Information from the
The Sacrament of Holy
Marriage between a man and a woman should be performed
in the Orthodox Church according to the liturgical
tradition, and blessed by a priest recognised as canonical
by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. The procedure for
intended weddings is as follows:
- There must be no impediment (regarding
relationships) according to the Canons of the
- The priest must be given notice of at least one
month before the intended date of marriage.
- The parish priest will thereupon give directions
as to the necessary documents, fees for the
Archdiocese, as well as for the local Church.
In the case of mixed marriages, the non-Orthodox partner
must be a person who belongs to a denomination which accepts
the sacramental character of Holy
Baptism. Having been baptised in the name of the Holy
Trinity, he or she would declare responsibly that future
children will be baptised according to the rites of the
Eastern Orthodox Church and that they shall be raised in the
Orthodox Faith. Marriages with persons who belong to the
Pentecostal Church, Baptist Church, Salvation Army,
Christian Revival Crusades, Reborn Christians, Assembly of
God, Church of Christ and other similar religious groups are
prohibited. A non-Orthodox Christian who marries an Orthodox
Christian does not automatically become a member of the
Orthodox Church, and is therefore not permitted to
receive Holy Communion or other
sacraments in the Orthodox Church. In addition, Orthodox
priests are not allowed to conduct wedding services with
priests of other churches. The civil marriage cannot be
conducted without the priest simultaneously performing the
Marriages are not permitted:
- from the 13th December until Christmas day.
- on the 5th January, the eve of Epiphany.
- from Great Lent until Easter Sunday.
- from 1st to 15th August, the Dormition of
- on the 29th August, the Beheading of John the
- on the 14th September, Elevation of the Precious
and Life giving Cross.
An ecclesiastical divorce may be granted after a civil
Decree Absolute has been given however, the parish priest
must exert every effort to reconcile the couple and avert
the divorce. Should the priest fail to bring about
reconciliation, he will convey the petition of the party
seeking ecclesiastical divorce to the Spiritual Court of the
Archdiocese. A copy of the Decree Absolute must accompany
this petition and the fees for the Archdiocese. Such
ecclesiastical divorce is necessary in the case of a second
or third marriage, which is tolerated by our Church.
Baptism is the sacrament through which one is received
into the Church. Through baptism we receive the full
forgiveness of sins, we "put on Christ", becoming members of
His Body, the Church. To remind them of their Baptism,
Orthodox Christians usually wear throughout life a small
Cross, hung round the neck on a chain during their Baptismal
service. Immediately after Baptism, the Orthodox Christian
is "Chrismated" (confirmed) with the Chrism (in Greek
"myron") by the priest. The Sponsor (or Godparent) of the
baptised person must be an Orthodox Christian over the age
Non-Orthodox Christians wishing to enter the Orthodox
Church are received by the Sacrament of Holy Chrism if they
have previously been baptised in the Name of the Holy
Such services are held as an act of love and remembrance
towards the departed members of the Church. They are
not, however, held on the following days:
- From the Saturday of Lazarus until the Sunday of St.
- On the feast days of our Lord:
- Circumcision of our Lord (1 January),
- Epiphany (6 January),
- the Presentation (2 February),
- the Annunciation (25 March),
- the Ascension, (40 days after Pascha)
- Pentecost (50 days after Pascha),
- the Transfiguration (6 August), and
- Christmas Day.
- On the Feast of the Parish Church.
- On the 15 August, the Dormition of the Virgin
Our Church adopted fasting from the Old Testament. Christ
Himself fasted and preached about its significance (Matt.
6:16; Mark 2:20 and 9:29). The Early Church too, observed
fasting (Acts 13:2, 14:23 and II Cor. 2:27). As early as the
beginning of the third century, we have documents (of
substantiating the early establishment of regular fast days,
such as Wednesday and Friday: these two days are symbolical
and commemorative of Christ's betrayal and
crucifixion. And by the end of the fourth century,
the forty day (Great) Lenten fast was wide-spread. Later
other fasting periods were also adopted by the Church.
Fasting, accompanied by prayer and charity,
is a way of disciplining our entire person, not just the
body. Contrary to what most people think, it
underlines - rather than undermining - the
significance of the body towards whose glory it also
contributes. Furthermore, fasting is a small way of sharing
in contemporary suffering throughout the world.
In our ecclesiastical calendar, fasting usually precedes
great feasts and acts as a preparation for these events.
Fasts prescribed by the
1. Wednesday and Friday
Every Wednesday and Friday is to be observed
with fasting unless some important Feast takes precedence
over the fast. (See exceptions noted below)
The Fast on Wednesday is in memory of the betrayal of
the Lord, and the Fast on Friday is in remembrance of His
Passion and Death upon the Cross.
2. Special Fast Days
August 29, The Beheading of St. John the
September 14, The Elevation of the Holy Cross.
January 5, The Eve of the Epiphany.
Lent begins forty days before Palm Sunday, on
the Monday after Cheese-Fare Sunday, and lasts until the
evening preceding Palm Sunday.
Holy Week is a special Fast in honour of our Lord's
Passion, and lasts from the evening of Palm Sunday
through to Holy Saturday.
4. The Fast of the Holy
The Fast of the Holy Apostles begins on the
Monday after All Saints' Sunday (the Sunday next after
Pentecost) and lasts until June 29, the Feast of the Holy
Apostles Peter and Paul. This Fast varies in length
according to the date of Pascha (Easter).
5. The Fast of the
The Fast which precedes the Feast of the
Falling-asleep of the All-holy Theotokos begins on August
1 and lasts until the day of the Feast, August 15.
6. The Fast before
The Fast before Christmas begins on November 15
and lasts until the day of the Feast of the Nativity,
Periods when fasting is
The Church forbids fasting during the following
- From December 25 to January 5.
- The week following the Sunday of the Pharisee and
- The week following Meat-fare Sunday (abstinence
from flesh-meat is required during this week, but no
- The week following Holy Pascha (Easter).
- The week following Pentecost.
All Saturdays, excepting Holy Saturday.