Need advice on a Catholic/ Orthodox wedding

posted 5 days ago in Catholic
Post # 2
182 posts
Blushing bee

ginnyb98 :  To partially answer your question- I am not sure if it is true that if you guys get married in the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church would not bless the marriage. Can you meet with your fiancé and his priest together to get clarification on this? You mentioned your fiancé joined recently… has he converted or is he just attending church there?

As an Orthodox Christian I was taught that our church does require the sacrament of marriage to be officiated in the church by an Orthodox priest… otherwise the Orthodox party risks falling out of good standing with the Church until this is corrected (i.e. they may be unable to receve communion). I’m not sure if there are any exceptions to these rules so I would definitely have a conversation with the priest at your fiancé’s church. Someone told me before that the Catholic Church regards Orthodox sacraments as valid… I am totally not an expert so forgive me if I said anything out of turn, but I hope this at least gives you something to go off of! 

Post # 3
219 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

Does your fiancé belong to an OCA church? These things can vary so much – Greek vs Russian vs Serbian vs OCA… I had an Orthodox wedding and have been a bridesmaid (technically, attendant) in a few Orthodox weddings and each had different rules. We were married in an OCA church and it was no trouble that my husband is Catholic, but he also didn’t want a Catholic ceremony or blessing. 

There’s some helpful information from the Catholic side here:

But finally, you should just speak to the respective priests directly. 

Post # 6
481 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I would speak to the priests directly.

My sister had a Greek orthodox wedding as the Catholic priest wouldn’t allow her husband to be married in a Catholic church unless he converted. The Greek church on the other hand had no issue with my sister’s Catholic baptism, didn’t require her to convert to Orthodox, and they took the pre marriage classes in the Greek church.

If you aren’t willing to compromise on the Catholic wedding, he may need to convert.

Post # 7
5 posts

ginnyb98 :  The Orthodox Church will not allow you to have a second “wedding” ceremony. They may be willing to do a marriage blessing but I have only seen them done for people who were married previously and were both converting to Orthodoxy. These are usually quite short and happen at the begginging or end of the regular Sunday Liturgy. You may be able to find a Western Rite church where the marriage could be accepted by both Churches but there are fewer of those depending on where you live. 


Post # 8
1013 posts
Bumble bee

You can’t have 2 wedding ceremonies. I imagine both churches would find a problem with this. It kind of shows you aren’t serious about either because you can’t decide. Why would you want 2 ceremonies anyways? You’re either married in the Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church. And yes, if an Orthodox marries in any other type of ceremony, they are not in good standing with the church and can’t partake in any sacraments like communion, an Orthodox funeral and an Orthodox wedding. You can get married to an Orthodox in an Orthodox church if you’ve been baptized in trinity which Catholics have been. They don’t make you convert. My Orthodox mom married my Catholic dad in the Orthodox church. From what I’ve read, most Catholic churches will want you to convert to Catholicism in order to be married in the Catholic church. My second cousin is Orthodox and his now wife is Catholic and he had to convert to Catholicism in order to be married at her Catholic church last summer.

Post # 9
4749 posts
Honey bee

ginnyb98 :  There’s a lot of misinformation in this thread. You absolutely can have two wedding ceremonies; Orthodox people do it all the time. The Orthodox church will marry anyone so long as one partner is baptized Orthodox and the other is a baptized Christian (doesn’t have to be Orthodox – can be Catholic or Protestant). Their one rule is that the Orthodox wedding has to come last. So in theory yes you could get married in the Catholic church and then have a second wedding in the Orthodox church – just can’t do it the other way around. I’m not sure about the Catholics rules on this so can’t speak to that.

I know of multiple people who have done this (had two weddings, one Orthodox, one not), and have been to a few of these weddings myself. In a wedding I attended a few years ago, the couple had a weedding in a Baptist church, and then later that same day had a second wedding in the Orthodox church. I also know of an Orthodox woman who married a Muslim man (who had converted to Orthodoxy) in a traditional Islamic ceremony, and then a few weeks later they had an Orthodox wedding. Finally, I went to a wedding a few years ago that was totally secular, and then the following year the couple got maried in the Orthodox church. In each case, the Orthodox priest was well aware of the previous wedding ceremomy – this was not hidden or handled in any shady, roundabout way.

The Orthodox church does not acknowledge any other weddings that aren’t Orthodox, so if all you have is the Catholic wedding, the Orthodox church would not see you and your partner as officially married. As such your partner would be “in bad standing” with the Orthodox church, and would not be able to partake in the sacraments.

“To be honest I’m not willing to compromise on the Catholic wedding especially since  he just joined the Orthodox Church which is why I’m wondering if we could have two ceremonies?”

You are fully within your rights not to be willing to compromise on the Catholic wedding, but the bolded part of your comment is slightly concerning. Your FI may have just converted, but that doesn’t mean his religious beliefs are less valid or genuine than yours. Have you guys discussed how religion will work in your lives once you’re married? Will you attend Catholic or Orthodox church? If you have kids, will they be raised Catholic or Orthodox? 


Post # 10
182 posts
Blushing bee

ginnyb98 :  Ahh I see. In that case, can your FI meet with his preist and maybe take some notes for you? I would definitely have him ask about the 2 wedding ceremonies and any other logicstics you guys will need to know. Another thing is that a lot of times the Orthodox Church will ask whether kids from the marriage will be baptized as Orthodox Christians, etc. Just something to be aware of as you guys are planning things out. 

As another commenter stated, sometimes things vary slightly across different Orthodox traditions. For example, my fiancé and I are both Orthodox but he is Antiochian and I am Greek. We are getting married in a Greek church and according to my fiancé they seem to require more from people wishing to get married than the Antiochian in his experience (ex. premarital counseling, letter of good standing and baptismal certificates, letter of good standing for marriage sponsors, etc.) He told me all this was not required when his brother got married a few years ago in the Antiochian Church. 

Post # 14
665 posts
Busy bee

I’m Orthodox, you can get married in the Catholic Church and then in the Orthodox Church, your FI is correct. However, in order for you to be wed in the Orthodox Church you will need to convert. My FI converted last Match and we will be married in the Orthodox Church this October. 

Post # 15
4749 posts
Honey bee

withluv :  what branch of Orthodoxy are you? I was raised Greek Orthodox and it’s not true that a Catholic wouldd need to convert to Orthodoxy to be married in the Orthodox church. If your partner is not a Christian (e.g., Jewish, Muslim, or just never baptized Christian), then yes, they’d need to convert, but so long as you are a baptized Christian in a denomination that believes in the trinity (i.e. Catholic or Protestant), you can get married in the Orthodox church without converting. 

I know of countless couples who did this. My Orthodox cousin married a Catholic in the Orthodox church just a couple years ago; her husband never converted. My dad was a Presbyterian when he married my Orthodox mom, although he did convert a few years after they got married. I was a bridesmaid in a Greek Orthodox wedding just a few months ago with an Orthodox bride and a Protestant groom – the groom has not converted. Etc. Maybe other branches of Orthodoxy are more strict though – not sure.

ginnyb98 :  With the Orthodox church, it’s actually the second or final wedding ceremony that is considered the true one, which is why you’d need to do the Orthodox wedding second for it to be valid in the eyes of the Orthodox church. I don’t know the Catholics’ stance on this though; maybe they consider the “first” wedding to be the true one. Anyway good luck – hope you find a solution that works for everyone!

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