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Question 186

Good morning pater I'm hoping you can help me. I was married to an Italian man. We married in the Greek church and our children were christened in the Catholic church. (basically I wanted to marry in the Greek church and he agreed as long as I agreed to christening the children in his Catholic church) . So my question is can my children marry in the Greek church. I ask as some say yes some say no. It is the Greek church they want to marry in. Thank you   

 

Answer to Question 186

 

Usually when we marry people where the one partner is Roman Catholic of Church or England, we get them to sign a declaration that the children from that marriage will be baptised in the Orthodox Church. Your children can marry an Orthodox person in the Orthodox Church, but they will be asked to sign a declaration saying that their children will be baptised Orthodox.

 

Same member

We was not asked to sign a declaration we married in the Greek church at Golder's Green. So are you saying that if they don't marry someone that has been christened in the orthodox church they would not be able to marry there even though they are half Greek?.

 

Answer

Nationality has nothing to do with membership of a church. One partner has to be a member of the Orthodox Church, he or she could be Russian, Serbian, Syrian, English, African, or any other nationality, but as long as the partner is Orthodox the Church will marry them. If their partner belongs to another church then they either have to become Orthodox themselves or get married in their own church.

 

Same member

Ok thank you so they can become Orthodox? How can we do that ?

 

Reply

Go to your local Orthodox church and speak to the priest. In England the procedure is fairly simply, the baptism they received in the Roman Catholic church is accepted and they will be received through the Sacrament of Chrismation meaning the application of Holy Myron. The whole service is literally 5 minutes. In Limassol we do not accept any baptism outside of the Orthodox church so we would insist that they were baptised.

 

Another member

Good afternoon pater, could you please explain why the difference between how itís accepted in England and Limassol.

 

Answer

One would expect that all the Orthodox church follow suit , but that is not the case. For hundreds of year the question of whether to receive candidates from other churches to the Orthodox church through baptism or through Chrismation has followed two schools of thought. If we follow the strict meaning of the Churches canons then everyone joining the church must be baptised. Most Orthodox churches follow a relaxation of the canons which allows for what we call "economia" or a dispensation where candidates can be received only through Chrismation. A ruling by the Patriarchate of Constantinople more than 200 years ago leaves it up to each individual bishop to decide if he wishes to apply the strict rule or the economy rule in his area. In Limassol, as also on the Holy Mountain of Athos, our bishop follows the strict rule. If you want to know more I covered this in detail in a talk I gave years ago. You can read the talk at the following link

 

 

http://www.christopherklitou.com/talk_on_being_received_through_chrismation_or_baptism_8-10-2009.htm