If a couple wishes to solemnize their marriage in our Orthodox Church, please contact the Church Office to reserve the date BEFORE a reception location is arranged. Generally, at least a year in advance timing may be needed to secure your date. Note that the best man (koumbari) must be an Orthodox Christian in which written confirmation must be provided to the priest in order for him to participate in the Sacrament of Matrimony. Inquire within of the certain dates in which weddings cannot take place (i.e., during Lent, major holidays, etc.)
In the Orthodox Christian church, committed marriages are between Christians in which only one member needs to be an Orthodox Christian. Mixed marriages (in which one member is not an Orthodox Christian, but is a Christian) do not require the non-Orthodox member to become Orthodox. If the non-Orthodox Christian member wants to be admitted into the Orthodox Church, they can through the Sacrament of Confirmation. Further note that if a marriage takes place in a non-Orthodox church, the Orthodox member can only worship in the Orthodox Church, but is not allowed to take communion of the Holy Gifts in the Orthodox Church.
Preparing for marriage is a beautiful experience. In addition to preparing for your wedding day, it is also important to focus on your marriage for life. We welcome couples getting married to participate in preparation seminars with the priest to discuss issues, struggles and strategies as you embark on your new life together. These seminars are required prior to your wedding date. Please contact the Church Office for scheduling with the priest.
Requirements to Marry
For the union of a man and woman to be recognized as sacramentally valid by the Orthodox Church, the following conditions must be met:
- The Sacrament of Matrimony must be celebrated by an Orthodox Priest of a canonical Orthodox jurisdiction, according to the liturgical tradition of the Orthodox Church, in a canonical Orthodox Church, and with the authorization of the Archbishop or Metropolitan.
- Before requesting permission from the Archbishop or his Metropolitan to perform the marriage, a Priest must verify that:
- neither of the parties in question are already married to other persons, either in this country or elsewhere;
- the parties in question are not related to each other to a degree that would constitute an impediment;
- if either or both parties are widowed, they have presented the death certificate(s) of the deceased spouse(s);
- 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);
- 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
- a civil marriage license has been obtained from civil authorities.
- No person may marry more than three times in the Church, with permission for a third marriage granted only with extreme oikonomia.
- 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.
- 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.
Days When Marriage Is Not Permitted
Marriages are not performed on fast days or during fasting seasons or on the feasts of the Church, such as:
- September 14 (Exaltation of the Holy Cross)
- December 13-25 (Nativity)
- January 5 and 6 (Theophany)
- Great Lent and Holy Week
- Pascha (Easter)
- August 1-15 (Dormition Fast and Feast)
- August 29 (Beheading of St. John the Baptist)
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:
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
The parish priest must exert every effort to reconcile the couple and avert a divorce. However, should he fail to bring about a 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 Archdiocesan District or Metropolis. 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 of 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, Archdiocesan District Council, Metropolis Council or Archdiocesan Council until they have been granted a divorce by the Church.
Are you planning on getting married at our church?
- Please refer to this document for details: ASCENSION – MARRIAGE
40 Days After Birth (“Sarantismos”)
When the beautiful event of the arrival of a new member to your family occurs, please contact the priest to come either to the hospital or at the family home to bless the mother and the newborn. Then, forty days after the birth of the infant, parents along with the prospective godfather or godmother should come to the church where prayer is read to the mother and the baby. Essentially, parents are presenting their child to God to receive His blessing. The name given to a child should be a name of a saint of the Orthodox Church.
After the 40 Day blessing, the child must then be baptized. It is preferred that the child is still an infant for the baptism since the sacrament becomes more difficult as they become older and. Note that the selected godparents must be Orthodox Christians and need to provide written confirmation from their priest (if not a member of our parish) noting that they can participate in the sacrament of Baptism. 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 other reason he or she is not in communion with the Orthodox Church.
Baptisms may not be performed from Christmas Day through the Feast of Theophany (December 25-January 6), during Holy Week or on any of the Great Feast days of the Lord.
If you decide to celebrate the sacrament of Baptism in our church, please call the Church Office in time to close the baptism date (before the place of reception is chosen).
Are you planning on having a baptism at our church?
- Please refer to this document for details: ASCENSION – BAPTISM
Chrismation (Confirmation for Non-Orthodox Christians)
The sacrament of Confirmation is celebrated with baptism and offers a non-Orthodox Christian the sanctity to become an Orthodox Christian. Through Chrismation, members of other Christian denominations are accepted into the Orthodox Church. Those who are not Christians are allowed only into the Orthodox Church through Baptism, regardless of their age.
On the death of a beloved one in the family, please reach out to the priest for his spiritual guidance and comfort. During business hours, call the Church Office and during the evening hours (regardless of the time), contact the priest on his cell or home phone. Please provide the full details of the funeral and he can announce his sympathies during services. Please note that cremation is prohibited by the Orthodox Church. Also note that laymen are not allowed in the temple or to make speeches at funerals. Note that funeral services are permitted on any day of the year, except for Sundays and Holy Friday, unless permission is granted from the Archbishop or Metropolitan.
Memorial services for our loved ones who have passed away are to occur on the 3rd day, 9th day, 21st day, 40th day, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year from the date of death at the request of the family. The Divine Liturgy is an offering for the repose of the soul of the departed. For the memorial service, boiled barley (kolyva) must be prepared symbolizing the resurrection, along with oil, wine and incense. Please provide these items early in the morning (even before the Orthros) along with a paper listing the names of the departed to be read during service by the priest. Generally, after the memorial service, the family can choose to host the fellowship hour in the church hall following services in which coffee and light snacks are provided to all parishioners. If you would like to hold a memorial service for a loved one, please contact the Church Office at least two weeks in advance. Note that the memorial service will also be listed in the weekly bulletin which is passed out to all parishioners.
Please note that there are certain days in which memorial services cannot be performed, such as from the Saturday of Lazarus until the Sunday of Ascension, Pentecost, the Transfiguration, Assumption, Nativity of the Virgin Mary, Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Sleeping of the Virgin Mary, Christmas, New Year’s, Epiphany, Presentation, Sunday of Orthodoxy, Sunday of the Holy Cross and Palm Sunday.
Are you planning a memorial service at our church?
- Please refer to this document for details: ASCENSION – MEMORIAL <<Link to PDF>>
Confession is one of the sacraments of the Church. Studies show this sacrament originated by Christ to the Apostles and now reaches to priests who have the ability to forgive sins confessed in privacy with the priest.
It is custom in our Church that during the feast day of a family member, the celebrating family offers artoklasia (blessed bread) to the church to be blessed with names to be read by the priest praying for health and wellness of those family members. If someone would like to offer artoklasia, the following items should be brought to the church: five loaves, a bottle of wine (NAMA) and a bottle of olive oil. Of the five blessed bread, one is given to the celebrating family and the other four are cut into pieces and distributed to the faithful.
The participation of the faithful in the liturgy also includes the supply of necessary items for the celebration of the Liturgy. The wine, oil, candles, incense and carbon brushes are materials which are given as an offering by the faithful to the Church and as a small token of gratitude for the countless benefactions of God. By receiving these offerings, the priest reads the names for all those in health (still living) and for those in repose (passed away).
If you find yourself ill and desire a visit from the priest for a blessing or spiritual visit, please call the church office or the priest. Since hospitals are no longer permitted to notify churches automatically when parishioners become patients there, please call the church office or ask a family member, friend or the hospital to do so and let us know you are in the hospital. When we learn that you have entered the hospital, the priest will visit you.
If you would like to be on the prayer list, just call the church office or the priest and inform us. Relatives should ensure that the priest visit with the faithful who are suffering with chronic diseases or the elderly periodically, and especially before major religious holidays.
Confidentiality is always honored. If you do not want a visit, for any reason, let us know; and we will honor your request since we understand! All of us need different kinds of support during a time of need.