How to Get a Divorce in the Greek Orthodox Church
A divorce in the Greek Orthodox Church is possible for practicing Orthodox Christians. Before you file for divorce, meet with a priest to discuss the steps involved. A priest can guide you through the process and help you stay in good standing with the church. He can also help you repair your marriage or help you divorce.
Canon law allows a second or third marriage out of pastoral care
In accordance with the Orthodox Church’s canon law, a second or third marriage can be performed if the spouses are not able to reconcile. The Orthodox Church does not recognize a fourth or fifth marriage unless it is based on adultery. The Orthodox Church also recognizes certain exceptions to the rule of marriage, such as the marriage of a clergyman or a clergywoman.
After a divorce, the two parties must undergo a period of discernment and penance. This process is especially difficult for the person who is guilty of the sin. During this period, the two parties must journey together in repentance. In addition, Pope Benedict XVI described Communion as “a banquet for the reconciled.” An Orthodox couple can only receive Communion if they have fully reconciled with the Church. Couples who are civilly remarried or divorced are not eligible to receive Communion.
If a second or third marriage is the only marriage in the spouses’ lives, they should consult with their local diocesan bishop to obtain permission. It is possible to get a divorce in this manner, but it requires special pastoral care from the local authority.
Sponsor must be a practicing Orthodox Christian
Before a divorce can be finalized, a couple must apply for an ecclesiastical divorce in the Greek Orthodox Church. This requires a Sponsor who is a practicing Orthodox Christian. This person must be a member of the Greek Orthodox Church and in good standing. A non-Orthodox person may be part of the wedding party, but they cannot be the Sponsor.
It is important to note that the Church has strict policies regarding divorce. A non-Orthodox Christian who marries an Orthodox Christian will fall out of good standing with the Church and be unable to participate in Church life. This policy is based on a concern for the spiritual welfare of its members. Furthermore, a non-Orthodox Christian who marries a non-Orthodox Christian will not be able to receive sacraments from the Church, including Holy Communion.
Besides this, it is important to know that marriages cannot take place on fast days. These include Great Lent, Holy Week, and the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. Additionally, marriages cannot take place on September 14 and August 29. Further, a non-Orthodox partner must be baptized in the Holy Trinity and willing to raise children in the Orthodox Christian faith.
Pre-marital counseling required
In the Greek Orthodox Church, divorce is prohibited for those who have not undergone pre-marital counseling. The Church believes in giving married couples the best chance to be successful. That is why they cannot condone living together before marriage. The Church also wants the marriage to be sacramental, meaning that both parties must have a strong commitment to Christ. A divorce from a marriage involving two non-Christians is also not acceptable in the Church.
According to orthodox doctrine, divorce is a sad and painful situation for the married couple. The Church sees a marriage that is without content as a tragic loss of soul. The Church considers a divorce as a tragedy arising from sin and human weakness.
Orthodox divorce laws are based on two presuppositions: first, marriage is a sacrament conferred by a priest and second, the union is a gift from God to the couple. As such, even death does not dissolve the marriage.
Document attesting to church divorce
A Document attesting to church divorce in the Orthodox church is required for a couple who wishes to remarry after being divorced. The documents are required to remarry in the Greek Orthodox Church. If the couple is not Orthodox, they will need to submit a letter from their parish priest that says they are free to marry. In addition, they will need a civil divorce certificate or a death certificate of the deceased spouse.
The Greek Orthodox Church is a religious institution, which seeks to give married couples the best chance of getting along. It does not support cohabitation prior to marriage. Statistical data collected by secular professionals show that couples who live together prior to marriage are 50% more likely to get divorced.
When applying for a church divorce, the koumbaros must be an Orthodox Christian and a member of the Greek Orthodox church in good standing. A letter from the parish priest of the koumbaros should be included in the application. Once the paperwork has been reviewed by the Metropolis office, the documents are presented to a spiritual court of three priests. The petitioner must attend this court hearing, but the ex-spouse does not have to attend. Once the process is complete, the Metropolitan will issue the final decree.