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For the union of a man and woman to be recognized as sacramentally valid by the Orthodox Church, the following conditions must be met:
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.
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-
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-
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-
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.
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:
Guidelines for the Sponsor:
1. The sponsor (godfather/godmother; nounos/nouna)
2. The Sponsor Should Provide:
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:
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:
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