Church marriage; what are the rules? Who does the Church allow to marry, and who does it refuse? Illegal marriages and peculiarities of their dissolution. How Orthodox Christians marry, the reality of modern America.
A church marriage is a Christian wedding in a church of two loving hearts, close physically and spiritually, to continue having children in a harmonious relationship. It is considered a sacrament granted by the will of God in heaven.
What is church marriage?
In many countries, the Church is separated from the state, so Church and civil marriages are very different. A wedding in the Church has a spiritual essence because God said that “they will become one flesh.” A spouse’s life should be a model of Christian living.
The secular relationship between a man and a woman is registered with state institutions. The Church has nothing to do with the outcome of such a marriage. It is the main difference between a church marriage and a civil one.
Church marriages are not covered by family law. The latter is a set of legal norms; they fix at the legislative level property and other rights that have arisen as a result of cohabitation. And a church wedding is subject to the jurisdiction of the Church’s special rules.
Family law is the subject of marriage and how it can be dissolved. The law regulates relations in the family between husband and wife, for example, who will take part in raising a child, and how will distribute responsibilities in the family. The marriage is terminated if one of the spouses does not fulfill their obligations.
In some countries, only civil marriages are recognized, for example, in France or Japan. In others, spouses can choose: to register their relationship with a government agency or go to Church (England, Spain, and Canada).
It is important to know! Only religious marriages are performed in Israel, Liechtenstein, US states, Canadian provinces, and Muslim countries.
The Bible is the most popular book of all times and nations and consists of the Old and New Testaments (the Gospels). They say, with a little discrepancy, what an ecclesiastical marriage is and how it is completed.
Let’s see how Scripture interprets the union of man and woman:
- The Old Testament … Consists of 39 canonical books; the Orthodox include 11 more non-canonical books. Why do people need church marriage? God says in the second chapter of the Book of Genesis: “It is not good for a man to be alone; let us make him a helper corresponding to him” (Gen. 2:18). And He created the first woman, Eve, from Adam’s rib and said that “… will call her wife because took her from her husband …. And they will become one flesh. “These words must be understood as the physical and spiritual closeness of a man and a woman, who united their destiny for an everyday life according to the will of God, to give birth to children and have eternal life in them.
- The New Testament (Gospel) … When the Pharisees told Jesus that Moses allowed divorce, Christ replied that he did it “according to the hardness of the heart.” Husband and wife are one flesh, and divorce is only possible when she is unfaithful to him. “Whoever divorces his wife, not for adultery, and marries commits adultery.” The Lord considered a married man’s relationship with another woman a great sin.
Christ’s seventh commandment is short: “You shall not commit adultery.” It is about the temptations that await a man and a woman (single or married) when love arises between them, and they look lustfully at each other. Such attraction leads to fornication and corrupts the soul. A person becomes a hostage of his passion and often does not act according to his conscience. He loses contact with God and pleases the devil with his unrighteous works. He has a straight path to hell. Such people cannot create a moral family that pleases God and lives according to Christian commandments.
Church marriage is about mutual respect and harmony. People are beautiful not in their clothes but the beauty of their spirit. When he and she hold hands through all the difficulties of life, supporting each other in word and deed in a difficult moment.