If you have recently been engaged, congratulations!
We at St. Elias Cathedral rejoice in the love that you as a couple share with one another. Your decision to be married in the Church is an indication that the Christian faith and the sacramental life of the Church are important to you. In the eyes of the Church, marriage is a sacramental act which unites the man and the woman in their love to our Lord Jesus Christ. The two “become one flesh.”
Marriage does not take place in a spiritual vacuum. For this reason, for a couple to be married at St. Elias Cathedral, at least one member of the couple must be an Orthodox Christian in good standing with the Church. The other person, while not necessarily required to be Orthodox, must be a validly-baptized Christian in good standing with his or her church. An Orthodox Christian is not permitted to marry a non-Christian/non-baptized person. If one member of the couple has a previous divorce in their past, this is not an obstacle to remarriage, but they must first speak with the priest in order to take the appropriate measures to be reinstated into the sacramental life of the Church.
For those planning weddings at St. Elias Cathedral, the following requirements must be met:
1. The Orthodox wedding service is not simply a social “contract” between the man and the woman. Rather, it is a complete joining of the husband and wife together in Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the bond which unites the man and woman in the communion of marriage. Therefore, the sacrament of Marriage presupposes that the couple are already living a dedicated life in the Church, and will continue to do so after marriage.
2. Weddings should be booked at least 6 months in advance; 1 year in advance is preferrable. Please reserve the church BEFORE reserving the reception hall. We do not take wedding reservations over the phone; the couple must make an appointment to speak with the priest before the wedding date will be confirmed.
3. There are certain days when weddings CANNOT take place. These include: Wednesdays and Fridays, Great Feasts of the Church, during the Christmas Fast (Nov. 15 – Dec. 25), during Great Lent (including the period from Meatfare Sunday to Thomas Sunday), and during the Dormition Fast (Aug. 1-15).
4. If either member of the couple was previously married & divorced, they must first be reinstated by the Metropolitan Archbishop to the sacramental life of the Church before proceeding with the wedding; this process can be initiated by speaking with Fr. Ghattas.
5. At least one member of the couple must be an Orthodox Christian; the other must at least be a Christian (i.e. Catholic.) Weddings between Orthodox and non-Christians are not permitted. All members of the wedding party must be Christian.
6. The couple must attend at least 2 sessions of pre-marital counseling with the priest in the months prior to the wedding.
7. The couple must receive confession and communion at their respective churches prior to the wedding.
8. The couple is to return to the Cathedral on the nearest Sunday following their honeymoon for the service of the Removal of the Crowns.