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Question 52.

Father your blessing!


In the case of a wedding between an Orthodox Christian and a heterodox, during the Service, is the crowning part (The servant of God N. is crowned to the servant of God N.) omitted?


With respect,

Evangelos

 

Answer to Question 52.

Dear Evangelos,

 

Strictly speaking and according to the canons of the Church, marriage between an Orthodox and a Non Orthodox is not permitted. The Church allows marriage between Orthodox and certain Christian denominations such as Roman Catholic and Church of England because it allows the “Economia” rule concerning Baptism. For centuries after the Great Schism of 1054, some Orthodox Churches applied the strict rule (“κατ’ ακρίβεια”) and insisted that those entering the Orthodox Church or being married in the church with an Orthodox had to be first Baptized an Orthodox. Others applied the “κατ' οικονομίαν” rule which accepted the Baptism performed by heretical churches and the Non Orthodox person could be received into the Orthodox Church only with the anointing of Holy Myron or in the case of marriage remain with his/her own church and marry in the Orthodox Church because his/her heretical Baptism is recognized as a true baptism.
In 1875 a Patriarchal and Synodical letter (26 May 1875) examined the two practices of “κατ’ ακρίβεια” and “κατ' οικονομίαν” and came to a decision that the issue should rest with each bishop, thus each Metropolitan of each territory had the authority to either accept a Latin only through Chrism and a Libel Document where he denounces the practices of the Latin Church or he could insist that the Latin must be baptized.
Today the majority of the Orthodox Churches have accepted the practice of “κατ' οικονομίαν”. This is especially so with the Orthodox Churches of America and the rest of the Diaspora.
As for the actual service nothing is omitted since the crowning is the actual marriage in the Orthodox Church and not the exchange of rings which is the Betrothal service performed just before the Marriage service.
When mixed marriages with persons from other Christian denominations are performed the non Orthodox person is asked to sign a declaration that the children born from the marriage will be baptized and raised as Orthodox.
In you want to read more on the subject go to the Talks page of the website and read Talk 55 dated 8/10/09 - Talk on being received through Chrismation or Baptism.
For a more detailed account go to “INSTRUCTIONS FOR JOINING THE ORTHODOX CHURCH”, and click on CHAPTER 7 - CONVERTS FROM OTHER CHRISTIAN CHURCHES.
 

With love in Christ
Fr. Christopher