No Vows in a Greek Wedding?
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Have you noticed that there are no vows in the Greek Orthodox marriage ceremony? When weddings are portrayed in popular culture, such as in movies or popular television shows, the bride and groom often recite vows to one another. Usually, they take the time to write their own vows. These vows represent the couple’s commitment to each other.
However, outside of the Christian faith, marriage is looked at as legally binding. Yes, when you get married in the Greek Orthodox Church there are certain legal implications. However, marriage is actually a Holy Sacrament and the ceremony reflects this. In fact, no oaths or vows of any kind are exchanged during the Orthodox marriage ceremony.
What We Mean By Vows
So, what are wedding vows exactly? Not only do they express the couple’s loving commitment to one another, they also are indicative of a legal contract. Some couples do choose to write their own and when they do, they not only declare how they feel about one another but also how they will treat each other throughout their marriage.
Holy Sacrament of Marriage
In the Orthodox Christian Church, marriage is one of the Holy Sacraments and is a gift from God. Rather than viewing marriage as a legal contract, Orthodox Christians understand that it is God that joins together two people in a beautiful relationship of mutual love. Vows, in this case, are seen as unnecessary because it is God that joins the couple together, not the law.
Sharing the Christian Life
Yes, the bride and groom are likely in love. However, this isn’t the true purpose of marriage in the eyes of the church. Instead, the couple is called to live the Orthodox Christian life together. Their relationship exists to bring them both closer to God.
It is through this relationship that the individuals in the marriage will fulfill their true purpose in life by serving God. For example, when the couple drinks from the drinks from the common cup for communion, it indicates that they will share the joys and burdens of life as a couple.
Reciting Vows Anyway
Do you feel strongly about wanting to recite vows anyway? Well, there is no place for them in the Orthodox wedding ceremony. However, there is a potential solution. If you want to write your vows and recite them during the reception, this is perfectly acceptable.
Even though the vows aren’t part of the Orthodox Christian wedding ceremony, it can still be incorporated into the celebration. An appropriate time for them to be recited is during the reception around the time that people are giving their speeches and offering their congratulations.
It may seem strange that there are no vows in an Greek Orthodox Christian wedding ceremony. However, there is a good reason for it. Vows are seen as a legal declaration of a couple’s commitment to one another.
Marriage is a sacrament in the Orthodox Church and represents a couple’s commitment to God so vows aren’t necessary. If you would like to recite vows anyway, you may do so at the reception after the ceremony is over.
Categorized in: Greek Wedding Traditions
This post was written by GreekBoston.com