Marriage is a holy Sacrament, a journey towards the Kingdom of God. Those who are married are called upon to love unselfishly, to put the needs of their spouse before theirs, to communicate. If God has a very central part in our life, this will help us in many ways, including in our marriage. Being cultivated spiritually will help us to be humble, forgiving, to try and see things from the other’s perspective, and this will all guard our marriage and lead it to greater heights.
If you want to organise your marriage an initial meeting with your parish priest would be desirable, just to talk and to get to know each other. The date of your marriage could be booked at that initial meeting.
Both of you will be encouraged to attend a marriage preparation seminar. This is held at the Archdiocese, 242 Cleveland St, Redfern, generally 7-9 pm on a Monday and Tuesday evening, several are held throughout the year, usually April, July and October. Topics covered include theological aspects, roles within marriage, legal aspects, medical aspects, communication, and money matters. Those who wish to attend can book with Mary Demos at the Greek Welfare Centre on 9516 2188.
The paperwork for a marriage needs to be completed a month or more prior to the wedding. To enable your priest to do the paperwork you will need to meet with him and each have with you the following:
- Birth Certificate (if you were not born in Australia and do not have your overseas birth certificate, a passport, old or current, will do)
- Baptism certificate. (if you cannot find this, you can obtain a copy from the Church where you were baptised- the copy costs $70)
- If you have never been married and are Orthodox, you will need a Celibacy certificate. If you have been previously married, you will need your civil divorce papers, if you are Orthodox, you will also need to bring Ecclesiastical divorce papers. If your spouse has deceased, you will need to bring the death certificate.
Fees: The couple need to pay the Archdiocese fee for the marriage certificate of $300. The celibacy certificate costs $70 per spouse, and an Ecclesiastical divorce costs $350 per spouse. The couple also pay the priest $100 for the civil marriage certificate. On the day of the wedding the best man or maiden of honour pays the Church $350 ($250 parish fees and the rest are gratuities for chanter and neokoro).
If one of you is not a baptised Orthodox Christian, and sincerely wants to be received into the Orthodox Church, then this holy process and journey can be initiated, but it will take at least 6 months. You will need to get to know your parish Priest, and write to the bishop, explaining why you want to be accepted into the Orthodox Church. Your letter to the bishop should start:
Bishop Seraphim of Apollonia
242 Cleveland St, REDFERN 2016
The bishop will likely recommend that you attend talks on the Orthodox Church that are held regularly for just this purpose, for those wishing to enter the Orthodox Church.
Marriage is permitted between an Orthodox and a Christian who has been baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity: those belonging to the Roman Catholic, Anglican (Church of England), Uniting, or Presbyterian Churches. Marriage is also permitted with Oriental Orthodox (Coptic, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Indian Orthodox etc), and with those belonging to the Assyrian Church of the East. The baptism of someone baptized in Australia after 1967 in the Macedonian Orthodox Church can only be accepted after such a person receives Chrismation from a canonical Orthodox priest.
Dates on which Marriages are not permitted:
- from 13th December until Christmas day
- on the 5th January, the eve of Epiphany
- Great Lent until Easter Sunday (these dates vary from year to year)
- from 1st to 15th August, the Dormition of the Theotokos
- on the 29th August, the Beheading of St John the Baptist
- on the 14th September, the Elevation of the Holy Cross