Does the Greek Orthodox Church allow divorce? The Orthodox Church is a religious institution that seeks to give married couples the best opportunity to get along. That means that they cannot condone living together prior to marriage. Statistics collected by secular professionals have shown that couples who live together prior to marriage are 50 percent more likely to divorce than those who do not. However, there are ways to get a divorce without violating the Orthodox Church’s rules.
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Stavros gives divorce to person petitioning for divorce
If you are a Catholic, Stavros Niarchos gives divorce to the person petitioning for it. A Greek playboy, Stavros was married to Dea Economou for 13 years, resulting in two children. The divorce case involves a huge amount of community property and the custody of minor children. Stavros’s wife filed numerous discovery requests and Stavros failed to produce the requested information. Ultimately, Stavros gave the divorce to the person petitioning for it, despite Stavros’ failure to produce the requested information.
Remarried persons must abstain from Holy Communion for seven years
The Church has a long-standing tradition of not allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion. This prohibition has been repeated in various Church documents, including the 1977 report of the International Theological Commission and the apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio (84) by Saint John Paul II. While this practice is sometimes criticized as a bit outdated and unnecessary, the fact remains that the Church continues to have a firm policy against this practice.
However, a remarried person who is divorced or remarried is still an active member of the Church and is welcome to attend Mass. The Church’s pastoral care for these people should be focused on encouraging them to continue to attend Mass and other liturgical celebrations. These individuals also need encouragement to persevere in prayer, participate in community efforts to promote justice, and raise their children in the Christian faith. Pastors should encourage these individuals to practice a spirit of penance, imploring God for mercy and grace.
Marriage is a spiritual path
In the Greek Orthodox Church, marriage is not a legal contract or exchange of vows; it is the union of man and woman in obedience to Christ’s Church. In fact, a priest or bishop consecrates a marriage by calling on God in the name of the community and praying that the Holy Spirit descends upon the couple to make them “one flesh.” For this reason, Orthodox Christians consider marriage to be a spiritual path, which involves seeking God, preparing for the Kingdom of Heaven, and establishing a family.
The wedding service in the Greek Orthodox Church includes a religious sponsor called koumbaro. The couple exchanges rings three times during the ceremony, a symbol of their strength and perfection. Because a newly-wed couple is not complete apart from the other, the priest prays that the couple will make a promise to each other, proving their love for one another.
Indissolubility of marriage causes divorce
The Orthodox Church recognizes that the bond of marriage is indissolubly binding and, as such, a breakup of the first union is sin. The church, however, has a policy of allowing remarriage in certain circumstances. This is a concession to human sin, and is a way to help the brokenhearted by granting second chances.
In addition, it has a reluctance to recognize second marriages, as it has traditionally prohibited multiple unions. However, in recent years, the Greek Orthodox Church has made an exception to its policy by allowing second and subsequent marriages. This decision reflects the church’s belief that second marriages are only sinful if they are committed after the first marriage.
Process of obtaining a church divorce
If your marriage is no longer working out, you may be considering a church divorce. The process begins with a meeting with your parish priest, known as a priest-pastor, to discuss your situation. The priest will then file the necessary paperwork with the church and you will be sent to the Metropolis office in Atlanta to be reviewed by the Metropolitan and Chancellor. If you both agree on the divorce, the Metropolitan will then convene a spiritual court consisting of three priests. This court is conducted every few months and the petitioner must attend this meeting. The ex-spouse is not required to attend. Once the Metropolitan has approved your divorce application, you will receive a copy of the decree in the mail.
If your marriage is in the Greek Orthodox Church, you must have the civil marriage license and the original document attesting to the church divorce. If you are not Orthodox, you will need a letter from a priest stating that you are eligible to marry. If you are not, you will also need to have a civil divorce certificate or a death certificate for your deceased spouse.