Weddings

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. The Sacrament of Matrimony must be celebrated by an Orthodox according to the liturgical tradition of the Orthodox Church and with the authorization of the diocesan Bishop.

    Before permission can be granted, the Priest must verify that:

    1. neither party in question is 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;
    6. a civil marriage license has been obtained from civil authorities.
  2. No person may marry more than three times in the Church.
  3. In cases involving the marriage of Orthodox and non-Orthodox Christians, the latter must have been baptized, in water, in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Church cannot bless the marriage of an Orthodox Christian to a non-Christian.
  4. The Sponsor (koumbaros or koumbara) must provide a current certificate of membership proving him or her to be an Orthodox Christian in good standing with the Church. A person who does not belong to a parish, or who belongs to a parish under the jurisdiction of a bishop who is not in communion with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, or who, if married, has not had his or her marriage blessed by the Orthodox Church, or, if divorced, has not received an ecclesiastical divorce, cannot be a sponsor. Non-Orthodox persons may be members of the wedding party, but may not exchange the rings or crowns.
  5. The Sponsor cannot be someone whom the bride or groom has previously sponsored.

Days When Weddings are NOT Permitted in 2009

  • Theophany (January 5-6)
  • Holy Lent (March 2-April 19, 2009)
  • Holy Week and Pascha
  • Pentecost (July 6-7, 2009)
  • Dormition Fast and Feast (August 1-15 )
  • Beheading of St. John the Baptist (August 29)
  • Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14)
  • Nativity (December 13-25)

Inter-Christian Marriages

The Orthodox Church will bless marriages between Orthodox and non-Orthodox partners, provided that:

  1. The non-Orthodox partner is a Christian who has been baptized, in water, in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and
  2. The couple should be willing to baptize their children in the Orthodox Church and raise and nurture them in accordance with the Orthodox Faith.

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.

Prohibited Marriages

The following types of relationships constitute impediments to marriage:
  • Parents with their own children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren, or godchildren of the same godparents.
  • Brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
  • Uncles and aunts with nieces and nephews.
  • First cousins with each other.
  • Foster parents with foster children or foster children with the children of foster parents.
  • Godparents with godchildren or godparents with the parents of their godchildren.

Planning a wedding at St. Demetrios Church

~To check on availability of and set a date, call the church office (440) 331-2246 or email sdgoc@ohiocoxmail.com

~Once that is done, set up an appointment to meet with Fr. Paul, no later than two (2) months before the wedding. At that time we will begin the necessary paperwork which must be submitted to the diocese.

When planning your wedding, please give attention to the following:

Educational Resources

St. Demetrios Church offers an adult evening Catechism Class, taught by Dean Theodosion (440-801-1612), which is a wonderful resource in learning more about Orthodoxy (or refreshing your memory from Sunday School!) It is NOT required in order to get married unless the non-Orthodox spouse is thinking of converting, in which case, you need to schedule a separate meeting with Fr. Paul on that subject.

Choosing Your Sponsor(s)

Your wedding Sponsor(s) (Kombaro/oi) must be Orthodox Christian, in good standing with his/her parish. Traditionally, it was someone related to the bride or groom's godparents, but it can be any close friend or family member, if necessary. Remember that this will be one of your most important lifelong relationships, as the Koumbaro/a at the wedding traditionally baptizes the first child. In the ancient Church, it was a way to expand and strengthen one's family circle. If the sponsor is a member in good standing of a parish, other than St. Demetrios, his/her parish priest should send a letter to the church office stating so, either by mail or faxing the church office at 440-331-8407. Other bridal attendants, ushers, etc. are NOT required to be Orthodox.

Necessary Items

Below is a list of items needed for the Wedding Ceremony which, traditionally, is the responsibility of the Sponsor to provide:

  • Steffana (Flowered crowns/wreaths)
  • 2 Large decorated candles
  • A Common Cup (can be any sort of glass/crystal goblet)
  • A Silver Tray, layered with Koufeta (Jordan Almonds)

Stewardship

There is no fee for any sacrament of the church; however, we encourage you to be members of good standing and current on your pledge at some Greek Orthodox parish.

Wedding Ceremony Guidelines

  1. Per the direction of the Diocese, NO instruments, except the organ, are allowed in the church. You are responsible for the arranging of hiring a psalti (chanter) and organist at your wedding. Their fee(s) must be negotiated by you. The psalti should be an Orthodox Christian and must meet with the approval of the Priest. Here is a list of St. Demetrios parishioners who are qualified, as noted:

    Chanters:

    • Jonathon Tartara
    • Bill Matzorkis

    Organists

    • Kristy Tartara
    • Susan Lezan
    Please call the Church Office at (440)331-2246 to contact these chanters and organists.
  2. We also ask you to recognize the labor of the Neokoros (custodian) with a gift of money (in the range of $50-$100, depending on the size of your wedding.) The Sponsor most often offers this gift.
  3. Please remind your guests that this is a formal religious ceremony and that appropriate (modest) attire should be worn.
  4. Photographs and videos are permitted at the service. However, those taking photos are asked to remember the solemn nature of the sacrament and be careful not to disturb the Holy Service. Avoid flash photography.
  5. Visiting Orthodox clergy may participate in the sacrament with the permission of the Proistamenos (Fr. Paul) and, as applicable, the blessing of their diocesan bishop.
  6. If you would like the priest(s) to attend the wedding reception, please plan to invite him as you would your other guests. If he is unable to attend, please be understanding
  7. Enclosed is a pamphlet describing the elements of the Orthodox Wedding Ceremony. Feel free to use the information in your wedding program for your guests.

These are the documents needed at least 6 weeks prior to the Wedding Ceremony:

  • Copies of baptismal certificates for both bride-to-be and groom-to-be
  • If you have been previously married, the Supplemental Form and applicable forms:
    • Copy of divorce papers OR
    • Copy of late spouses' Death Certificate (if you are a re-marrying widow(er)
  • If you were born abroad, a letter stating that you are free to marry
  • Marriage Permit from City Hall (bring day of the service)