- First Steps
Marriage was not instituted by Christ as it existed prior to His time on Earth. The Lord, however, gave a very specific meaning and significance to human marriage. Following the Old Testament Law, but going beyond its formal precepts, Jesus taught the uniqueness of human marriage as the most perfect natural expression of God's love for men, and of his own love for the Church.
According to Christ, 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. The Lord himself has not only
given this teaching, but he also gives the power to fulfill it in
the sacrament of Christian marriage in the Church.
In the sacrament of marriage, a man and a woman are given the possibility to become one spirit and one flesh in a way which no human love can provide by itself. In Christian marriage the Holy Spirit is given so that what is begun on earth does not "part in death" but is fulfilled and continues most perfectly in the Kingdom of God.
For centuries there was no particular ritual for marriage in the
Church. The two Christians expressed their mutual love in the Church
and received the blessing of God upon their union which was sealed
in the holy eucharist of Christ. Through the Church's formal recognition
of the couple's unity, and its incorporation into the Body of Christ,
the marriage became Christian; that is, it became the created image
of the divine love of God which is eternal, unique, indivisible and
A specific rite of marriage appeared as early as the 4th century, but it wasn't until the 14th century that the sacramental rite of Holy Matrimony was formalized with a blessing, and the marital union sealed during the liturgy in joint communion with the Holy Eucharist. When a special ritual was developed in the Church for the sacrament of marriage, it was patterned after the sacrament of baptism/chrismation, The couple is addressed in a way similar to that of the individual in baptism. They confess their faith and their love of God. They are led into the Church in procession. They are prayed over and blessed. They listen to God's Word. They are crowned with the crowns of God's glory to be his children and witnesses (martyrs) in this world, and heirs of the everlasting life of his Kingdom. They fulfill their marriage, as all sacraments are fulfilled, by their reception together of holy communion in the Church.
There is no "legalism" in the Orthodox sacrament of marriage. It is not a juridical contract. It contains no vows or oaths. It is, in essence, the "baptizing and confirming" of human love in God by Christ in the Holy Spirit. It is the deification of human love in the divine perfection and unity of the eternal Kingdom of God as revealed and given to man in the Church.
The Christian sacrament
of marriage is obviously available only to those who belong to the
Church; that is, only for baptized communicants. This remains the
strict teaching and practice of the Orthodox Church today. Because
of the tragedy of Christian disunity, however, an Orthodox may be
married in the Church with a baptized non-Orthodox Christian on the
condition that both members of the marriage sincerely work and pray
for their full unity in Christ, without any coercion or forceful
domination by either one over the other. An Orthodox Christian who
enters the married state with a non-Orthodox Christian must have
the sacramental prayers and blessings of the Church in order to remain
a member of the Orthodox Church and a participant in the sacrament
of holy communion.
According to the Orthodox teaching, only one marriage can contain the perfect meaning and significance which Christ has given to this reality. Thus, the Orthodox Christian tradition encourages widows and widowers to remain faithful to their spouses who are dead to this world but alive in Christ. The Orthodox tradition also, by the same principle, considers temporary "living together," casual sexual relations, sexual relations with many different people, sexual relations between members of thie same sex, and the breakdown of marriages in separation and divorce, all as contrary to the human perfection revealed by God in Christ. Through penance, however, and with the sincere confession of sins and the genuine promise of a good life together, the Orthodox Church does have a service of second marriage for those who have not been able to fulfill the ideal conditions of marriage as taught by Christ. It is the practice of the Church as well not to exclude members of second marriages from the sacrament of holy communion if they desire sincerely to be in eucharistic fellowship with God, and if they fulfill all other conditions for participation in the life of the Church.
Because of the realization of the need for Christ in every aspect of human life, and because, as well, it is the firm Christian conviction that nothing should, or even can, be done perfectly without Christ or without his presence and power in the Church by the Holy Spirit, two Christians cannot begin to live together and to share each other's life in total unity: spiritually, physically, intellectually, socially, economically without first placing that unity into the eternity of the Kingdom of God through the sacrament of marriage in the Church.
According to the Orthodox teaching as expressed in the sacramental rite of marriage, the creation of children, and the care and love for them within the context of the family, is the normal fulfillment of the love of a man and woman in Christ. In this way, marriage is the human expression of the creative and caring love of God, the perfect Love of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity which overflows in the creation and care for the world. This conviction that human love, imitative of divine love, should overflow itself in the creation and care for others does not mean that the procreation of children is in itself the sole purpose of marriage and the unique and exclusive justification and legitimization of its existence. Neither does it mean that a childless couple cannot live a truly Christian life together. It does mean, however, that the conscious choice by a married couple not to have a family for reasons of personal comfort and accommodation, the desire for luxury and freedom, the fear of responsibility, the refusal of sharing material possessions, the hatred of children, etc., is not Christian, and can in no way be considered as consonant with the biblical, moral and sacramental teachings and experience of the Orthodox Church about the meaning of life, love and marriage.
In light of the perspective offered above, the control of the conception of children in marriage is a very delicate matter, discouraged in principle and considered as perhaps possible only with the most careful examination of conscience, prayer and pastoral guidance. The abortion of a child already conceived is strictly forbidden in the Orthodox Church, and cannot be justified in any way, except perhaps with the greatest moral risk and with the most serious penitence in the most extreme cases such as that of irreparable damage to the mother or her probable death in the act of childbirth. In such extreme situations, the mother alone must take upon herself the decision, and all must be prepared to stand before God for the action, asking his divine mercy.
The Marriage Service
The Orthodox Sacrament of Marriage actually consists of two parts: The Exchange of Rings and The Crowning.
The Exchange of the Rings
This first part of the wedding service can be equated with the 'civil service'. It takes place in the vestibule (entry) of the church; that area seen by the Church as the closest to the 'outside' world. In this service the Church first prays for the couple. Here the Church recognizes and blesses a union which has begun "in the world" yet awaits fulfillment in the world to come. After being blessed by the priest, the rings are placed on the right hand, the hand with which promises and/or oaths are traditionally made and the hand with which the presence of God is recognized through the sign of the Cross. The rings, of course, are the symbol of betrothal, agreement, authority, and stewardship from the most ancient times. The exchange of the rings gives expression to the fact that in marriage the spouses will constantly be complementing each other. Each will be enriched by the union. The exchange of rings represents a pledge to share and exchange both their physical and spiritual goods, a pledge of eternal love and devotion.
After the Exchange of the rings the priest leads the couple in procession into the middle of the church. The priest chants Psalm 128, "Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways..." This psalm is one of the "Psalms of Ascent" sung by Jewish pilgrims on the way to the Jerusalem Temple. This point in the service most clearly reveals the "action" of the sacrament. The couple brings themselves, each other, their lives, and all that fills their lives, to the altar as an offering to God. As the couple enters into the midst of the Church, their relationship enters into the new reality of God's Kingdom.
Declaration of Intent and Lighting of Candles
Having processed into
the church, the couple must individually proclaim, before the assembly,
that they have come freely, without constraints or prior commitment,
to be joined by God as husband and wife.
The bride and groom are then handed candles which are held throughout the service. The candles represent the couple's faith and willingness to follow the Light of Truth, Jesus Christ, and that they will have their way through life lighted by the teachings of the Church.
After prayers are offered on their behalf, the groom and bride are crowned by the priest "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". These crowns have two meanings. First, they reveal that the man and woman, in their union with Christ, participate in His Kingship. Second, as in the ancient Church, crowns are a symbol of martyrdom. The word "martyr" means witness. The common life of the bride and groom is to bear witness to the Presence of Christ in their lives and in the world. Martyrdom is usually associated with death. So the reality of God's Kingdom in the life of the husband and wife will necessarily take the form of dying to one's self, to one's will, and the giving of one's life totally to the other, and through the other, to Christ.
The Epistle is taken from St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians (5:20-33). It presents the cornerstone of the Christian vision of marriage: the love of man and woman parallels the love of Christ and the Church. As Christ gives Himself totally to and for His Church, so the husband is to give himself totally to and for his wife. As the Church, in turn, is subject to Christ, so the wife subjects herself to her husband. Thus the two become one in a life of mutual love and mutual subjection to each other in Christ.
The gospel, from John (2:1-11), is the familiar account of the Wedding Feast at Cana where Christ turns the water into wine. A person must drink water simply to survive. Wine, on the other hand, is more than just a drink that quenches thirst and continues life. Wine is associated with joy, with celebration, with life as being more than mere survival. By His presence at this wedding He changes the union of man and woman into something new. Marriage becomes more than a mere human institution, existing for whatever purpose a society assigns it. It becomes, like the Church Herself, a sign that God's Kingdom has already begun in our midst.
The Common Cup and the Dance
After more prayers, a common cup of wine is blessed and shared by the couple as a sign of their common life together, a sharing of joys and sorrows, successes and failures, hopes and fears.
This is followed by the triple procession around the center table: the Dance of Isaiah. The hymns return once more to the theme of martyrdom and union with Christ. These are the hymns that, since ancient times, the Church has used to emphasize God's blessings. They are the same ones sung at ordinations into clergy orders and signify that this couple has been set apart from the mundane world to live a life in Christ.
Throughout the service things are done in threes in remembrance of the Trinity. Man is made in the image and likeness of God. Marriage is intended by God to be an image of the Trinity. It is the union of three persons, not two. Man and woman are one with each other and one with the person of Jesus Christ.
of the Crowns
At the end of the service, the crowns are removed and the priest prays that God will receive these crowns into His Kingdom. The reality of the Kingdom into which the bride and groom have entered is not completely fulfilled, but only begun. Husband and wife must receive God's Kingdom and make it both a present reality and a challenge and goal of their common life. Completion and fulfillment will come when Christ returns in power and glory to complete the establishment of His Kingdom in this world by filling all things with Himself.
Greeting of the Couple
At the end of the service, the couple stands at the foot of the altar. From the beginning, at the back of the church, they have now progressed to the forefront. Only the eternal Kingdom of Jesus Christ, as signified by the Altar, remains ahead of them. Their final act is to turn and face the assembled Church. Through this sacrament, they have become an icon of the Church and icon of Christ and the assembly comes up to congratulate them and share in their joy.
Guidelines for Marriage in the
Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Your wedding is the most important wedding ever. It is an historic event that will be remembered by you for the rest of your life. Because it is so important, we want to do everything we can to make it as special and as wonderful as we can. In order to accomplish this, we need to work together and to keep in close communication in the coming weeks. If you have any questions please call Father Tom at 233-8531.
Marriage preparation counseling is mandatory to help support a successful marriage. A minimum of four premarital counseling sessions are required before the marriage. At the initial meeting between the priest and the couple, dates and times will be set. During these sessions the religious, social , physical, emotional and moral issues of marriage will be discussed. It is important to learn what marriage means to Eastern Orthodox Christians.
The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is one of the Holy Mysteries of our Greek Orthodox Church. It unites both spiritually and physically a man and a woman into one cohesive unit, respecting and proclaiming each one’s individual personality, yet mystically drawing together man, woman, and the Holy Spirit into one family.
Setting the Date
The first step a couple should take after the decision to get married is to call the parish priest to verify if the Church calendar is open for the date requested and to set up a meeting time for the couple and the priest to review requirements. Please, DO NOT begin plans nor order any invitations until after meeting with the priest.
The Church has set aside certain times and dates when marriages are not permitted to be performed. These dates include Lenten periods and various Feast days of the Church calendar.
The following are additional days when marriages may not be performed:
December 24 and 25 (Christmas)
January 5 and 6 (Epiphany)
February 1 and 2 (The presentation of Christ to the Temple)
August 29 (The Beheading of st. John the Baptist)
September 14 (The Exaltation of the Holy Cross)
Marriages are also not permitted during moveable Feasts of Pascha (Easter), Ascension, and Pentecost or on the day before these Feasts. Marriages are not performed during the forty days of Great Lent, Holy Week, the Lent and Feast of the Virgin Mary Theotokos (August 1 through 15), and the Christmas Fast (December 13 through 25). The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony can be performed on the above dates only in an extreme emergency and by dispensation by the Metropolitan.
Who May Marry?
For a Greek Orthodox priest to be allowed to celebrate a marriage, at least one of the two spouses must be of the Eastern Orthodox faith. The non-Orthodox spouse must have been baptized in a Christian Church that baptizes in the Name of the Holy trinity. A marriage between an Orthodox Christian and a non-Christian or an individual not baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity can not be celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
You are urged, if you are an Orthodox Christian, to receive the sacrament of Confession and the sacrament of Holy Communion as preparation for your marriage. By doing so you will bring a new vitality, a spirit, and bond to your marriage that will enhance and deepen your lives.
If you are not an Orthodox Christian you are urged to partake in a spiritual preparation guided by your parish priest/pastor which will grant you a renewal, enabling you to prepare spiritually for your wedding.
Papers, Documents, Certificates
The following documentation is required:
1. The Orthodox person must be a member of the Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Greenville, South Carolina, having pledged for the current year.
2. A certificate of baptism from your parish (if you are from a community other than Saint George). If you are not an Orthodox Christian, your Baptismal certificate will verify that you were baptized in the name of the Holy trinity. If the non-Orthodox partner has not been baptized the parish priest will discuss the issue in detail.
3. If you were born outside the United States and came to this country after your 18th birthday, a certificate verifying that you are single and eligible to marry should be obtained from your home country parish priest, signed by the Bishop of the home country Diocese.
4. If either of the couple has been married before, a certified copy of the entire divorce decree must be given to the priest. If the Orthodox partner had a previous marriage blessed in the Orthodox Church, the original ecclesiastical divorce decree must be given to the priest.
5. A civil license must be obtained from the Court House of Greenville county (at University Ridge). There is a 24 hour turn around time for obtaining this license. This license must be obtained by the couple personally.
6. An Ecclesiastical License which gives the Parish Priest Episcopal Authority to conduct the marriage in a Greek Orthodox Church is also required. The priest and couple will fill out an affidavit that will be sent to the Metropolitan’s office in Atlanta. The Ecclesiastical License will be mailed back to the parish priest in two weeks
Every couple married in the Eastern Orthodox Church must have a Koumbaros/Koumbara who must be a member in good standing of the Eastern Orthodox Church. This individual should be chosen very carefully for he/she is very important. In the strict interpretation of the Church, the Koumbaros/Koumbara is not the same as the best man/maid of honor, although they can be the same individual in a wedding.
In other Christian celebrations of Marriage, the best man or maid of honor is considered to be legal witness to the ceremony. The Koumbaros/Koumbara is mainly an ecclesiastical witness, the person who, in many circumstances, but not always, is given the privilege of baptizing (as Godparent) your first child. He/she is also the person you turn to for advice and counsel in your lives when needed.
You may have in your wedding party both a Koumbaros/Koumbara and a best man/maid of honor, or they may be the same person. While the role of the best man/maid is that of a witness, that of the Koumbaros is an active one. He/she exchanges the rings and the crowns and holds the ribbon as you walk around the ceremonial table together as husband and wife. Traditionally, the Koumbaros purchases the wedding crowns, the silver tray, the almonds, the candles, etc. used during the ceremony.
If the Koumbaros is from another parish, he/she must bring a letter of introduction from his/her priest. A person who does not belong to a parish of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese cannot serve in this important role. A person whose marriage has not been blessed in the Orthodox Church will not be allowed to serve in a sacramental, canonical, capacity in the wedding. Non-Orthodox persons cannot serve ins such a capacity precisely because they are sacramental, canonical responsibilities of Church members.
It is a beautiful sight to have a bridal party with attendants, groomsmen and ushers. If such is your plan, know that they do not have to be Eastern Orthodox Christians, except for the Koumbaros. Those you do select as part of your bridal party must agree to observe the practice of the Eastern Orthodox traditions.
Bridal Dress and Attendants’ Gowns
Care should be taken in selecting the bride’s dress. Since crowns are an integral part of the wedding, headpieces must not interfere with the proper placing of the crowns on the bride’s head. Keep this in mind if selecting any type of pill box hat or veil. The bridal dress should also exercise a decorum befitting a church ceremony.
Because of the tendency for the feet of the bridal party to get entangled in the runner, all runners are discouraged.
The vary nature of the Eastern Orthodox ceremony makes it a double ring ceremony. The rings should be gold (white or yellow).
Stefana, Wedding Wreaths and Candles
“Crown,” “stefana,” and “wedding wreaths” are words used interchangeably. They are placed on your heads during the wedding. They may be purchased at our Genesis Bookstore or elsewhere or you can make them yourself following the traditional styles and materials.
It is permissible to wear the crowns your parents wore.
White candles are also necessary. Because the bride anagram will be holding them during the wedding, it is suggested the candles be of a size easily handled and simple in their decoration.
The Sacrament of Marriage is a sacred and meaningful celebration, and we want to do everything we can to keep its dignity intact. We do encourage recording of the Sacrament by a professional photographer, but we also insist on rules that must be followed to keep order and dignity in the Church.
1. The photographer must meet with the priest prior to the wedding to go over policies regarding where he/she will be permitted to stand during the wedding.
2. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE WILL FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY BE PERMITTED DURING THE WEDDING BY THE PHOTOGRAPHER OR ANY MEMBERS OF THE CONGREGATION.
3. After the wedding, pictures may be taken in the Church with flashes, but the photographer must have been shown by the priest where on the solea the wedding party may stand to have their pictures taken.
4. There will be no moving around in the Church by the photographer/videographer once the Sacrament of Marriage has begun.
5. Within one half hour after the wedding, the photographer should be finished with all family pictures in the Church.
Again we are trying to keep the wedding as sacred and as dignified as possible. We encourage the recording of this historic event, but we also have a responsibility to keep order. Any questions should be addressed to the parish priest.
The Metropolitan’s Office in Atlanta has been very clear in what is allowed and what is not allowed in Church during the entrance of the wedding party and during the recession of the wedding party.
1. Only the Church organ can be used. There can be no other musical instruments.
2. An organist familiar with the electronic organ must be employed. Check with the parish priest to be sure the organist is approved.
3. Only Eastern Orthodox liturgical music or classical music can be used during the times before the wedding and after the recessional. A list of the music selected by the bride must be presented to the priest so that it can be approved.
4. If a chanter is desired by the bride/groom, discuss this with the parish priest. The chanter must be approved by the priest beforehand.
5. No CDs or taped music is allowed.
6. If the bride/groom wish to have their wedding acoustically taped using the direct sound system of the Church, it is available at a cost of $75 to cover the costs of the supplies and sound track operator.
Our Church is quite beautiful and colorful even without flowers. In addition, though the Solea is quite large, there are limitations in space. Visibility and access for movement during the wedding must be taken into account. The best rule of thumb is to keep flowers to a minimum.
If/when flowers are used, check with the parish priest for specific
guidelines in addition to the following:
1. No flowers/vases/decoration allowed on the steps or platform of the second tier of solea (the level upon which is the Altar)
2. No flowers/decorations on any icons/iconostasion
3. If candelabras/candles are used, they must have heavy plastic under them to prevent their dripping on the solea floor. This type of decoration is discouraged.
4. If any pew markers are to be used, they must not be taped or tacked onto the pews. Much damage has incurred in the past, and we will not allow such practice.
5. Because of damage to the carpet, no fresh flower petals/rice/koufeta may be sprinkled, tossed, or thrown onto the main aisle before or after the bride’s entrance. An appropriate substitute would be to have the flower girl hand out individual stems to the congregation when she walks down the aisle before the bride, or she can simply carry a basket of flowers down the aisle and walk directly to their spot on the Solea with the other attendants.
6. It is the responsibility of the bride/groom to tell the florist to have all wedding decorations and flowers removed from the Church immediately following the wedding.
English and Greek may be used in any combination upon consultation with the parish priest. If there is a party from another Orthodox jurisdiction that would like to use another language, it is, of course, permitted with the approval of the parish priest.
Guest Eastern Orthodox clergy may participate in a wedding in the Eastern Orthodox Church if an invitation is extended to the by the Parish Priest where the wedding will take place. This must be discussed with the priest before any invitations are extended. Certain protocol must be followed and specific guidelines must be met.
Length of Service
The length of the Eastern Orthodox wedding is approximately 45 minutes, depending on the length of the processional and recessional. You should plan for about one hour from beginning to end.
Non-Orthodox elements may not be added to or incorporated into the Orthodox Sacrament of Marriage. These include religious songs and prayers from other traditions, poems, recitations, musical numbers, etc. What is prescribed by the Church as proper to the Sacrament is all that is allowed. Care should be taken to avoid action, songs, music, recitations and the like which take away from the profound meaning and teaching that is taking place during the Sacrament.
of the Ceremony
The sacrament of Marriage is to be conducted in an Eastern Orthodox Church. The practice of celebrating an Eastern Orthodox Sacrament in a non-Orthodox house of worship or in the church of the non- Eastern Orthodox party is not permitted except in the extenuating circumstances and only with the permission of the Metropolitan. If appropriate this should be discussed with the parish priest.
Receiving lines at the Church are discouraged.
The Church has a sophisticated electronic lighting system and controls that should not be tampered with by anyone except authorized personnel. If there are requests for special lighting, it should be brought to the attention of the priest and approved before the wedding rehearsal
When the date for the wedding has been set, the rehearsal date and time should also be set in the appointment book of the community. Usually, rehearsals take place on the day immediately prior to the wedding date. Any exception should be discussed with the parish priest. The rehearsal familiarizes everyone in the wedding party what is expected on the day of the wedding.
Unlocking and Locking the Church Doors
It is the responsibility of the Bride/Groom to call the Church office to make arrangements to have the Church doors opened and locked before and after rehearsal and the wedding.
You must have a wedding director. He/she is vital to the rehearsal and the wedding. Because this person will be responsible to keep overall order and timing for the wedding, it is suggested that he/she be experienced in this area. Be sure you inform the priest who your wedding director is so that they can communicate with each other regarding the requirements in the Sacrament. The wedding director/coordinator must be approved by the priest.
The Bride’s Room in the Narthex
The Bride’s room in the narthex of the Church is a beautiful facility set aside for the bride and her immediate family as they wait for the brides entrance at the beginning of the wedding. Please note that this room is only for the bride, and it is NOT to be used by the bride’s maids for dressing/preparation before the wedding. The brides maids may dress in the lower level of the Church or in the lower level of the Hellenic center.
Because a considerable amount of money and effort have been spent in decorating this special room, we ask that no food or drinks be brought into the Bride’s Room. If finger food or soft drinks/water wish to be made available for the bride’s maids or wedding party, they may be placed in the open area in the lower level of the Church ONLY. Again, these items are not to be brought into the Bride’s Room in the Narthex. Also, because the room is highly visible from the Narthex, we insist that it be cleaned by a responsible person of the brides party and left as clean as it was found. Please do not leave papers, clothing, boxes, etc. Everything should be removed immediately after the wedding is over. The community is most appreciative our your cooperation in this matter.
A Note to the Non-Orthodox
Conversion to the Orthodox faith is not a requirement. If you desire to become an Eastern Orthodox Christian, this matter needs to be addressed with the parish priest separately and apart from the wedding. It should not be a conversion for the sake of convenience, nor should it be made to make someone happy. The decision should be made following thought and prayer and out of a true desire to become an Eastern Orthodox Christian.
If you are thinking of getting married, contact the priest and arrange for premarriage counseling. It is required. The Church welcomes marriage partners of a different Christian faith. If you are involved in an interfaith partnership, browse the Interfaith Marriage Web Site. It contains a lot of useful information. Please be aware that you cannot be married outside of the Orthodox Church and remain a member of the Eastern Orthodox faith. If you marry outside of the Church you will be barred from the sacraments, becoming a sponsor at a wedding or baptism, and from receiving a Orthodox funeral. Marriage to a non-Christian is not permitted.
Stefana - Wedding Crowns
The crowns express the creation of a new household, a "kingdom" which the couple is charged to rule wisely and with full responsibility to each other and to God.
The crowning is a sign of victory, just as athletes were crowned in ancient times at their triumphs. In this instance, the Bride and Groom are crowned on account of their growth as mature Christians, prepared for the responsibilities of a Christian marriage.
The crowns also represent martyrdom, sacrifice and steadfast devotion. In marriage, the couple must deny themselves and take up their cross as they relate to their spouses in building up the marriage, and to commit themselves as responsible parents to their children.
Koufeta - Sugar Coated Almonds
Fresh almonds have a bittersweet taste, which represents life. The sugarcoating is added with the hope that the newlyweds' life will be more sweet than bitter.
In the traditional Greek weddings they are called *koufeta*. They are placed in little bags in odd numbers and are served on a silver tray. Odd numbers are indivisible, symbolizing how the newlyweds will share everything and remain undivided. Tradition holds that if an unmarried woman puts the almonds under her pillow, she'll dream of her future husband.
KOURAMBIEDES - Wedding Cookies
Almond butter cookies dusted with powdered sugar
Marriage and Family Life by John Chrysostom
In these sermons St. John Chrysostom, based on the epistles of St. Paul, we can find an important view on married life. Although a monk himself, Saint John Chrysostom had a profound understanding of his congregation's needs.He says marriage was primarily established by God to promote holiness of the husband and wife, and only secondarily to produce children. He tell us that the pleasure of sex in marriage is good and gently reprimands those married people who think they are doing well to abstain from sexual relations. In addition he discusses the mutual responsibilities of wives and husbands on the basis of Ephesians 5:22-33. He insists on the equal responsibility of husband and wife to preserve the integrity of their marriage. In regard to children he urges parents to take great care with their upbringing and in particular to provide their children with good examples to counter bad examples offered by popular entertainments. While he writes from a different time, most of his advice has a timeless relevance for the Christian family.