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Days When Marriage Is Not Permitted

Inter-Christian Marriages

Inter-religious Marriages

Prohibited Marriages


Holy Baptisms





For the union of a man and woman to be recog­nized as sacramentally valid by the Orthodox Church, the following conditions must be met:

  1. neither of the parties in question are already married to other persons, either in this country or elsewhere;
  2. the parties in question are not related to each other to a degree that would constitute an impediment;
  3. if either or both parties are widowed, they have pre­sented the death certificate(s) of the deceased spouse(s);
  4. if either or both of the parties have been previously married in the Orthodox Church, they have obtained ecclesiastical as well as civil divorce(s);
  5. the party or parties who are members of a parish other than the one in which the marriage is to be performed have provided a certificate declaring them to be members in good standing with that parish for the current year; and
  6. a civil marriage license has been obtained from civil authorities.     

Days When Marriage Is Not Permitted

Marriages are not performed on fast days or during fasting seasons; these include:  

Marriages may be performed on these days only by permission of the Metropolitan.


Inter-Christian Marriages

It is a fact that, the more a couple has in common, the more likely they are to live together in peace and concord. Shared faith and traditions spare couples and their children, as well as their extended families, many serious problems, and help to strengthen the bonds between them. Even so, the Orthodox Church will bless mar­riages between Orthodox and non-Orthodox partners, provided that:

A baptized Orthodox Christian whose wedding has not been blessed by the Orthodox Church is no longer in good standing with the Church, and may not receive the Sacraments of the Church, including Holy Communion, or become a Sponsor of an Orthodox Marriage, Baptism or Chrismation. A non-Orthodox Christian who marries an Orthodox Christian does not thereby become a member of the Orthodox Church, and may not receive the Sacraments, including Holy Commu­nion, or be buried by the Church, serve on the Parish Council, or vote in parish assemblies or elections. To participate in the Church's life, one must be received into the Church by the Sacra­ment of Baptism or, in the case of persons baptized with water in the Holy Trinity, following a period of instruction, by Chrismation.

Inter-Religious Marriages

Canonical and theological reasons preclude the Orthodox Church from performing the Sacrament of Marriage for couples where one partner is Orthodox and the other partner is a non-Christian. As such, Orthodox Christians choosing to enter such marriages fall out of good standing with their Church and are unable to actively participate in the life of the Church. While this stance may seem confusing and rigid, it is guided by the Orthodox Church's love and concern for its member's religious and spiritual well being.


Prohibited Marriages

The following types of relationships constitute impediments to marriage:



The parish priest must exert every effort to recon­cile the couple and avert a divorce. However, should he fail to bring about reconciliation, after a civil divorce has been obtained, he will transmit the petition of the party seeking the ecclesiastical divorce, together with the decree of the civil divorce, to the Spiritual Court of the Diocese. The petition must include the names and surnames of the husband and wife, the wife's surname prior to marriage, their addresses, the name of the priest who performed the wedding, and the date and place of the wedding. The petitioner must be a member in good standing with the parish through which he or she is petitioning for divorce. Orthodox Christians of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese who have obtained a civil divorce but not an eccle­siastical divorce may not participate in any sacra­ments of the Church or serve on the Parish Council, Diocesan Council or Archdiocesan Council until they have been granted a divorce by the Church.


Holy Baptism

In the Sacrament of Baptism, a person is incorporated into the crucified, resurrection and glorified Christ and is reborn to participate in the divine life. Each baptized person also shares in the royal priesthood of the people of God. It is through baptism, therefore, that one becomes a fully participating member of the Church, and is made an heir of eternal life.

A person who wishes to sponsor a candidate for Baptism or Chrismation must be an Orthodox Christian in good standing and a supporting member of an Orthodox parish.  A person may not serve as a godparent if the Church has not blessed his or her marriage or, if civilly divorced, he or she has not been granted an ecclesiastical divorce, or for any reason he or she is not in communion with the Orthodox Church.

Guidelines for Baptism

Guidelines for Parents:

  1. Choose carefully a sponsor for your child who will be a good Christian example and take seriously the awesome responsibilities a sponsor assumes.
  2. Both parents, if Orthodox Christians must be members in good standing and current in their Stewardship Pledge to the Church.
  3. A name of Christian origin is to be given the child at baptism.
  4. The day, time and other arrangements must be made with the priest by calling the Church Office at least three weeks prior to the baptism.
  5. Someone should be appointed to undress and dress the child.
  6. Two people should be appointed to carry the candles during the service.
  7. To insure the proper dignity and solemnity of your child’s baptism pictures should be limited as much as possible.

Guidelines for the Sponsor:

1.   The sponsor (godfather/godmother; nounos/nouna)

2.    The Sponsor Should Provide:

  1. A complete change of clothes for the child.
  2. A bottle of olive oil.
  3. A gold cross for the child.
  4. One bar of Ivory soap.
  5. One hand towel
  6. Two large bath towels.
  7. One sheet.
  8. Three white candles, one of which is by tradition elaborately decorated.

3.     The role of the sponsor was originally to give assurance to the Church

for the faith of the one who was to be baptized; this is still the         practice in the case of adult baptism or Chrismation. In the case of infant baptism, the Sponsor stands and vouches for the child, who is unable to make the necessary confession of faith.

4.     The Sponsor should be ready to recite the Nicene Creed either in English or Greek.   

5.     For three consecutive Sundays after the Baptism, the sponsor should   carry the infant to the Holy    Altar to receive Holy Communion.

Reception of Converts

When a person who comes voluntarily from some other Christian confession requests to be received into the Orthodox Church, the priest, after the person completes catechism, will accept him/her in one of three ways, dependent upon the specific case, and as prescribed by canon 95 of the Penthekte Council:

Clinical Baptism

In the event an unbaptized infant is near death, a priest should be called immediately for a clinical baptism. If time is of the essence, however, and the priest is unable to arrive in time, an Orthodox lay person, or any other Christian, may baptize the infant by sprinkling Holy Water on the infant or by raising the infant up in the air three times while saying, “The Servant of God (name) is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Dates When Baptisms May Not Be Held

Baptisms may not be performed on the following days unless it is absolutely necessary and permission is obtained from the Archbishop:



Funeral services are permitted on any day of the year, except for Sundays and Holy Friday, unless permission is granted from the diocesan Bishop.



Memorial services may not be chanted from the Saturday of Lazarus through the Sunday of Thomas, on any Feast day of the Lord or any Feast day of the Theotokos.


Just as there are times for feasting, there are also times set aside for fasting. During these periods, certain foods are prohibited. These are, in order of frequency of prohibition, meat (includ­ing poultry), dairy products, fish, olive oil and wine. Fruits, vegetables, grains and shellfish are permitted throughout the year. Of course, the Orthodox Church never reduces the practice of fasting to a legalistic observance of dietary rules. Fasting, that is not accompanied by intensified prayer and acts of charity, inevitably becomes a source of pride. The Church also recognizes that not everyone can fast to the same degree, and assumes that individual Christians will observe the fast prescribed for them by their spiritual fathers. The following are fasting days and seasons:

The following are fasting days on which fish, wine and olive oil are permitted:

On the following days, all foods are permitted: