liturgy begins at 9:30 a.m. God bless you.
—The Reverend Justin Frederick,