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Question 60

What's the position of the Church concerning divorce?  A priest once told me persons who wanna divorce must go to an ecclesiastical court and that divorces are allowed only in some cases. What happens if someone is married to a lunatic who is on drugs and beats them and their child? Will the church ecclesiastical court give a divorce?   



Answer to Question 60


Every national Orthodox church has different procedures for divorce so I can only tell you what the procedure is in Cyprus. Up to a few years ago it was necessary to have two court divorces, the civil court divorce and the ecclesiastical (church) court divorce, both represented with lawyers. In recent years the Church of Cyprus has stopped the ecclesiastical court divorce and people need only attend the civil court divorce. Once this has been issued, you can then apply to the church to issue the ecclesiastical divorce without the procedure of a court hearing. For other countries you need to speak with the Archdiocese and ask them what is needed. They may wish to speak to both parties to see if there is any chance of a reconciliation before going ahead with the ecclesiastical divorce hearing. In the majority of cases, if the marriage is no longer viable the church will rule in favour of a divorce.