Church of St. John of Damascus

Wedding IconMarriage Procedures in the Eastern Orthodox Church

Below are the procedures and guidelines when considering marriage in the Eastern Orthodox Church.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the church office or the pastor and we will gladly provide further clarification.

  • The Orthodox Church does not perform the Sacrament of Marriage for two non-Orthodox Christians or for an Orthodox and an unbaptized person.
  • An Orthodox Christian must be married in the Orthodox Church, by an Orthodox priest and according to the Orthodox service in order to be in proper canonical and spiritual standing.
  • The Sponsoring witness(es) at an Orthodox marriage (Best Man and / or Maid of Honor) must be an Orthodox Christian.
  • By application of the principle of oikonomia (economy) the Orthodox Sacrament of Marriage between an Orthodox and a Christian baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, known as a mixed marriage, may be performed in the manner prescribed in the Service Book. The non-Orthodox is requested to present a Certificate of Baptism well in advance of the wedding.
  • Should the parties in a mixed marriage request the presence of a non-Orthodox clergyman, the following procedure is ordered subject to the approval of the bishop. The Orthodox pastor will issue an invitation to the guest clergyman who may be seated on the Solea during the marriage service. The pastor will also issue an invitation to any Orthodox clergy whom you wish to invite.
  • Marriages cannot (without the Metropolitan Archbishop's permission) take place on the eves of Wednesday or Friday, Great Lent, Advent, Dormition Fast, and other fast days.
  • During the service proper, only Orthodox hymns prescribed by the Church are permitted. Appropriate music performed by an organ and/or a soloist (only - as per Archdiocese policy), however, may be sung before and after the wedding service.) It is your responsibility to arrange for this; although, the pastor may be able to offer some recommendations to you.
  • The photographer and/or video person must meet with the pastor prior to the service.
  • In the event this is a second marriage of either party (Orthodox or not), permission from the Metropolitan Archbishop is needed via the Pastor and the service used will be according to the liturgical guide. Please consult with the pastor immediately if this is the case.
  • A marriage license from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must be secured before the ceremony and must be presented to the pastor beforehand.
  • Plan on meeting with the pastor 4-6 weeks prior to the wedding date for premarital counseling. In addition, the rehearsal should be scheduled well in advance of the wedding so that a mutually convenient time can be arranged. In thanksgiving to God, an offering to the Church should be made; $50 is the stipend for the chanter (the pastor will secure the chanter), $50 is the stipend for the sexton, and if you care to, a gift to the pastor can be made at your discretion.
  • A check for $10 made out to "The Antiochian Archdiocese" to cover the cost of the certificate from the archdiocese.
  • All Orthodox parties (Bride/Groom, Best Man etc.) are strongly encouraged and urged to receive confession and communion at the Sunday closest to their wedding date.
  • Your crowns should be removed the first Sunday after your return from the honeymoon. Please call the church office in advance of this date to arrange for this.
  • If you choose to get a runner plan on getting one at least 75 feet. In addition, there are 18 pews.