The Sacrament of Marriage

Marriage is one of the sacraments of the Orthodox Church. Orthodox Christians who marry must marry in the Church in order to be in sacramental communion with the Church. According to the Church canons, an Orthodox Christian who marries outside the Church may not serve as a sponsor, i.e. a Godparent at a Baptism of an Orthodox Christian or as a sponsor at a Wedding in the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church permits the marriage of an Orthodox Christian and another Trinitarian Christian through the Orthodox concept of economia (a type of theological dispensation.) The Church’s concern is for each person’s salvation, and therefore does not desire to place an insurmountable obstacle before her faithful by denying the Sacrament of Marriage to those who seek an inter-Christian marriage.

Dates on which Marriages cannot be performed

  • During Great Lent and Holy Week
  • On the eves or Feastdays of our Lord
  • January 5-6  Baptism of our Lord
  • August 1-15 – Fast period of the Assumption and Feast Day of the Assumption
  • August 29 – Feast of the Beheading of St John the Baptist
  • September 14 – Feast of Holy Cross
  • Christmas Fast – December 13-25.


  • Episcopal permission must be acquired at least one month in advance. (Orthodox Marriage Application – Click Here)
  • Civil marriage license must be obtained prior to the wedding and a copy be given to the priest prior to the conduct of the wedding.
  • Marriage must be conducted by an Orthodox priest in an Orthodox Church according to Orthodox Liturgical tradition.
  • Bride & Groom must provide documentation showing they are unmarried.
  • Either the Bride or Groom and the Sponsor must be members in good standing of an Orthodox parish.
  • Orthodox marriage will not be permitted if either party is not a Christian baptized in the name of the Trinity.
  • Divorcees must obtain an ecclesiastic divorce prior to application for permission to marry.
  • No individual may marry more than three times in the Church.

Prohibited Marriages Among Believers

  • First Group: Parents with their own children, grandparents or great-grandchildren.
  • Second Group: Brothers-in-law with sisters-in-law.
  • Third Group: Uncles and aunts with nieces and nephews.
  • Fourth Group: First cousins with each other and second cousins with each other.
  • Fifth Group: Foster parents with foster children or foster children with other children of common foster parents.
  • Sixth Group: Godparents with godchildren or godparents with the parents of godchildren.

Marriage Preparation Seminars

Marriage Preparation Seminars serve to provide engaged couples practical information regarding the elements of an Orthodox marriage in the hopes of helping to contribute to a successful marriage. The seminars are required by all couples who are marrying at the community of the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, Grand Blanc, MI. At the seminars, the religious, social, physical, emotional and moral issues of marriage are examined as well as what marriage means to Orthodox Christians. Marriage, in the Orthodox faith, requires a sacrificial love, which, as many things in life, is a learned experience, so that the couple becomes one in thought, one in action, one in flesh. Holy Matrimony is a life-long Sacrament at the time of the ceremony; it is a Sacrament that continues to be experienced throughout the couple’s life. The couple is also encouraged to receive the sacrament of Confession and the Sacrament of Holy Communion as part of their preparation for marriage.          By doing so they have the opportunity to bring a new vitality, a spirit and bond into their marriage that will enhance and deepen their lives.

OBLIGATIONS OF THE Sponsor (Koubaro/Koubara)

The godparent should pray about and consider that they are not simply an observer to the sacrament. Quite the contrary, the sponsor undertakes and assumes a great religious responsibility in the eyes of God. The godparent promises to care for, and nourish, the child’s spiritual life, growth, and development within the Church. Since the Godparent is expected to provide the child a continuing example of Christian virtue the Orthodox Church sees this as a life-long relationship.

In order to qualify ecclesiastically to serve as a Godparent (Nouna/Nouno) of a child or adult at the sacrament of Holy Baptism, the following requirements must be met:

  1. During the sacrament of Holy Baptism, the godparent will respond on behalf of the child prior to the Baptismal service by offering a profession of faith in Jesus Christ by reciting the Nicean Creed for the child.
  2. If you are married, you must have been married in the Orthodox Church.
  3. Following the day of the child’s Holy Baptism, the godparent is asked to bring the newly baptized child to Church to receive Holy Communion for three consecutive Sundays and as frequently as possible thereafter.
  4. You must be a baptized and sacramentaly active member of the Orthodox Church. You must also be in good financial standing with the Church. Godparents must be continuous pledging members of the Assumption Church. If you are pledging for the first time, or you have skipped a year, then a minimum stewardship pledge of $500 is required. Please contact the priest directly in the event of financial difficulty. Please be assured that strict confidentiality is exercised at all times.
  5. If you are coming from another parish, you must send in a letter of certification from your parish priest, at least 2 weeks in advance, certifying your ecclesiastical eligibility to participate in a sacrament of the Orthodox Church.

What to Bring          

The couple is requested to bring the following articles on the day of the Wedding.

  • Rings for both bride and groom
  • Crowns (these can be according to the couples tradition, ie stephana, crowns, etc.)
  • White candles (1 large and 2 small).
  • Sweet red wine