Marriage According to Eastern Orthodox
Christianity has several branches with the largest one being the Roman Catholic Church, which has approximately 1,100,000,000 followers. The second largest is the Orthodox Church with 225,000,000 followers. Eastern Orthodoxy became a distinct branch after the 11th century when they realized that there were too many technical differences in belief between the eastern and western sides. Following all of Christianity, Eastern Orthodoxy relies greatly on doctrine. They follow the Bible, believe that there is only one God, and must go by other “laws” of their religion. A subject of importance to them is marriage, which has specific laws of its own.
According to oca.org, marriage is the most perfect natural expression of God’s love for men. In order for the love of a man and woman to be that which God has: perfectly created it to be, it must be unique, indestructible, unending and divine. In the sacrament of marriage, a man and a woman become one spirit and one flesh in a way which no human love can provide by itself. Marriage is seen as one of the biggest deals for Eastern Orthodoxy. There are rules that must be followed and if broken it is a huge sin.
There are certain things that are forbidden until a couple is married. One of the biggest rules is sex. A couple is not allowed to have sex before they are married. Temporary “living together” and sexual relations are seen as sins to Orthodox Christians. As Sebastian Dabovich mentions in his book, “It is so little understood and honored virginity, that virginity, forever bereft of marriage, was to it an object of lamentation”. Virginity is a sacred thing and one is meant to stay a virgin so that they can be pure and share that pureness with their “other half” when they get married. It is a way of showing God’s pure love.
As with the rules of what cannot be done until marriage, there are rules for who can get married. Eastern Orthodoxy believes that marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman. The church does not allow marriage between those of the same sex. Marriage between those in the same blood line or family is forbidden; this includes godparents. Orthodox Christians view marriage as something that should be done between two people of the same faith. They do, however, allow for inter-faith couples to be married as long as the non-orthodox partner is baptized and they do not let one religion overtake the other. In other words, the non-orthodox religion cannot overrun and influence the relationship in a negative way that goes against the “laws”. Because marriage is so sacred and the commitment or promise to God is all that it is based on, Orthodox Christians have disagreements when it comes to second marriages. They believe that even as a widow, they should stay faithful to only their one partner. They should keep their promise and live their life with only them. The early church forbid remarriage but this is not the case now. Although this is what...